ECONOMY

Profit-taking weighs bank index down

Shares lost 2.11 percent yesterday for the third consecutive session, weighed down by weakness in bank and telecom stocks, as investors locked in gains after a recent rally. The benchmark general index lost 2.11 percent to 2,150.48 points, underperforming European markets. Heavyweight bank stocks were among the biggest decliners, with the banking index sliding 3.25 percent. National Bank shed 3.99 percent to 19.24 euros. «Until now, the rally in bank stocks has been driven by talk of privatization. If this is not realized, bank valuations could be lower than current ones,» said analyst Vassilis Vlastarakis at Contalexis Financial Services. Among the decliners, OTE retreated 1.19 percent to 9.98 euros. The stock has been hit with two rating downgrades after the release of its first-half results last Thursday. Turnover rose to 209.26 million euros, with 48.1 million shares changing hands. Decliners outnumbered advancers 309 to 39, with 18 unchanged against 366 traded. (Reuters)