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  • The MSE Share Index rebounded from yesterday’s decline as it advanced by 0.68% to 4,593.966 points – the highest level since mid-April 2008. Seven equities registered gains, another four traded unchanged while only three shares – BOV, Lombard and MIA – closed in negative territory. Trading volumes improved considerably to a three-week high of €790,000, namely on heightened activity in the equities of RS2 and Lombard. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the RF MGS Index extended yesterday’s gain by a further 0.16% to 1,144.830 points. This afternoon, the European Central Bank (ECB) unveiled a series of new measures aimed at strengthening the eurozone’s recovery and inflationary prospects. The ECB cut its benchmark deposit rate further into negative territory to minus 0.4% and its main refinancing rate by 5 basis points to 0 per cent. Furthermore, it raised the amount of bonds that the ECB can buy each month under its quantitative easing programme from €60 billion to €80 billion – a greater amount than many analysts expected. Eurozone markets reacted positively to the news with the 10-year benchmark German Bund yield slipping back below the 0.20% level to 0.17%.
  • Trading in the recently issued 1.5% MGS 2022 stock was possible as from today. The bid price of the Central Bank of Malta was 63 basis points above the issue price of 105.0%. Nonetheless, no trading in this particular stock took place.
  • RS2 Software plc closed at yet another all-time high today (its fourteenth consecutive one in as many trading sessions) as it gained a further 0.5% to €4.05 across 60,778 shares. The equity is the best performer so far this year with a gain of 28.2%.
  • International Hotel Investments plc partially reversed yesterday’s decline as it gained 5.8% to the €0.71 level albeit on shallow volumes totalling 1,600 shares.
  • Mapfre Middlesea plc reversed some of the recent declines as it edged up by 1.6% to the €2.549 level across 5,000 shares. Shareholders as at close of trading on Wednesday 27 April will be eligible to receive a final net dividend of €0.03826 per share, payable on 22 May 2016 subject to shareholder approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on Friday 22 April.
  • Similarly, a single deal of 15,000 shares pushed the equity of FIMBank plc up by 2.4% to the USD0.64 level. FIMBank will reveal its 2015 full-year results on 15 March.
  • Also in the banking sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc gained 0.6% to the €1.63 level on insignificant volumes.
  • Likewise, Malta Properties Company plc (2,100 shares) and Santumas Shareholdings plc (110 shares) gained 2.7% and 2.6% to €0.575 and €2.36 respectively.
  • Among the large companies, Bank of Valletta plc and Malta International Airport plc registered declines. BOV retreated from its one-year high of €2.29 back to the €2.27 level (-0.9%) across 7,238 shares. The deadline for submission of applications in respect of the recently announced BOV €50 million 3.5% Tranche 2 subordinated bonds 2030 issued at par (100%) is on 18 March (or earlier in the case of over-subscription).
  • Malta International Airport plc closed below the €4.50 level for the first time in the last eight trading sessions. The equity declined by 0.2% to the €4.49 level across 2,200 shares.
  • Strong volumes totalling 205,000 shares for a value of €0.45 million pulled the equity of Lombard Bank Malta plc 0.2% lower to the €2.175 level. This morning, Lombard published its 2015 financial results showing an improved net profit figure of €4.38 million, representing an increase of 30.3% from the previous year’s comparable figure. The Directors recommended the payment of a final gross dividend of €0.04 per share (net: €0.026), representing a 5% increase from the previous year’s dividend. Shareholders as at the close of trading on 23 March will be eligible to receive the dividend on 6 May subject to shareholder approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 28 April. The Directors are also giving shareholders the option to receive the dividend either in cash or by the issue of new shares at the attribution price of €2.18 per share.
  • Meanwhile, Lombard’s subsidiary company, MaltaPost plc maintained the €1.98 level across just 1,236 shares.
  • Medserv plc maintained the €1.645 level across 22,500 shares. The Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on Tuesday 22 March 2015 to consider and approve the financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2015.
  • MIDI plc (10,000 shares) and 6PM Holdings plc (5,583 shares) traded unchanged at €0.36 and GBP0.75 respectively. MIDI will publish its 2015 results on 28 March. The Board of Directors will also be considering the recommendation of a final dividend.

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