ECONOMY

Blue chips drop below 1,000 points

Blue chip stocks fell to their lowest levels since March 1998 yesterday as bank earnings concerns re-emerged and an early bounce in OTE Telecom petered out. OTE outperformed the benchmark general index, which fell 1.32 percent, but failed to hold onto early gains as uncertainty about its biggest foreign investment, RomTelecom, continued to cast a pall. The Athens benchmark general index fell to 1,940.72 points, its third losing session in a row. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE index closed below 1,000 points for the first time in more than four years, settling at 993.69 points. «It was the last fortress. With blue chips taking so much pressure, I think the general index may be spending some time below the 2,000-point mark,» said analyst Elias Lazaris at Artion Securities. Mid-caps fell 1.46 percent, while small-caps lost 2.04 percent. Turnover totaled 81.9 million euros. Losers beat winners 271 to 50 with 36 stocks unchanged on 357 traded. (Reuters)