ECONOMY

Stocks end positive run, Alpha Bank tumbles

Weak banks dragged Greek stocks lower on Friday as one of the country?s largest lenders, Alpha, tumbled on speculation it will go ahead with a rights issue.

The Athens bourse?s benchmark general index ended 0.80 percent lower at 1,661.68 points, interrupting a seven-session positive streak. The market, however, recorded gains of 4.43 percent for the week.

The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index retreated 1.21 percent to end at 779.59 points. Banks dipped 2.60 percent.

Alpha Bank led the decliners, giving up 7 percent to end at 4.65 euros.

Brokers said talk that it may move ahead with a rights issue to boost its capital base fueled selling pressure on concerns that the new shares would be priced at a steep discount to current price levels.

Business website euro2day.gr cited an unnamed senior Alpha Bank official as saying that it was not considering selling new shares to raise money.

Alpha Bank came under selling pressure a day after Eurobank EFG announced that it has agreed to seek 70 percent of its Polish unit (Polbank) to Austria?s Raiffeisen for 490 million euros.

Proton Research described the sales price as being ?fair,? considering the Polish market?s solid prospects and Polbank?s weak current operating performance. Eurobank dropped 3.01 percent to 4.84 euros.

Turnover reached 146.6 million euros versus 117 million in the previous session.