Turkish stocks fall on Ukraine tensions, lira firms slightly

ISTANBUL, April 25 Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:14am EDT

ISTANBUL, April 25 (Reuters) - Turkish banking shares led the main stock index lower on Friday, weighed down by the Ukraine crisis, while the lira enjoyed some relief after the central bank decided to keep its main interest rates on hold.

The Istanbul stock market closed down 1.38 percent at 71,388.74 points, underperforming the emerging market index which fell 1.13 percent.

Turkey's banks were the worst performers on the bourse after the central bank on Thursday defied some analysts' expectations by not announcing moves to pay interest on banks' reserve requirements to support the sector.

The central bank also kept its main interest rates on hold, lending support to the lira which firmed to 2.1335 to the dollar by 1442 from 2.1362 late on Thursday, when the central bank ignored political pressure to cut borrowing costs.

The 10-year benchmark bond yield fell to 9.89 percent from 9.97 percent at Thursday's close. (Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Gareth Jones)