ECONOMY

Telecom stocks’ sale leads market lower

Stocks lost ground yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) as investors sold stocks, mostly in telecom firms. Analysts said this was an expected correction, adding that it was also related to the expiry of options on the derivatives exchange. The ASE general index closed at 3,086.09 points, a drop of 12.01 points or 0.39 percent. On a weekly basis, it declined 0.01 percent, but is still 10.76 percent up in 2005. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips declined 0.50 percent to close at 1,742.06 points, while mid-caps declined 0.15 percent and small-caps gained 0.18 percent. OTE dropped 1.76 percent from its 52-week high of 16 euros reached on Thursday, closing at 15.76 euros. The decline was partly sparked by Thursday’s annual general meeting, where shareholders were reminded, once again, that the company sustained losses for the first time ever in 2004 and would not be distributing a dividend. CosmOTE, which was trading ex-dividend, declined 2.42 percent. By contrast, electricity company PPC gained 0.61 percent, closing at 19.88 euros, on the back of better-than-expected first-quarter results. Of the 333 stocks traded, 112 gained, 126 declined and 95 ended unchanged. Turnover dropped to 183.51 million euros, including 24.5 million in prearranged trades.