Blue chips led by banks, OTE take ATHEX lower

Greek stocks fell for the first day in three, led by banks, including National and Geniki, a unit of Societe Generale. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark ASE index dropped 1.7 percent, to 4,442.34 in Athens as 51 of its 60 constituent stocks declined, six rose and three were unchanged. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 Index of the largest companies fell 2.2 percent to 2,350.82. National Bank, the country’s biggest lender, lost 4 percent, to -41.26. Geniki Bank sank 6.4 percent, to -4.70 after Moody’s Investors Service lowered its credit rating on the deposits of the Greek unit of France’s Societe Generale to A3 from Aa3. OTE, Greece’s biggest phone company, fell 2.7 percent, to -21.60. The company’s Romanian unit, Romtelecom, said that «costs should be controlled in a very rigorous way,» and announced it will fire as many as 2,500 of its 13,000 employees this year. Marfin Investment Group slumped 5.9 percent, Mytilineos tumbled 4.8 percent, Viohalco dropped 4.7 percent and Marfin Popular Bank was down 3.9 percent. Public Power Corporation, Greece’s biggest electricity producer, gained 4.2 percent, to -31.26. The company’s workers suspended a 24-hour strike planned for tomorrow after the management board postponed a meeting. Coca-Cola HBC gained 1.4 percent. Turnover totaled -358 million. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)