European shares end lower; Greece’s NBG slips

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – European shares fell on Thursday, led lower by the banking sector, with Greece’s largest lender National Bank (NBG) slipping 6 percent before a post-market results statement.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally closed down 0.2 percent at 1,068.93 points, after trading in a range of 1,067.06-1,073.73 points.

“Given the decent run we have seen over the last couple of weeks, markets have become a little exhausted,” said Gerhard Schwarz, head of global equity strategy at UniCredit.

“The market is waiting for new significant factors. Over the next few days there might be more scrutinizing over the Greece situation.”

Banks took the most points off the index with lingering concerns over Greece’s economic situation adding to market worries. Greek bank shares fell following a media report that the country may turn to the IMF to deal with its debt crisis.

Greece’s finance minister later dismissed the report and said all options for getting support were still open.

After the market close National Bank of Greece released annual results which showed a 40 percent fall in its net profit to 923 million euros ($1.3 billion).

HSBC, Banco Santander, Barclays, BBVA and UBS fell 1.7 to 1.9 percent.

Miners were lower as copper prices fell 0.6 percent on a firmer dollar.

Antofagasta, BHP Billiton, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, Rio Tinto and Xstrata slipped 0.7 to 1.8 percent.

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(Reporting by Joanne Frearson)

European shares end lower; Greece’s NBG slips