ECONOMY

Banks take the brunt of global credit woes

The benchmark Athens Exchange (ATHEX) index fell to the lowest point since August 2006, down 140.91, or 3.6 percent, to 3,783.46. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 Index of the country’s biggest companies lost 3.7 percent to 1,951.17. Heavyweight banks led the decline, as credit market fears hit bank shares across markets. The banks sectoral index slumped 5.74 percent. Bellwether National Bank plunged 8 percent. OTE telecoms and Marfin Investment Group (MIG), the buyout fund, were the only blue chips to escape the general slump. OTE jumped 5.5 percent, to -20.20, the biggest gain since June 28, on news that Deutsche Telekom agreed to buy a 20 percent stake for -26 a share from MIG, which climbed for a second day, adding 4.7 percent, to -4.50. Mytilineos Holdings fell 6.8 percent, declining for a fourth day. Public Power Corporation (PPC), Greece’s biggest power producer, said March 14 that it has been allowed to cancel a contract to sell electricity to aluminum smelter Aluminium of Greece, owned by Mytilineos, at a reduced rate after an Athens court reversed an earlier decision. Intralot slumped 6.2 percent, OPAP dropped 6 percent, Marfin Popular Bank shed 5.7 percent, Eurobank was down 5.1 percent and Alpha Bank ended 5 percent lower. Turnover totaled -545.3 million. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)