Serb Stocks Fall Most in 3 Years After U.S. Credit Downgrade

Serbian shares fell the most in almost three years, leading declines among former Yugoslavian stock indexes on concern about the effects of the U.S. credit downgrade and the debt crisis in Europe.

Serbia’s Belex15 gauge dropped 5.9 percent, the most since October 2008, to close at 639.33 points in Belgrade. Lender Agrobanka AD led the declines with a 10.5 percent drop. Croatia’s Crobex slid 4.6 percent, the most in more than two years while Slovenia’s SBITOP fell 2.6 percent, sinking to the lowest level in almost eight years.

“The recent downturn on world equity markets and the eurozone debt crisis also affect stock exchanges in the former Yugoslavia,” Jernej Kozlevcar, a fund manager at Triglav Asset Management Co in Ljubljana, said in a phone interview today. “Main stock indexes in Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade were severely hit with low market depth and liquidity also being one of the reasons for allowing big daily swings.”

Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit score for the first time. The European Central Bank started buying Italian and Spanish assets as it seeks to contain the spreading of the European debt crisis.

In Romania, the BET stock index led declines among all Balkan nations, closing down 8.4 percent, the biggest one-day decline since May last year.

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