ECONOMY

Banks help drag index 2.55 percent lower

Shares retreated yesterday, dragged down by banking stocks with bellwether National Bank among the biggest decliners, as a sale of a stake in the bank by the State weighed. The benchmark general share index fell 2.55 percent to 2,091.70 points, underperforming major European bourses which were generally positive. National Bank shed 2.67 percent to 18.20 euros, and the banking index fell 2.81 percent. The government has indicated it planned to sell 10 percent or more of the bank by October or November, with the number of shares and the price to be determined by demand during book building. «National Bank shares have come under pressure in recent days with the market questioning the offering price,» said portfolio manager Costas Bouropoulos at Kyklos Securities. Turnover fell to 121.25 million euros, with 28.8 million shares changing hands. Decliners outnumbered winners 336 to 22, with 10 unchanged on 368 traded. (Reuters)