Banks buck trends in Europe and index slips

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index fell for a second day, bucking the trend in other European markets and declining 22.62 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,229.89. The measure advanced 0.6 percent this week. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies lost 1 percent to 2,239.06 points, led by blue chips, especially banks, trading ex-dividend. However, mid-caps and small-caps gained marginally. The following blue chips were among the most active in the Greek market yesterday. Marfin Popular Bank slid 3.7 percent to 5.78 euros, its biggest one-day decline in five weeks. Cyprus’s second-biggest bank reduced its outlook for earnings this year. Bank of Cyprus, the island’s biggest, was also lower, dropping 2.2 percent. Eurobank shed 2 percent and Alpha Bank declined 1.9 percent. By contrast, construction group Hellenic Technodomiki gained 2.6 percent and Public Power Corporation advanced 1.5 percent. In the lower capitalizations, Forthnet continued declining, losing 1.9 percent to 5.20 euros, its lowest close in a month. The share declined after Greece’s second-biggest provider of Web services said it plans to raise 300 million euros in a sale of new shares to finance the acquisition of pay-TV operator NetMed NV. Turnover totaled 415.4 million euros. (Kathimerini, Bloomberg)