NICOSIA, (Reuters) - Cyprus shares fell a steep 3.58 percent on Tuesday, May 22, amid an avalanche of sell orders which hit the bourse, reflecting investors' worry about further oscillations on the market ahead of elections next week.
Reversing from a broadly neutral open, the all-share index decline accelerated in the closing half hour to lose some 6.96 points to 187.66.
The blue-chip FTSE/CySE index of 20 top stocks eased 29.33 points, or 3.72 percent to 759.58. Turnover climbed by some one million pounds to 13.7 million ($21.5 million) on 24.6 million shares traded.
Blue-chip shares in the banking, financial services and technology sectors registered significant declines.
Traders said investors were cautiously eyeing the aftermath of elections as the ruling rightist Democratic Rally party and Communist AKEL, now in opposition, took turns to blame the other for the bourse's demise from an all-time high of 881.49 points in November 1999.
"Long-term investors are out of the picture right now because the market is moving very nervously," said a broker. "At the start of the session investors were cautious, but when selling started the orders snowballed -- sentiment is very fragile," he said.
Financial services and investment stocks were the heaviest traded, with some 2.2 million shares of CLR Investment Fund changing hands as the stock retreated a cent to 24.2; MarketTrends saw a volume of 1.9 million shares, falling six cents to a close of 40.
Globalsoft bucked Monday's 10 cent rebound to end 18 cents lower at a closing of 2.75 as the stock once again registered the highest cash turnover of 1.76 million pounds.
Declining issues heavily beat advancing ones 150 to 34 with 14 unchanged on 198 traded. There were 7,544 deals. ($=0.65 Cyprus pounds)
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