Telecoms and utilities nudge market lower

Telecoms and utilities dragged the Greek market lower yesterday after statements on Sunday by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis that the next round of privatizations of OTE telecom and the Public Power Corporation (PPC) would be further delayed. By contrast, investors appeared to stake their hopes on the maintenance of positive momentum in banks. There was also selective interest in mid-caps and small-caps that seem to have lagged in the recent rally. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 5,281.85 points, with a loss of 0.15 percent. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index slipped 0.03 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX 40 mid-cap index was 0.17 percent lower and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index nudged 0.03 percent higher. The FTSE/ATHEX International was 0.03 percent leaner. OTE slumped 3.26 percent and PPC shed 2.48 percent from recent historic highs. JP Morgan cut OTE to «neutral» from «overweight.» By contrast, Intralot led blue chips, adding 1.56 percent, banks Alpha and Marfin Popular were both 1.37 percent higher, Hellenic Petroleum rose 1.22 percent and Eurobank was up 1.14 percent. Turnover rose to -402.07 million, of which -86.22 million was in block trades. The total capitalization of the ATHEX reached -202.36 billion.