Banks drag index below 4,100 points once again

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index fell in thin trade for a third day yesterday, losing 57.64 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,093.72. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies declined 1.6 percent to 2,150.54 points, with heavyweight banks continuing to exert the most pressure. The following stocks were among the most active in trading: National Bank, which accounted for nearly a fifth of turnover, fell 3.8 percent to 32.02 euros, declining for a third day. A total of about 19.1 million new shares of Greece’s biggest lender begin trading today. The shares arose from a capital increase in which the bank offered four bonus shares for every 100 held. Marfin Popular Bank dropped 1.7 percent to 5.66 euros, its lowest close in almost a month. Shares of Cyprus’s second-biggest lender trade without the right to a dividend payment of 35 cents a share on 2007 earnings today. Piraeus Bank slumped 3 percent, Alpha Bank ended 2.8 percent lower, Viohalco dropped 2.2 percent and Intralot fell 2.2 percent. By contrast, gaming monopoly OPAP climbed 3.1 percent, Mytilineos advanced 2.4 percent, Motor Oil added 2.1 percent, Bank of Cyprus rose 0.5 percent and Hellenic Petroleum nudged 0.2 percent higher. Turnover totaled 298.8 million euros. (Bloomberg)