Spanish Bourse Trading Hangover Hurts Volumes Post-Shorting Ban

Bolsas y Mercados Espanoles SA, the Spanish stock-exchange operator, is still suffering from a “hangover” caused by the former ban on short-selling financial stocks, Chief Financial Officer Javier Hernani said.

“These things normally need a certain amount of time” for a recovery in volumes, Hernani said on a webcast for analysts today. “We are living through the hangover from a situation that lasted a long time, because there were six months of prohibition.”

Spain’s market regulator lifted the ban on short-selling on Feb. 16, saying the “extreme volatility” in banking shares that justified the prohibition had eased. The ban hurt BME by affecting liquidity and stock pricing, Chairman Antonio Zoido said on today’s webcast.

BME today said that equity trading volumes fell 31 percent in February from the same month a year ago. Trading volumes also fell 35 percent from January, the Madrid-based company said.

Shares in BME rose as much as 3.8 percent in Madrid trading today. The company said last night that it earned 155.1 million euros last year, higher than the average estimate of 151.9 million euros in a survey of seven analysts.

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