ECONOMY

Banks rise despite low NBG profit

Bank shares outperformed yesterday, gaining 2.8 percent on the Athens bourse, despite the country’s largest lender, National (NBG), disappointing investors with its 2009 earnings. Gains in NBG were more moderate, at 1.84 percent, as the stock closed at 14.97 euros. After the close of trade on Thursday, NBG reported a 37 percent drop in 2009 earnings to 971 million euros, versus analyst expectations for a figure of 1.1 billion euros. High impairment charges along with losses from its investment portfolio and a one-off tax charge weighed on the lender’s profits. The earnings may have missed expectations but Proton Bank pointed out yesterday that NBG is best placed among its peers to weather upcoming economic uncertainties due to high capital adequacy ratios, a liquid balance sheet and exposure abroad. «Turkey is set to absorb nicely the domestic pressures,» Proton Bank said in a note to investors.