ECONOMY

OTE falls as index barely clears 2,000 pts

Equities fell by almost 2 percent yesterday to levels not seen since October 1998, with European telecom weakness contributing to a protracted slide in index heavyweight OTE Telecom. OTE lost 3.81 percent to 12.62 euros, a five-year low, with the stock giving up 7.5 percent in the past three sessions on increasing investor concern about the company’s earnings outlook and the slow pace of restructuring its foreign investments. The Athens benchmark general index fell 1.9 percent to 2,004.22 points. During the session, it slid as low as 1,998.65 points. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips fell 1.57 percent to 1,029.22 points. Mid-caps fell 1.35 percent, while small-caps lost 1.99 percent. Turnover was little changed, at 73.70 million euros from 77.82 million euros a day earlier. Total volume traded was 16.7 million shares. Losers beat winners 279 to 50, with 25 stocks unchanged on 354 traded. (Reuters) Bank merger