Placement of banks dominates the picture

Shares inched lower yesterday with investors distracted by a 490-million-euro placement of 11 percent of National Bank’s shares concluded the previous night. The benchmark general share index ended 0.11 percent down at 2,120.82 points. Bellwether National Bank edged up after earlier losses to close 0.33 percent up to 18.16 euros. «It was a mixed picture today as investors digested National Bank’s placement and waited for news of Piraeus Bank’s placement,» said an analyst. Uncertainty over the price for Piraeus Bank’s placement of 11.2 million shares from its treasury stock or 6.7 percent of its existing share capital continued to weigh on the stock and its shares ended down 0.94 percent at 8.46 euros. Shares in General Hellenic Bank rose 4.18 percent to 6.48 euros after the Army Pension Fund, the main shareholder, said yesterday it would launch a tender to sell a significant stake to a strategic investor. The fund said it would issue new shares or offer new shares together with existing shares that it owns to the buyer. Turnover jumped to 613.74 million euros boosted by National’s placement, with 54.8 million shares changing hands. Losers led winners 151 to 141, with 72 shares unchanged against 364 traded. (Reuters)