ECONOMY

Banks tumble as oil prices propel refineries

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index fell for the first time in five days, dropping 54.92, or 1.4 percent, to 4,025.73, as uncertainty returned to international markets. The change of mood mainly affected blue chips. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies declined 1.7 percent to 2,098.19, with banks taking the brunt of sales. The mid-cap and small-cap indices rose 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. EFG Eurobank declined 2.4 percent, to 18.74 euros, the biggest decline in more than a week. Greece’s second-biggest bank got shareholder approval to sell as many as 40.7 million new shares, resulting from the re-investment of dividend payments. National Bank dropped 2.1 percent, to 33.10 euros, the biggest drop since April 11. Greece’s biggest bank fell after it said it had purchased 7.34 million shares, or a 5.2 percent stake, of state-run Hellenic Postbank for 13.25 euros each. Shares of Postbank rose 24 cents, or 1.9 percent, to 13 euros. Bank of Cyprus tumbled 3.9 percent, Piraeus Bank slumped 3.4 percent, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling shed 3.2 percent and Alpha Bank shed 2.5 percent. By contrast, refineries soared, as oil climbed to record price levels. Motor Oil was up 5.1 percent and Hellenic Petroleum by 5 percent (Kathimerini, Bloomberg)