Romtelecom issue weighs down on stocks

Equities fell yesterday, dragged down by losses in heavyweight OTE Telecom, as worries about the outcome of talks on the company’s key Romanian investment cast a pall on the broader market. The Athens benchmark general index fell 1.40 percent, digging in below the 1,800 mark to close at 1,773.56 points. OTE fell 3.68 percent to 11.52 euros, bringing losses over the past two days to more than 7 percent. Analysts said investors got the jitters as talks between the company and OTE entered their third day with no news as to whether the Romanian government had agreed to OTE’s plans to salvage its biggest foreign investment, fixed-line monopoly Romtelecom. Banks fell 1.26 percent while blue chips on the bourse’s FTSE/ASE-20 index fell 1.62 percent to 880.51 points. Mid-caps lost 1.31 percent with small-caps dropping 1.58 percent. Turnover was 73.52 million euros versus 78.08 million euros a day earlier, with 19.1 million shares traded. Losers beat winners 280 to 44, with 31 shares unchanged on 355 traded. (Reuters)