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Espirito Santo Shares Fall After Earnings Report: Lisbon Mover

Banco Espirito Santo SA fell to the lowest level in almost a month after its 2012 earnings were below analysts’ estimates and Portugal’s biggest publicly traded lender said it’s considering an acquisition in Spain.

Espirito Santo declined 3.7 percent to close at 99.7 euros cents in Lisbon, the lowest since Jan. 8, giving the bank a market value of 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion).

The bank yesterday posted a full-year 2012 net income of 96 million euros, compared with a loss of 108.8 million euros in the previous year. Espirito Santo is studying an offer for Banco Gallego SA in Spain, Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Salgado said at a news conference in Lisbon yesterday.

Carlos Peixoto, an analyst at Oporto, Portugal-based Banco BPI, said Espirito Santo’s results were “weaker than expected” mostly because of lower net interest income, the difference between what a bank makes on loans and pays for deposits, and higher provisioning.

“The drop today is related to the bank’s results, which were lower than some analysts had expected,” said Pedro Oliveira, a trader at Go Bulling in Lisbon.

A downgrade by New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. is also hurting the shares, Oliveira said. Lisbon-based Espirito Santo was cut to neutral from overweight today at JPMorgan, whose 22-month target price for the stock is 1.03 euros a share.

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