The MSE Share Index registered its third consecutive daily gain as it added another 0.18% to close at a near one-month high of 4,578.953 points. Trading activity declined to €312,000 from yesterday’s highest level in six weeks of €568,000. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.

On the bond market, the RF MGS Index reversed some of yesterday’s losses as it edged up by 0.06% to 1,146.880 points. Euro zone bond yields slipped amid weaker economic forecasts. Indeed, the 10-year benchmark German Bund yield retreated from a high of 0.28% yesterday to a low of 0.21% today. In its latest projections, the European Commission said that it is expecting GDP growth in the euro area of 1.6% this year, less than the 1.7% growth of 2015 and also 0.1 percentage points below its February forecast. GDP is projected to expand by 1.8% in 2017 down from the 1.9% estimate three months ago. Furthermore, inflation is expected to be 0.2% this year, significantly below the 0.5% increase forecast in February.

Bank of Valletta plc was the most actively traded equity today with 54,409 shares changing hands having a market value of €123,300. The equity finished 0.2% lower at the €2.27 level after touching an intra-day low of €2.25. Last Friday, BOV reported an improved net profit figure of €44.6 million for the first six months of its financial year ending 30 September 2016. The Directors declared a gross interim dividend of €0.0391 per share (net: €0.0254). This is payable on Friday 27 May to those shareholders as at close of trading on Tuesday 10 May.

Also in the banking sector, Lombard Bank Malta plc declined by 0.5% to a seven-month low of €2.13 across 2,750 shares. Eligible shareholders will receive the recently approved final gross dividend of €0.04 per share (net: €0.026) next Friday 6 May.

RS2 Software plc reversed most of yesterday’s gains as it retreated by 1.3% to the €3.80 level across 23,959 shares. Last Thursday, RS2 revealed that its post-tax profits for the year ended December 2015 surged by nearly 70% to €4.87 million (2014: €2.88 million). The Directors recommended a final net dividend of €0.0278 per share (2014: €0.0222) to all shareholders as at close of trading on 19 May (payable on 30 June) subject to approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held on 23 June. The Directors also recommended a bonus share issue of 1 new share for every 18 shares held (cut-off date: 19 May) and a 5 for 3 share split (cut-off date: 30 June).

Malta International Airport plc retreated by 0.3% from its three-week high of €4.38 to €4.365 on low activity of 1,717 shares. MIA will be holding its AGM tomorrow, during which shareholders will consider the approval of a number of resolutions including the distribution of a final gross dividend of €0.1077 per share (to be paid by not later than 19 May 2016). Furthermore, early this afternoon, MIA published its traffic results for the month of April revealing a further 5.7% growth in passenger movements to 415,409 following a 3.8% increase in seat capacity. During the first four months of the year, the airport operator handled a record 1.2 million passenger movements, up by 12% over the corresponding period last year.

Malita Investments plc slipped 0.3% to a near one-month low of €0.917 across 12,500 shares.

Within the same segment, Malta Properties Company plc (22,630 shares) and Tigne’ Mall plc (6,700 shares) retained the €0.568 and €1.15 levels respectively. Shareholders of Tigne’ Mall as at 22 June will be eligible to receive a final net dividend of €0.0125 per share. This is payable on 12 July subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming AGM scheduled to be held on 24 June 2016.

Medserv plc maintained the €1.79 level across 12,754 shares. The Company will be holding its AGM on 30 May.

A single deal of 10,000 shares left the equity of FIMBank plc unchanged at the USD0.765 level. The trade finance specialist is due to hold its AGM on 10 May.

In contrast, HSBC Bank Malta plc gained 0.9% to the €1.635 level across 3,828 shares.

Ahead of the publication of the full-year results (covering the 12 months to January 2016) on 12 May, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc climbed 2.9% to an eight-week high of €6.30 across 1,383 shares.

Mapfre Middlesea plc and Santumas Shareholdings plc closed 2.3% and 1.3% higher at €2.25 and €2.38 respectively on shallow volumes.

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