ECONOMY

Shares end 3-session slide, construction up 1.13 pct

Equities ended a three-session losing streak yesterday, with buying interest in telecom stocks helping to buoy the Athens benchmark general index into positive terrain. The general index ended with gains of 0.20 percent at 2,587.41 points, after hitting an intrasession low of 2,570.94. Banks continued to underperform, with the sector shedding 0.46 percent, leading the FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips 0.06 percent lower to 1,406.60 points. The FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps added 0.21 percent and small-caps, 0.56 percent. Volatile construction stocks outpaced the benchmark index, adding 1.13 percent. Analysts have said the sector will increasingly come into the spotlight as the January 31 deadline nears for companies to make the highest grade to bid for major public works projects. Turnover hit the 100-million-euro mark for the second time in 2002, and the first time this week, to total 101.65 million euros. Volume came to 19.5 million shares.Winners outnumbered losers 196 to 103, with 51 stocks unchanged on 350 traded. Market freights continue improving, with Capers being fixed at better figures in the Atlantic, while the East remains lackluster.