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Spain, Ireland bank shares hurt on euro zone fears

Source: Reuters - Sat 6th Nov 2010

Spanish banks traded lower on Friday, dragged by fears on the weakness of peripheral euro zone economies after Bank of Ireland shares slumped in Dublin and London.

Spanish bank shares fell 2.9 percent against a 1.5 percent fall in the European bank index .SX7P. Bank of Ireland stock fell 9.5 percent to its lowest level since mid-2009 due to concerns on the state of the Irish economy.

"A lot of that is about insecurity," said Tom Shaw, an analyst at Ireland-based brokerage house Goodbody.

"The international bond market seems unconvinced that our (Irish) attempts to cut 6 billion euros (in 2011) are sufficient to restore the economy and the pace for growth in the future. There is a big credibility issue," he said.

Another Geneva-based trader said a renewed rise in the credit default swap (CDS) prices of Ireland had weighed on the Bank of Ireland share price.

Spanish traders said fears of more capital hikes by Spanish banks, as they struggle to improve capital ratios under tougher Basel III rules amid increased provisions and higher rates paid on deposits, were also hurting shares.

"There is ... a bank that made a much bigger capital hike than it needed to, and that makes people worried that the others could do something similar," said one Madrid-based trader.

BBVA said on Tuesday it would carry out a 5.1 billion euro rights issue, partly to finance an acquisition in Turkey.

Spain's two biggest banks, BBVA and Santander, were 1.5 percent lower and 2.8 percent lower respectively in high volumes. By 1137 GMT, the volume of BBVA shares traded represented nearly 150 percent of the stock's 90-day average daily volume.

The iTraxx SovX index of Western European credit default swap prices rose to a record high as the cost of protecting Irish government debt against default hit a peak after a budget some traders said was "unrealistic".

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