* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, ECB rally holds
* Investors take profit on Greek uncertainty
* QE optimism contains damage in markets
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Greek stocks fell on Monday after anti-austerity party Syriza swept to victory in the polls, though this damage failed to halt a broader rally in European equities driven by the European Central Bank’s bond-buying plan.
Athens’s ATG index was down 1.3 percent at 0922 GMT, led lower by banking stocks such as Piraeus Bank, down 9 percent, and Alpha Bank, down 4.3 percent, with investors taking a cautious stance as Greece’s new leftwing leader Alexis Tsipras begins steps to build a government.
“Investors seem to be willing to take profit on the back of Friday’s impressive rally in anticipation of the formation of a new government and its rhetoric versus Greece’s international lenders,” said Nikos Koskoletos, an analyst at Athens based Eurobank Equities.
However, the losses were not enough to erase the past week’s gains in anticipation of the ECB’s new stimulus measures designed to revive the euro zone’s flagging economy. The ATG index is still up by almost 5 percent since a week ago.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.1 percent, close to seven-year highs, with benchmark indexes in Frankfurt and Paris in positive territory.
“The QE announced last week has gone some way to prop up the markets,” said Tom Robertson, senior trader at Accendo Markets, though he warned that investor jitters would continue as long as there was the risk of a potential Greek exit from the euro zone.
Shares in Southern European markets featured among the biggest underperformers, with Italy’s MIB index, Portugal’s PSI 20 and Spain’s IBEX all in negative territory.
Shares in Italian lender Banco Popolare were down 2.8 percent and Banco de Sabadell down 1.8 percent.
“Even if ‘Grexit’ is not in the cards today, we can’t exclude the risk of a rise in tensions in the coming months on the austerity front as well as in potential negotiations over Greek debt,” said John Plassard, senior equity sales trader at Mirabaud Securities in Geneva.
“The real concern is that negotiations with Greece to soften austerity measures could prompt other euro zone countries to ask for the same.”
Bucking the trend on Monday, shares in Belgian supermarket group Delhaize rose 4.4 percent after the group posted better-than-expected sales for the fourth quarter.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou in Athens; Editing by Toby Chopra)