ECONOMY

Bank gains fail to prop up benchmark

Reports about the European Central Bank being ready to factor the Greek banks’ restructuring plans into the stress tests, and to include junk bonds – such as those of Greece – in the ABS bond-buying program were enough to send bank stocks higher but not to keep the benchmark afloat on Wednesday.

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index ended at 1,058.78 points, shedding 0.26 percent from Tuesday’s 1,061.58 points, although it had been up as much as 3.06 percent early in the day. The large-cap FTSE/ATHEX 25 index expanded 0.30 percent, closing at 345.67 points, but small-caps gave up 2.55 percent.

The banks index ended the day up 1.86 percent, with Piraeus Bank climbing 5.22 percent and Alpha rising 3.42 percent.

News of unpaid PPC bills running up to 1.7 billion euros sent the power company’s stock down 3.72 percent. Intralot lost 6.25 percent, Marfin Investment Group fell 5.56 percent and EYDAP declined 4.92 percent.

In total 45 stocks recorded gains, 79 sustained losses and 20 remained unchanged.

Turnover amounted to 124.3 million euros, just under Tuesday’s 124.8 million.