Banks face selling run; small-caps buck trend

Greek stocks headed south for the third consecutive session yesterday, with pressure on heavyweight banks setting the market’s pace. Despite the announcement of first-quarter results by Eurobank and Piraeus Bank and similar forecasts for the other banks, foreign institutionals appeared to engage in aggressive selling. The Athens Stock Exchange general index closed 0.59 percent lower at 4,243.88 points. The banking sectoral index shed 1.79 percent, after dipping as low as 3 percent during trading. Eurobank experienced significant losses for the second straight day, 4.84 percent. Piraeus and ATEbank ended 2.25 percent and 2.29 percent lower, respectively; Alpha Bank lost 1.34 percent; National Bank fell 0.72 percent. Motor Oil outperformed other blue chips, advancing 3.98 percent, while the Public Power Corporation gained 1.44 percent. Apart from banks, most other sectoral indices ended on lower ground, notably raw materials and commerce. Petroleum outperformed with gains of 1.94 percent. The blue chips index lost 0.86 percent and mid-caps 0.26 percent but small-caps bucked the trend with gains of 0.72 percent. Turnover totaled 488.33 million euros, of which 235 million was accounted for by the four most marketable shares: banks Eurobank, National, Alpha and Piraeus.