National and Eurobank drag the market south

Heavyweight banks EFG Eurobank and National led Greek stocks lower yesterday, in line with foreign markets. National benchmarks declined in all of the 17 Western European markets that were open except for Portugal and Spain. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark declined 1.34 percent to 4,985.74 points. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s largest companies slipped 1.53 percent to 2,651.81. The mid- and small-cap indices fell 1.39 percent and 1.55 percent respectively. National Bank, the country’s biggest lender, dropped 2.42 percent, to -44.40. Eurobank lost 2.61 percent, to -23.18. Marfin Popular Bank was down 2.92 percent and Mytilineos slumped 4 percent. By contrast, Intralot rose 0.79 percent, Motor Oil gained 0.39 percent and Public Power Corporation (PPC) added 0.24 percent. JPMorgan raised its target price for PPC from 30 to 46, with an «overweight» recommendation. Hellenic Petroleum fell 0.19 percent to -10.44. Vassilis Roumantzis, an analyst at Marfin Analysis, cut his share-price estimate on Greece’s biggest refiner to -12 from -12.10. «Despite the positive outlook for refining margins, the picture is spoiled by the weakness of the US dollar that has a significant negative impact on Hellenic Petroleum’s profitability,» he said in a note to investors. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)