Market dives again; bank stocks targeted

Stocks declined significantly yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), wiping out Tuesday’s gains. The ASE followed emerging and European markets, where selling pressure prevailed again. Banks were especially hit, despite a positive report by Citigroup, which said they are attractively priced and set price targets of 48.50 euros for National Bank, 30 euros for EFG Eurobank, 28 euros for Piraeus Bank and 23.50 euros for Alpha Bank. The ASE composite share price index closed at 3,642.64 points, a drop of 121.28 points or 3.22 percent. The FTSE/ASE 20 index of blue chips declined 3.04 percent to close at 1,960.38 points, while mid-caps and small-caps declined 4.41 percent and 4.85 percent respectively. The FTSE/Athex International index dropped 3.18 percent, to 5,093.18 points. Among blue chips, only cement producer cement Titan gained (1.23 percent to 37.98 euros). The top losers were technology holding company Intracom (down 6.91 percent to 5.12 euros), National Bank (4.44 percent to 31 euros), telecommunications company OTE (4.09 percent to 16.40 euros) and mobile telecommunications firm Cosmote (4 percent to 17.30 euros). Of 311 traded shares, 24 gained, 267 declined and 20 ended unchanged. Turnover reached 429.54 million euros, including 47.22 million in prearranged trades.