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The MSE Share Index moved lower for the first time in the last five trading sessions as it fell by 0.65% from yesterday’s over two-week high of 4,703.912 points to 4,673.181 points. Today’s decline in the local equity index reflects the drops in the share prices of the four largest companies by market capitalisation: IHI, HSBC, BOV and MIA. On the other hand, PG and MPC posted gains whilst another four equites closed the day unchanged. Trading activity was robust as nearly €0.61 million worth of shares changed hands, most of which were registered in PG. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.

On the bond market, the RF MGS Index slumped by 0.31% – the sharpest daily decline in nearly two weeks – as euro zone sovereign yields rose markedly. Indeed, the 10-year and 20-year benchmark German Bund yields touched intra-day highs of 0.447% and 0.95% respectively – their highest levels in over a month – from 0.41% and 0.898% yesterday. On the economic front, data issued in Germany was mixed with exports and imports figures beating forecasts whilst industrial production slowed down by 0.4% in March from the previous month – much worse than the expected 0.6% growth. Likewise, in Italy, retail sales data for the month of March disappointed. On the other side of the Atlantic, two Federal Open Market Committee members expressed divergent views on the likely interest rate path to be adopted by the US Federal Reserve.

Bank of Valletta plc retreated by 0.4% from its over nine-year high of €2.27 back to the €2.26 level after recovering from an intra-day low of €2.24 (-1.3%). A total of 60,705 shares traded today, the last day the equity traded with the entitlement to the recently declared net interim dividend of €0.0293 per share. Tomorrow, the equity turns ex-dividend.

Also in the retail banking sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc moved back to the €2.00 level (-2.4%) across 26,700 shares.

Two deals totalling 12,500 shares forced the equity of International Hotel Investments plc 3.2% lower to a fresh nine-month low of €0.61 across 12,500 shares. Yesterday, IHI issued an Interim Directors’ Statement in which it explained that all of its owned and managed hotels registered an increase in revenue and gross operating profit in the first quarter of 2017 when compared to both budgeted figures as well as the corresponding period last year. IHI also referred to its growing business in the management of third party hotels as well as to progress made on its 50%-owned Corinthia Grand Hotel Astoria located in Brussels. Looking ahead, IHI is expecting that its full-year performance in 2017 will be better than that of 2016 and also ahead of budgets.

The equity of Malta International Airport plc eased marginally lower to the €4.139 level on a single deal of 5,200 shares. This afternoon, the airport operator published the April 2017 traffic results revealing a 26.6% year-on-year increase in passenger movements to 530,576 passengers – thus surpassing the half-a-million mark for the first time in April. The growth was registered on the back of a 17.7% increase in seat capacity as well as an improvement in the seat load factor by 5.3 percentage points.

In ontrast, PG plc opened at an intra-day low of €1.24 (-0.7%) before closing at its intra-day high of €1.27 (+1.7%) on persistently high trading volumes totalling 406,700 shares.

Malta Properties Company plc surged by 5.9% to recapture the €0.54 level across 7,000 shares. The Company is due to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 May.

Meanwhile, Malita Investments plc (36,045 shares) and Plaza Centres plc (4,700 shares) maintained the €0.74 and €1.06 levels respectively.

RS2 Software plc failed to hold on to its intra-day high of €1.575 (+2.9%) as it also finished the day flat at the €1.53 level across a total of 40,500 shares. Shareholders as at close of trading on 17 May are eligible to a final net dividend of €0.01 per share as well as bonus share issue of one share for every twelve shares held.

A single deal of 6,800 shares left the equity of GO plc unchanged at the €3.498 level.

The recently issued 4% Eden Finance plc started trading today. It closed at 101% after touching an intra-day high of 103.99% on €19,000 nominal compared to the issue price of par (100%).

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