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Stocks edge lower as companies report key H1 financial results

The Greek stock exchanges general index gave up 0.85 percent on Thursday, falling to 1,167.51 points, as European bourses also headed south on worries of an escalation in the conflict in Ukraine.

Turnover in Athens reached 93.4 million euros on Thursday. The large-capitalization index fell 0.69 percent, with Jumbo posting the greatest drop (4.05 percent). The blue chip with the biggest gains was Folli Follie, which went up by 3.07 percent.

Folli Follie was one of several listed companies to announce its financial results for the first half of the year on Thursday. The jewelry retailer reported a 30 percent rise in first-half core profit, helped by robust growth in Asia and a gradual recovery in consumer morale in the crisis-hit country. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at 116.5 million euros in the first six months of the year, from 89.6 million in the same period last year.

The Public Power Corporation reported a bigger-than-expected drop in first-half net profit, weighed down by increased provisions for overdue bills and tariff cuts. Net profit dropped 24 percent to 96.3 million euros, down from 127.1 million in the same period last year, the company said on Thursday. The company added that bad debt provisions rose 32 percent year-on-year to 249 million euros. The results were also hurt by tariff cuts for industries and businesses. Sales to austerity-hit households and businesses dropped 4 percent to 2.8 billion euros.

National Bank was profitable in the first half, helped by its Turkish unit Finansbank, lower funding costs and reduced provisions for bad loans as the pace of new credit impairments slowed. NBG posted a net profit of 1.146 billion euros, boosted by the recognition of a deferred tax asset. The bank said Thursday that loan-loss provisions fell 17 percent year-on-year to 705 million euros.

Alpha Bank reported a net profit in the first half after booking a deferred tax asset. Alpha posted a net profit of 267.4 million euros after recognizing a 422-million-euro deferred tax asset in the second quarter. Excluding the one-off tax benefit it lost 165.5 million in the first half, which was in line with market expectations. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a loss of 160 million euros on average. The bank said nonperforming credit rose to 33.6 percent of its loan book from 33.3 percent in the first quarter, while net interest income grew 27.8 percent year-on-year to 952 million euros, helped by lower funding costs.

[Combined reports]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday August 28, 2014 (19:05)  
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