ECONOMY

Weak European markets weigh on ASE

Equities fell 2.31 percent yesterday as weak European markets and new share offerings weighed. Index heavyweight OTE Telecom dropped 2.83 percent to 16.5 euros as Greece sold 8 percent of the telecom company. Soccer pools organization OPAP was another victim of the State’s privatization plans, tumbling 6.31 percent to 7.72 euros after the government said it will sell more off next month. «OTE’s lower selling price has set a precedent for OPAP,» said Costas Karitsos at Intersec Securities. The Athens benchmark general index dropped 2.31 percent to 2,225.00 points, ending the week 3.08 percent or 70.93 points lower. The bourse’s FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index fell 2.40 percent to 1,173.71 points. Mid-caps slipped 1.71 percent with small-caps losing 1.64 percent. Turnover was 776.95 million euros on 57.98 million shares traded. Losers beat winners 296 to 40, while 28 shares were unchanged on 364 traded. (Reuters) British Airways, in collaboration with Maersk Air, yesterday launched direct flights between Athens and Birmingham, England, three times a week. Departure times from Athens are 13.50 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 19.40 p.m. on Saturdays.