ECONOMY

ASE steady after late rally; telecoms gain

Stocks declined marginally yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange, with the market initially following the European bourses’ downward trend before rallying at the end. The ASE general index closed at 3,278.25 points, a decline of 2.03 points or 0.06 percent. It had fallen as low as 3,253.55 points during the session. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips remained steady at 1,825.95 points. Mid-caps gained 0.02 percent and small-caps declined 0.93 percent. Rumors that the government would bring forward the sale of a 10 percent stake in OTE boosted telecoms stocks: OTE gained 1.88 percent to close at 17.32 euros and mobile telecommunications subsidiary CosmOTE gained 3.38 percent to close at a year-high 16.54 euros. In a report released yesterday, investment house Lehman Brothers raised its target price for OTE shares from 15 to 18.5 euros. Other blue chips with significant gains included Intracom (4.68 percent to 4.92 euros), cement firm Titan (1.76 percent to 27.74 euros), Piraeus Bank (1.70 percent to 16.72 euros) and Emporiki Bank (1.10 percent to 25.78 euros). Of 325 traded stocks, 82 gained, 182 declined and 61 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 164.22 million euros, including 4.21 million in prearranged trades.