Bloomberg News

Commerzbank Leads Europe Banks Lower on Greece: Frankfurt Mover

February 13, 2012

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Commerzbank AG and National Bank of Greece SA led European banking stocks lower after finance ministers in the region held back a rescue package for Greece.

Commerzbank fell as much as 10 percent to 1.95 euros and was down 3.4 percent as of 10:12 a.m. in Frankfurt trading. National Bank of Greece dropped as much as 7.1 percent in Athens. The 43-member Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index fell 0.6 percent, snapping three days of gains.

Last night’s refusal by finance ministers to deliver a 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) bailout for Greece reflects the euro area’s frustration with the country’s bickering politicians and the prospect that they may again backtrack on fiscal commitments not passed into law.

“One day it is optimistic and the next it is negative, that’s going to continue for a while,” Neil Smith, a banking analyst with WestLB AG in Dusseldorf, said. “There’s a lot of nervousness because shares in the sector have risen over the last month and some investors may be concerned that the gain is overstretched.”

Commerzbank reduced its sovereign risks related to Greece to 1.4 billion euros on Sept. 30, from 2.2 billion euros on June 30, after writing down the value of Greek government bonds by 798 million euros, according a Nov. 4 company statement.

Facing general strikes and mounting opposition to cuts in wages, pensions and government spending, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said a parliamentary vote set to begin this weekend amounted to a ballot on euro membership.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking late yesterday after chairing emergency talks of euro-area policy makers, set another extraordinary meeting for Feb. 15.

--Editors: Angela Cullen, Stephen Taylor

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt at ncomfort1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net


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