ECONOMY

Weak blue chips drag ASE to ninth straight loss

Equities drifted 0.31 percent lower yesterday as weak blue chips offset mild gains in mid-caps dragging the benchmark general index to its ninth straight finish in the red. «There is (trading) inactivity and the market is in a state of lethargy,» said George Politis, head of institutional sales at P&K Securities. The Athens benchmark general index slipped to a new year-low, at 2,494.71 points. Greece’s largest refiner Hellenic Petroleum fell 2.17 percent to 6.30 euros after news that Russia’s Yukos Oil will not bid for a stake in the company. «There are some concerns about (Hellenic Petroleum’s) 2001 results as refinery margins in the last quarter were squeezed,» said an energy analyst who declined to be named. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips eased 0.34 percent to 1,355.78 points. The FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps firmed 0.16 percent and small-caps eased 0.19 percent. Turnover was 71.20 million euros on volume of 13.3 million shares. Winners beat losers 150 to 142 with 68 unchanged on 360 traded. (Reuters) Shareholders of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) yesterday approved the company’s new board of directors. Apart from Chairman Giorgos Moraitis and Managing Director Athanassios Karahalios, the new board includes four newcomers, Georgios Halvatzoglou, Grigorios Mourgelas, Ioannis Seiradakis and Nikolaos Mademlis The representatives of workers and minority shareholders remain unchanged.