Pressure on bank stocks hurts index

The negative comments yesterday by Austria about the progress of the Greek economy took a toll on the local bourse, sending the main index back to below the 1,500-point level. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 1,494.17 points yesterday, contracting by 1.04 percent from Monday’s close at 1,509.85 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index shrank by 1.32 percent to end at 705.46 points. The day’s best performers among blue chips were Viohalco (up 1.92 percent), Hellenic Petroleum (1.63 percent), Jumbo (1.52 percent) and Titan Cement (1.46 percent). Banks were once again on the receiving end of the most pressure, with Bank of Cyprus dropping 5.66 percent, Marfin Investment Group sliding 4.41 percent, Piraeus Bank falling 3.17 percent, National Bank shedding 2.50 percent to reach a 90-month low of 7.01 euros, and Eurobank EFG shrinking by 2.33 percent. A total of 35 stocks headed north, 108 went down and 56 remained unchanged. Mochlos led the gainers with 10 percent growth, while printing and graphic arts firm Haidemenos posted the biggest losses (down 17.65 percent). Turnover picked up a bit toward the end of the session and came to 85.6 million euros for the day, up from Monday’s 68.9 million.