Friday, 17 February 2012

Bank Shares Fall as Spain Regulator Lifts Short-Selling Ban

19:02 |


Spain’s stock-market regulator lifted a six-month ban on short-selling of financial stocks, saying the “extreme volatility” that justified the ban had eased. Banking shares plunged, led by Bankia SA. Steps taken by the European Union to tighten budget discipline have helped stabilize markets, as have the European Central Bank’s longer-term financing operations and the Spanish government’s overhaul of the banking industry announced on Feb. 2, the regulator said. “The extreme volatility, continued instability and uncertainty in European markets, particularly financial stocks, that justified temporary restrictions on taking or increasing short positions has eased,” the CNMV regulator said in an e- mailed statement in Madrid. France, Belgium, Spain and Italy moved to ban short-selling in August in an effort to stabilize markets after European banks hit their lowest levels since the credit crisis of 2008. France and Belgium lifted their bans this week. Spain had left the ban open-ended since Sept. 28. Shares in banks plunged today following last night’s announcement. Bankia fell as much as 9.8 percent before closing in Madrid down 7.3 percent at 3.09 euros ($4.04). Banco Popular Espanol SA closed down 6.2 percent at 3.26 euros, paring earlier declines of as much as 8.3 percent. Banco Sabadell SA fell as much as 7.8 percent, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA as much as 5.4 percent and Banco Santander SA as much as 4.9 percent.

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