ECONOMY

Construction stocks drag general index down

Construction stocks slumped on the Athens bourse yesterday, as the sector’s merger «feel-good» factor wore off and investors switched to looking at company fundamentals and awaiting financial results. Building stocks fell 2.87 percent at the close, while the Athens benchmark general index eased 0.26 percent to 2,588.98 points. Telecom stocks bucked the trend at home and abroad, ending with marginal gains of 0.43 percent. «The market is very subdued. There’s a move away from banks, where investors fear earnings won’t be so good, to telecom stocks,» said analyst Takis Zamanis at Beta Securities. Bourse heavyweight OTE Telecom ended with gains of 0.76 percent. Analysts said the broader market continued to cast about for direction in the absence of any market-moving news locally. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips slipped 0.22 percent to 1,411.52 points, with the FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps retreating 0.61 percent and small-caps down 1.36 percent. Turnover was 103.68 million euros on volume of 18.9 million shares. Losers beat winners 255 to 59, with 46 unchanged on 360 traded.(Reuters) Spanish pizza group Telepizza has called off its joint venture with Greek firm Goody’s and closed operations in Britain and Morocco, as part of its retreat from markets where it has failed to make a mark. In a note sent to Spain’s securities regulators late on Friday, Telepizza said the venture in Greece was called off as part of the group’s plan to focus its foreign strategy on more profitable areas. Telepizza announced last year that it was making a major policy change, concentrating on expanding its outlets via franchises, rather than owning the properties themselves. (Reuters)