Banks lead fresh drop on bourse
Market doubts regarding the outcome of the upcoming European Union summit and the process of passing the government’s midterm fiscal plan through Parliament in Greece inflicted fresh losses on local stocks yesterday.
The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index ended at 1,241.82 points, contracting by 2.33 percent from Wednesday’s close at 1,271.43 points.
The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index shrank by 2.80 percent to end at 553.66 points.
The mid-cap FTSE/ATHEX 40 index fared better, shedding 1.37 percent.
The banks sectoral index fell by 3.78 percent, continuing its rollercoaster course.
All but one blue chip registered losses, led by Alpha Bank (down 4.80 percent), National Bank (4.55 percent), ATEbank (4.07 percent), Hellenic Postbank (3.93 percent), Piraeus Bank (3.77 percent) and Ellaktor (3.48 percent). Marfin Investment Group was the only non-mover.
In total, 36 stocks moved up, 92 went down and 44 remained unchanged. Akritas posted the biggest rise with gains of 19.05 percent, while Space Hellas led the losers, declining by 19.17 percent.
Turnover dropped to just 57.2 million euros yesterday from 83.3 million on Wednesday.
National Bank (NBG) Chairman Vassilis Rapanos is seen on a screen during yesterday’s shareholder assembly. NBG expects nonperforming loans to peak this year but added that it has the profits to absorb them. ‘NBG’s pre-provision earnings cover group provisions by 1.5 times, meaning we can absorb a 50 percent increase in provisions without a need to tap capital reserves,’ NBG Chief Executive Apostolos Tamvakakis told the bank’s annual shareholders meeting. Looking at deposits, he said National Bank was faring better than the sector, with its base down 2.1 percent in the first four months of the year versus a 3.8 percent drop in the system. A shrinking deposit base has added to the strains of Greek banks, which have become reliant on ECB funding for their liquidity needs as access to wholesale funding remains shut on sovereign debt concerns. Tamvakakis said NBG had 13.2 billion euros in government bonds and 1.6 billion euros of T-bills in its portfolio.
Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan (right) is seen seated next to his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos at a Eurogroup meeting earlier this week. Noonan said yesterday he’s considering getting T-shirts printed that say ‘Ireland is not Greece,’ in an attempt to distance Ireland from other debt-burdened nations. ‘We won’t give them away, we’ll sell them,’ Noonan said in Dublin.