Titan Cement, PPC and banks lead retreat

Greek stocks fell for the first time in eight days yesterday. Titan Cement Co, the country’s biggest cement maker, and Public Power Corporation (PPC) kept apace of the retreat. The benchmark ASE index lost 69.79 points, or 1.3 percent, ending at 5,264.71 as 51 stocks dropped, seven gained and two were unchanged. The FTSE/ASE 20 index of the country’s largest companies slipped 1.3 percent to 2,803.97. The Cypriot general index also declined 1.6 percent to 5,428.71. Titan fell 1.18 euros, or 3.5 percent, to -32.48. Third-quarter profit declined 26 percent to -68.8 million, missing the -87.7 million median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Mike Bridges, a London-based analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co, lowered his rating for Titan to «sell» from «neutral’» after the results. PPC fell 98 cents, or 3.5 percent, to -27. National Bank shed 2.83 percent, ending at -43.62, and Coca-Cola HBC dropped 2.75 percent to -41.66. Citigroup raised the Piraeus Bank target price to -35 from -34. The stock closed 0.65 lower at -27.50. Hellenic Bank Ltd gained 10 cents, or 1.8 percent, ending at -5.64. The third-largest bank in Cyprus said it may see «significant improvement» in its nine-month earnings. Turnover totaled -545.9 million, of which -88.9 million was in block trades. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)