Banks follow weak European bourses

Sharesfell to their lowest level this month, tracking weak European markets, with banks leading the slide. «The market faced pressure since the morning due to the downtrend in European stock markets. It had nothing to do with company fundamentals,» said analyst Paris Mantzavras at HSBC Pantelakis. The benchmark general share index retreated 1.43 percent to 2,131.57 points. Shares fell across Europe, unsettled by the bombings in Turkey, more clashes in Iraq and little fresh economic news to sustain a recent rally. Banks lost 2.17 percent, hit by the negative sentiment. Bellwether National Bank shed 3.06 percent to 18.40 euros while Alpha Bank fell 1.33 percent to 20.74 euros. EFG Eurobank, which late Friday said it had completed the acquisition of a 17 percent stake in Romania’s Banc Post, lost 1.44 percent to 13.68 euros. «The slide in bank stocks is a short-term reaction after last week’s rally,» said an analyst. Shares in Commercial Bank retreated 3.31 percent to 18.10 euros after investment house UBS yesterday cut its rating on the bank to «reduce 2» but kept the price target at 15.20 euros. Turnover eased to 93.53 million euros, with 21.4 million shares changing hands. Losers outnumbered winners 302 to 30, with 21 stocks closing unchanged. (Reuters)