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  • The MSE Share Index closed higher for the fifth consecutive trading session as it advanced by a further 0.19% to an over three-week high of 4,506.009 points. Trading volumes improved to €0.26 million – the highest in the last eight trading sessions. Week-on-week, the local equity index advanced by 0.79% – the best performance in the last four weeks. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, following the strong gains registered on Tuesday and Wednesday, the RF MGS Index lost 0.38% to 1,143.759 points today – the sharpest decline in three weeks – as euro zone sovereign bond yields climbed (bond prices fell) due to the outcome of yesterday’s monetary policy meeting of the European Central Bank (ECB). Although the ECB extended its quantitative easing programme by nine months till December 2017, it decided to scale down its size to €60 billion a month from €80 billion starting April 2017. Although the ECB President Mr Mario Draghi promised to keep the central bank’s stimulus measures for longer if needed in order to aid a still fragile economic recovery and dismissed any talk of tapering, many financial analysts viewed these latest moves as the first step by the ECB to normalise its current ultra-loose monetary policy. In response, soon after the ECB unveiled its decisions, the 10-year and the 20-year benchmark German Bund yields initially surged to 0.453% and 0.961% – the highest since 28 January 2016 and 11 March 2016 respectively. Despite today’s drop, week-on-week the RF MGS Index still registered a gain of 0.11%.
  • Most of today’s gains were due to the 2.2% jump in the share price of Bank of Valletta plc which climbed to a near four-week high of €2.28 across 12,327 shares. The Bank is due to hold its Annual General Meeting on Friday 16 December 2016 during which shareholders will be asked to approve a number of resolutions including the final gross dividend of €0.0852 per share as well as a 1 for 13 bonus share issue.
  • The other positive performing equity today was Medserv plc which advanced 0.5% to the €1.659 level on shallow volumes.
  • Low trading volumes were also recorded in the equity of International Hotel Investments plc which slipped 1.5% to €0.639. Preferred applicants – i.e. holders of the 6.25% IHI plc 2017/20 and of the 6.5% IHG plc 2017/19 bonds as at the close of trading on 15 November 2016 – have until next Monday 12 December to apply for the newly issued €40 million 4.0% unsecured bonds maturing in December 2026.
  • RS2 Software plc retreated 1.8% to the €1.571 level across 21,108 shares.
  • A single deal of 100,000 shares pulled the equity of FIMBank plc 0.6% lower to USD0.845.
  • Malta International Airport plc eased minimally to a one-month low of €4.038 on weak volumes totalling 3,100 shares. On Tuesday, MIA revealed very strong traffic results for the month of November. The airport operator announced that passenger movements last month increased by 22% to nearly 346,000 passengers – the sharpest monthly percentage increase so far this year – on the back of a 21.3% increase in seat capacity over the corresponding period last year as well as an improved seat load factor of 82.4% compared to 81.3% in November 2015. Since January 2016, MIA registered an 8.7% increase in passenger movements to 4.75 million when compared to the same period last year. In July, MIA had revised upwards its passenger forecast for 2016 to +7.5% representing an estimated throughput of 4.97 million passengers. However, following the strong performance in November, the Company is now aiming to exceed 5 million passenger movements.
  • Malita Investments plc maintained its 2016 low of €0.85 across heightened activity totalling 114,025 shares.
  • MaltaPost plc also closed flat at €1.875 across 2,890 shares.

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