Greece ETF Plagued by Confusion in NBG Shares

Shares of the Global X FTSE Greece ETF GREK are down 5.1 percent Thursday on volume that was more than 50 percent higher than usual amid some confusion regarding the ETF's fourth-largest holding, National Bank of Greece NBG.

Several financial data providers are showing significant discrepancies in quotes of National Bank of Greece. For example, shows the stock up over 500 percent at $7.35 while Google Finance shows the stock down 41.3 percent at $7.16.

The confusion appears to be related to a rights offering by National Bank of Greece. Earlier this month, the bank won approval to commence a share offering of 9.75 billion euros to bolster its balance sheet and break away from being controlled by the government.

On May 8, The Open Globe reported "NBG is aiming to raise a maximum of 1.171 billion Euros under the approved plan through a rights issue. Shareholders, who are engaging themselves in the rights issue, will get warrants in case the target of 12% is met. This would entitle them to own 7.33 shares back from HFSF fund per share they subscribe for."

The bank's shares outstanding were temporarily suspended from trade from May 24 to allow for the reverse share split to clear, as per Athens stock exchange regulations, Reuters reported May 22.

Translation: NBG offered 2.97 million shares and commenced a 10-for-1 reverse split.

One trader confirmed that buyers of NBG do not get rights attached to the purchases saying "some traders have bid up NBG mistakenly believing that they will receive a distribution from the ADR custodian when the rights are sold."

Arbitraging may be at play as well as NBG Athen's listed shares closed at would be the equivalent of $5.95. That could indicate that if quotes on NBG above $7 are accurate, the stock and GREK, the lone Greece ETF, could see some near-term selling pressure as arbitrageurs bring the stock back to its fair value.

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