Bank share placements pull general index down

Bank shares fell yesterday, pulling down the broader market as news of share placements in two major banks triggered concerns extra supply would drain liquidity. The benchmark general share index retreated 1.74 percent to 2,093.57 points, The Finance Ministry said it would sell 10 percent of National Bank, the country’s largest by assets, to foreign and local institutional investors. A source close to the deal said the accelerated bookbuilding will start this Tuesday and finish on Wednesday. Based on yesterday’s closing price, the sale could bring the State around 460 million euros. National Bank lost 4.72 percent to 18.16 euros, still above its 20-day moving average. Earlier, Piraeus Bank, fifth largest by assets, said it would start a placement of 11.2 million shares from its treasury stocks, or 6.7 percent of its share capital, to institutional investors via an accelerated bookbuilding. Shares of the bank fell 2.78 percent to 8.40 euros. The negative sentiment weighed on index heavyweight OTE Telecom, which fell 3.17 percent to 9.78 euros. Turnover rose to 167.7 million euros, with 34.6 million shares changing hands. Decliners outnumbered advancers 287 to 40, with 31 unchanged against 358 traded. (Reuters)