Index declines on bank stocks

Extensive selling of bank shares dragged the local bourse lower yesterday, interrupting a three-day climb. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,873.63 points yesterday, shrinking by 1.46 percent from Tuesday. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index contracted by 2.17 percent to end at 969.02 points. Banks plunged by 4.22 percent, while the telecoms index gained 5.29 percent. OTE telecom rose by 5.29 percent and Public Power Corporation increased by 4.83 percent. Worst off were the blue chips of Bank of Cyprus (down 7.02 percent), National Bank, Intralot (both 5.79 percent) and Hellaktor (5.50 percent). The better-than-forecast National Bank third-quarter results were announced after the session and should bolster its stock today. Turnover plummeted to just 142 million euros.