Stocks dip below 1,600 pts

Greek stocks fell sharply yesterday on bank losses, dropping below the 1,600-point support level. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index shed 3.53 percent to end at 1,589.74 points, losing 2.23 percent for the week. Banks tumbled 3.95 percent, as National Bank slipped 3.61 percent to 10.15 euros. Alpha Bank dipped 4.74 percent to 5.43 euros despite Bank of America Merrill Lynch raising its price target on the stock to 7.90 euros from 7 euros previously. EFG Eurobank gave up 5.91 percent to end at 5.25 euros. Bank of America Merrill Lynch upped its target price on EFG Eurobank to 6.60 euros from 6 euros. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index fell 3.72 percent to 773.74 points. OTE telecom dropped 3.08 percent to 5.67 euros and OPAP ended at 11.40 euros, off 2.56 percent. Cement company Titan also dropped, shedding 3.70 percent to 15.60 euros. According to a Reuters poll of analysts, Titan is expected to post on Thursday broadly flat year-on-year profit in the first half, as improved sales in Egypt and the Balkans offset falling business in its home market. Refinery Hellenic Petroleum fell 3.49 percent to 6.08 euros. It is expected to post a 53-percent decline in first-half net profits on Tuesday to 66.6 million euros, hurt by the recession and a lower value for oil inventories. Turnover reached 81.4 million euros from 52 million previously.