Banks lead market lower for fifth day

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index declined for a fifth day yesterday, losing 44.18 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,021.85 in thin trade. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies sank 1.4 percent to 2,105.65 points, with banks bearing the brunt. Marfin Investment Group (MIG) gained for a second day, rising 1 percent to 5.96 euros ahead of its earnings report. The investment fund, whose biggest shareholder is the government of Dubai, said after the close of trading that first-quarter profit almost quadrupled to 202.2 million euros. OPAP climbed to the highest since January, adding 0.9 percent to 26.20 euros before Greece’s sports betting monopoly reported earnings. It said first-quarter profit increased 45 percent to 208.5 million euros, beating the 184.5-million-euro median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Sidenor declined for the first time in four days, falling 4.7 percent to 11.28 euros. National P&K Securities downgraded the shares of Greece’s biggest steelmaker to «equalweight» from «overweight,» citing a slowdown in activity and increasing scrap metal prices. Coca-Cola HBC was up 2.5 percent, but banks of Cyprus and Piraeus dropped more than 3 percent. Turnover dropped to 121.9 million euros. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)