ECONOMY

Index stable as telecom and construction stocks slip

Equities edged ahead 0.03 percent yesterday as mild gains in banks and mid-caps outweighed soft telecoms, with little driving the market ahead of major earnings results. Construction stocks reversed earlier gains on the last day for companies to qualify for new guidelines Greece has set for government contracts, a move that has forced many in the sector to merge. «There was a small shift to small- and mid-cap stocks as institutional investors look to be on the sidelines awaiting more news, especially in the form of full-year corporate results,» said Annie Triantafyllou, head analyst at National Securities. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index ended at 2,596.75 points after drifting for most of the session in negative territory. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips added 0.24 percent to 1,417.48 points. The FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps added 0.09 percent and small-caps 0.24 percent. Telecom stocks slipped 0.28 percent; banks gained 0.28 percent. Constructions stocks reversed earlier gains, ending off 0.18 percent, despite a rash of merger news. Turnover was 119.76 million euros on volume of 22.9 million shares.(Reuters) Following the current round of mergers, only 160 construction companies out of 748 will remain.