Banks snap five days of gain, index below 4,300

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index fell for the first time in five days, losing 24.64 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,279.13. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies dropped 0.7 percent to 2,272.71 points. National Bank lost 1.5 percent to 37.14 euros, snapping five days of gains. Marfin Analysis downgraded shares of Greece’s biggest bank to «accumulate» from «buy,» citing the company’s «increased risk profile, given its sizable dependence on Turkey.» Marfin Investment Group added 6 cents, or 1 percent, to 5.86 euros, the highest in more than four months. The buyout fund which owns 20 percent of OTE telecom said that the sale of its stake to Deutsche Telekom for 2.5 billion euros will be completed within two weeks. OTE shares increased 12 cents, or 0.6 percent, to 19.52 euros. Thessaloniki Water & Sewage advanced 6 percent to 6.70 euros, the steepest one-day gain since March 26. Hellenic Postbank climbed 1.4 percent to 12.70 euros, gaining for a third day. Piraeus Bank has become the third Greek bank to build a holding in state-run Hellenic Postbank. It now owns 4 percent of the Greek savings institution. Piraeus Bank, the country’s fourth-biggest bank, lost 20 cents, or 0.9 percent, to 22.40 euros. (Bloomberg)