ECONOMY

ASE tracks European markets lower

Equities fell 1.6 percent yesterday as investors took profits, pulling the brake on a four-session climb, against a backdrop of weak European markets. The Athens benchmark general index ended at 2,367.07 points while the bourse’s FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index fell 1.61 percent to 1,246.33 points. «Concerns over new attacks in the US negatively affected European bourses and this extended to the Greek market where investors locked in gains from the previous days,» said Diamantis Kitridis, analyst at Premium Securities. Telecom stocks fell 1.38 percent with index heavyweight OTE Telecom losing 2.21 percent to 23 euros. The banking index fell 1.66 percent led by a 2.21-percent drop in National Bank to 23 euros. Mid-caps fell 1.89 percent with small-caps losing 1.94 percent. Turnover was 123.33 million euros on volume of 25.8 million shares. Losers beat winners 320 to 31 while 11 shares were unchanged on 362 traded. (Reuters) Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday apparently reversed previous government policy by voicing opposition to a 5-year plan for the assignment of armaments programs to the Hellenic Vehicles Industry, saying this would contravene competition regulations.