Cautious start to the week likely

The Athens bourse could be headed for a cautious start today, with investors keeping an eye on index heavyweight National Bank of Greece (NBG) after last week’s slide. NBG shed 17 percent last week, ending at 16.71 euros on Friday. The bourse’s bank index also dropped 13 percent. According to news reports, the Church of Greece, which owns about 2 percent of NBG, has been reducing its position in the lender in a bid to free up cash. Investors will also be watching for news on Greece’s plans to improve its fiscal health. Concerns over government finances have spilled over onto the equity market, as further downgrades on Greece by credit agencies could mean that local banks cannot use Greek government bonds as collateral for lending from the European Central Bank. The bourse’s benchmark general index shed 7.8 percent last week to 2,144.56 points. Brokers said the index’s next support level is seen as being 2,114 points.

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