NICOSIA, (Reuters) - Shares eased marginally on the Cyprus bourse on Friday held in range while the market awaited the outcome of parliamentary elections today, May 27, which opposition Communists are widely tipped to win.
The benchmark all-share index drifted 0.28 percent, or 0.52 points lower to 185.54 and volume subsided to 10.3 million pounds ($15.1 million). The FTSE/CySE index of 20 top stocks fell 3.98 points, or 0.53 percent, to 751.64.
Trading has been directionless recently as investors have been sidelined by the elections. The bourse has been in a general 18-month decline since an all-time high of 881.46 points on the all-share index in November 1999.
"It is a presidential system so there will be no change in (government) power... but it does add an aspect of uncertainty and affects the market to some extent," said CISCO senior trader Stavros Agrotis.
Hotel stocks commanded the most interest with some 1.7 million shares in Aqua Sol changing hands on a continued bullish outlook for the sector this year, traders said. The stock ended unchanged at 80 cents.
Tourism represents more than a fifth of Cyprus's gross domestic product and tourism arrivals are, provisionally, tipped to increase by at least six percent over last year's arrivals of 2.5 million holidaymakers.
The banking stocks index eased 0.29 percent. Bank of Cyprus and Laiki fell a cent to 2.50 and 2.06 respectively while Hellenic was unchanged at 1.09.
Decliners beat advancers 86 to 70. There were 6,815 deals. ($=0.67 Cyprus pounds)
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