ECONOMY

Sliding OTE leads bourse below 2,000 pts

OTE Telecom led Greek stocks below 2,000 points for the first time in four years yesterday, while index heavyweight banks shed more than 2 percent. OTE lost 3.49 percent to 12.18 euros, its lowest price since January 1997, while the Athens benchmark general index trimmed earlier losses to end off 1.87 percent at 1,966.74 points. «There was a string of reasons today, first among them gloomy international markets. The bourse broke strong support levels and people automatically turn into sellers when this happens and we had OTE sliding,» said head analyst at EFG Eurobank Securities Chris Elafros. The general index lost 4.84 percent or 100 points this week. The FTSE/ASE index of blue chips fell 2.09 percent to 1,007.72 points. Mid-caps fell 1.75 percent, while small-caps lost 1.87 percent. Turnover rose to 93.39 million euros with 19.1 million shares changing hands. Losers beat winners 314 to 24 with 20 stocks unchanged on 358 traded. (Reuters) This year’s package of tax benefits, together with low interest rates, is expected to support household consumption in the second half of the year, EFG Eurobank Ergasias said in a research note yesterday. It also pointed to the rising inflow of EU structural funds and ongoing infrastructure projects connected to the 2004 Olympic Games as factors expected to keep the Greek engine of growth roaring ahead of other EU member states.