ECONOMY

Nomura downbeat on banks

Financial services group Nomura downgraded two of Greece’s largest lenders, EFG Eurobank and Alpha, citing liquidity concerns, adding to selling pressure on bank stocks yesterday. Eurobank was cut to «neutral» from «buy,» while Alpha was lowered to «reduce» from «neutral,» Tokyo-based Nomura said in a client note. The broker reiterated its «buy» rating on National Bank and its «reduce» recommendation on Piraeus Bank. Bank stocks fell 2.64 percent yesterday. «Given the continued liquidity tensions and a deteriorating and uncertain economic outlook, we are downgrading our outlook for the Greek banks,» Nomura said. February data from the Bank of Greece showed that deposits in local lenders fell by 8 billion euros over the previous five months to 229.3 billion euros but the flight of funds has eased since the start of 2010. Alpha trimmed earlier losses of more than 4 percent to end off 1.73 percent at 6.24 euros, while Eurobank dropped 3.97 percent to 6.05 euros. National Bank slipped 3.38 percent to 12.85 euros.