Stocks slide 0.38 percent, index nears its year low

A downgrade of the National Bank of Greece added to bank woes yesterday, as weak financials dragged the Athens bourse lower, leaving the benchmark general index marginally above year lows. The ASE benchmark general index lost ground for the fourth straight session, shedding 0.38 percent to 2,333.80 points. Its year low currently stands at 2,321.35 points. «The market is in a difficult phase. The more it drops, the harder a recovery will be, as sentiment has really taken a knock,» said Grigoris Karayanopoulos, analyst at Kyprou Securities. Bellwether National Bank lost 1.08 percent to 23.90 euros after Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein downgraded the bank to «hold» from «add» on valuation grounds, saying the stock was fully valued. National has lost 5.6 percent in the last three sessions. The bank subindex fell 0.62 percent, while telecoms eased 0.20 percent. The FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips lost 0.55 percent to 1,258.74 points, while the FTSE/ASE-40 mid-cap index eased 0.17 percent and small-caps on the FTSE/ASE-80 fell 0.60 percent. Turnover was 176.16 million euros on 21.3 million shares traded. (Reuters)

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