SOURCE: Paragon Financial Limited

Paragon Financial Limited

August 16, 2012 08:20 ET

Europe Nears Recessions as Eurozone and European Union Economies Collectively Shrink in Second Quarter

The Paragon Report Provides Stock Research on National Bank of Greece and Barclays

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Aug 16, 2012) - Foreign bank stocks have struggled in recent months as concerns continue to mount that Europe will fall into a recession. Recent data from a European statistics agency, Eurostat, showed that the 27 economies of the Eurozone and European Union (EU) contracted by a quarterly rate of 0.2 percent in the second quarter of the year. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Foreign Banking Industry and provides equity research on National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG) and Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS).

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A recession is officially recognized when two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth occurs. During the first quarter of the year, Eurozone and EU economic growth rate was flat. During the second quarter the third and fourth largest economies in the Eurozone, Italy and Spain, saw their economies shrink by 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. Of the 17 countries in the Eurozone, six are currently in a recession -- Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal.

"The big picture is that the economic growth required to bring the region's debt crisis to an end is still nowhere in sight," said Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics.

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National Bank of Greece is the oldest and largest among the Greek banks. It boasts a dynamic profile internationally, particularly in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Bank's branch and ATM network, the largest in Greece (528 domestic banking units and 1,383 ΑΤΜs), effectively covers the entire country. Shares of the bank have fallen nearly 20 percent for the year.

Barclays last month agreed to pay $453 million to U.S. and British authorities for their part in the LIBOR rate fixing scandal. "These remain challenging times for Barclays, as well as the industry, and we are sorry for what has happened because of recent events," said Marcus Agius. Agius resigned as chairman of Barclays on July 2, 2012.

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