Banks drag index 1.80 percent lower

Shares ended lower yesterday, with banks coming under pressure as investors booked profits from the recent rally and closed open positions approaching the end of the month. The general share index dropped 1.80 percent to 2,251.48 points, with blue chips losing 2.09 percent to 1,136.83 points and banks ending 3.21 percent down. «Selling in bank stocks today was principally flow-driven as sellers took profits after the recent rally drove up valuations, said head analyst Elias Lazaris at Artion Securities. The National Bank of Greece shed 3.88 percent to 20.30 euros, making it the biggest blue chip loser. Bucking the trend, Bank of Attica advanced 3.42 percent to 6.66 euros as investors responded positively to press reports of a linkup with unlisted Postal Savings Bank, possibly by the end of the week. Turnover fell to 189.60 million euros with 59 million shares changing hands. Decliners led advancers 307 to 40, with 19 unchanged on 366 traded. (Reuters)