NEWS

Bourse under 2,000 pts for first time in 4 years

Reverting to levels last seen well before the 1999 bubble boom, the Athens Stock Exchange suffered another bear session yesterday, with the benchmark general index closing below the 2,000-point mark. At 1,966.74 points, yesterday’s close was the lowest since October 15, 1998, when the market was still gathering steam for a headlong rush that led it to a climax of 6,355.04 points on September 17, 1999. Its rapid decline ever since has driven to despair some 1.5 million small investors who had flocked en masse to catch the gravy train in 1999, and came close to depriving the ruling Socialists of their re-election in 2000 – when the index was still around 5,000 points. Since January, the index has shed 24.11 percent. Yesterday’s drop was attributed to gloomy international markets in combination with a slide in OTE Telecom shares, which accounted for nearly a third of yesterday’s volume.