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  • Trading volumes during this morning’s trading session on the Malta Stock Exchange slowed down to the lowest levels in two weeks. Despite the decline in trading activity, the MSE Share Index edged 0.3% higher to 3,328.905 points mainly due to the recovery in the equity of HSBC. Lombard shares also traded higher whilst Plaza’s equity drifted marginally lower. On the other hand, the three other active equities, including BOV, FIMBank and RS2 Software, ended the session unchanged. Download a copy of the Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index was practically unchanged today at 1,010.469 points as Eurozone yields continued to trade just above the 1.45% level ahead of the monetary policy meetings of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE). Both central banks maintained their benchmark interest rates at the historically low levels of 0.75% and 0.5% respectively. Investors are now focused on this afternoon’s press conference of the ECB’s President Mario Draghi for indications on the extent of the threat posed by Italy’s political deadlock on Europe’s recovery.
  • Locally, this afternoon, the Malta Stock Exchange announced that the institutional tranches of the recently issued Malta Government Stocks (MGS) will be admitted to the Official List on Monday 11 March with trading expected to commence the following day.
  • Following two sessions of declines in spite of the entitlement to the final gross dividend of €0.079 per share, HSBC’s share price moved back into positive territory with a 1.1% jump to regain the €2.75 level on low volumes of 7,800 shares. The shares will continue to trade cum-dividend until next Wednesday 13 March.
  • Similarly, Lombard Bank edged 1.3% higher to close at the €1.915 level for the first time since mid-January 2013 ahead of the Bank’s full-year results scheduled to be published on 14 March.
  • Meanwhile, BOV held on to the €2.30 level across two deals totalling 4,000 shares.
  • The publication of FIMBank’s 2012 full-year results failed to move the equity as a trade of only 1,350 shares was executed at the US$1.00 level. The 2012 figures revealed a 6.8% increase in pre-tax profits to US$8.8 million largely attributable to a 6.7% growth in total operating income to US$40 million and a 1.5% drop in the  overall cost base to US$28.5 million. The Directors also recommended a final net dividend of US$0.0369 per share to all shareholders as at close of trading on 26 March. Further details available here.
  • RS2 Software shares also maintained their previous closing price as a further 15,667 shares were exchanged at the equity’s all-time high of €0.91. The IT company still has to announce the date of its 2012 preliminary results publication.
  • On the other hand, the share price of Plaza slipped 1.5% lower to the €0.58 level across four trades totalling 74,000 shares ahead of the Company’s full-year results publication on 13 March.

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