Piraeus slide weighs on local stocks

Greek stocks retreated yesterday on sliding financials as Piraeus Bank slumped more than 11 percent in reaction to news that it would boost capital by issuing new shares at a hefty discount to its current price. The Athens bourse’s benchmark general index dropped 1.63 percent to 1,396.58 points, falling below the 1,400-point support level. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index gave up 2.06 percent to end at 651.90 points, dragged lower by a 3.55 percent dip in banks. Piraeus Bank, the country’s fourth-largest lender, tumbled 11.76 percent to 3.15 euros. On Monday, the lender said that it plans to raise 807 million euros by moving ahead with a 12-for-five rights issue at 1 euro per share, representing a discount of 72 percent on Monday’s prices. Brokerage Eurobank EFG Equities said that «it was admittedly suprised» by the low share price, adding that risks to the Greek banking sector remain due to liquidity and asset quality concerns arising from exposure to Greek government bonds. «Piraeus managed to get the offering fully underwritten but for this to happen the offering price has to be evidently set this low,» it said in a note to investors. National Bank fell 1.31 percent to 6.08 euros. OTE telecom bucked the trend, adding 2.76 percent to end at 6.32 euros. Turnover reached 73.27 million euros versus 43 million in the previous session.