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  • The MSE Share Index opened the month of August in negative territory as it slipped by 0.21% to a thirteen-day low of 4,701.118 points, reflecting the declines in the share prices of IHI (-3.1%) and RS2 (-0.3%) which outweighed the gains in three other shares. Trading volumes declined markedly as only €0.13 million worth of shares changed hands – the lowest in nearly two months RF MGS Index rebounded by 0.13% today. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • Following the minimal declines during the previous two days, to a five-day high of 1123.539 points as euro zone sovereign yields retreated following the issuance of disappointing economic data. Indices gauging the level of activity of purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, as well as in the whole of the single currency area, showed a slight in contraction in the month of July. Furthermore, whilst preliminary readings showed that Q2 GDP growth in the euro zone reached a multi-year high of 2.1%, it was lower than the 2.4% growth anticipated by economists. Meanwhile, the German unemployment rate held steady at its record low of 5.7%.
  • Just under half of today’s activity took place in RS2 Software plc which retreated by 0.3% to the €0.839 level across 34,204 shares.
  • A single deal of just 329 shares forced the equity of International Hotel Investments plc 3.1% lower back to the €0.60 level.
  • Also among the large companies by market capitalisation, HSBC, BOV and MIA all closed the day unchanged. HSBC Bank Malta plc retained the €2.05 level across 8,594 shares. Yesterday, HSBC published its half-year results showing a 15.1% drop in adjusted pre-tax profits to €25.9 million (i.e. excluding the one-off gain of €10.8 million posted in the first half of FY2016 made on disposal of shares held in Visa Europe). The Directors declared a net interim dividend of €0.031 per share, representing a 33.8% drop from the dividend declared in respect of the 2016 interim results. This dividend will be paid on 11 September to all shareholders as at the close of trading on 10 August 2017. In his commentary, HSBC Malta’s CEO made reference to the Bank’s robust capital buffers and liquidity position which allow it to sustain a dividend payout ratio of 65%. Looking ahead, the CEO also noted that HSBC is making good progress to enhance its customer propositions for both business and personal customers. In this respect, a number of notable announcements related to new and enhanced services will be made in the second half of 2017.
  • Similarly, Bank of Valletta plc (8,000 shares) and Malta International Airport plc (1,400 shares) held on to the €2.15 and €4.20 levels respectively. Last week, MIA published its interim financial statements covering the six months ended 30 June 2017. EBITDA surged by 26.7% to €20.9 million and net profits climbed by 34.8% to €11 million. The Directors declared an unchanged gross interim dividend of €0.0462 (net: €0.03) per share. Shareholders as at the close of trading on Monday 21 August will be entitled to this dividend which will be paid by not later than Friday 22 September 2017. Furthermore, MIA also issued its revised passenger and financial projections for 2017 showing a marked increase in expected business and profitability on the back of continued growth in passenger movements and aircraft traffic.
  • Meanwhile, GO plc advanced 0.8% to the €3.578 level after recovering from an intra-day low of €3.402 (-4.1%). A total of 6,300 shares traded. The company is due to reveal its six-month financial results on Friday 4 August.
  • The two other positive performing equites today were GlobalCapital plc and Malta Properties Company plc which gained 0.3% and 1% to €0.301 and €0.515 respectively albeit on trivial volumes. This morning, MPC announced that its Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on 7 August to discuss the interim financial statements for the six-month period ended 30 June 2017.
  • Yesterday, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc announced that it obtained regulatory approval for the issuance of €20 million 3.5% unsecured bonds maturing in 2027. The equity remained inactive today.

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