Stocks ease; National Bank bucks trend

Stocks eased yesterday with National Bank offsetting weakness in OTE and continuing its advance, as investors anticipated the State will offer a stake in the country’s biggest bank to foreign investors. «Some investors locked in gains but others continued to increase their positions in select titles. The session was neutral but with sentiment remaining positive,» said analyst Yiannis Arapoglou at Kyklos Securities. The Athens benchmark general index eased 0.23 percent to 1,950.44 points, with National gaining 1.27 percent to 15.94 euros, a new 52-week high. Media have reported the State could sell up to 10 percent of National to foreign institutional investors. Blue chips eased 0.49 percent to 981.99 points, while mid-caps gained 0.14 percent and small-caps rose 0.59 percent. Turnover fell to 199.21 million euros from Tuesday’s 214.14 million euros, with 61.4 million shares changing hands. Winners beat losers 178 to 150, with 37 shares unchanged on 365 traded. (Reuters)

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