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  • The MSE Share Index dropped by a minimal 0.04% to the lowest level this month of 4,744.261 points as the declines in four equities slightly outweighed the gains registered in BOV (+0.9%) and IHI (+0.6%). Trading activity in equities remained strong as nearly €0.50 million worth of shares changed hands – the highest level in the last eleven trading sessions. Week-on-week, the local equity index moved lower for the first time in five weeks reflecting the weekly declines in seven equities whilst only IHI performed positively. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the RF MGS Index moved lower for the eight consecutive day today as it fell by a further 0.31% to an over two-year low of 1,110.593 points. Euro zone sovereign yields gained further ground today (bond prices fell) following yesterday’s decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) to leave its monetary policy unchanged but at the same time increased its growth and inflation forecasts for 2017 and 2018. Indeed, the ECB is now expecting GDP growth of 1.8% and 1.7% in 2017 and 2018 respectively from an earlier forecast of +1.7% and +1.6%. Likewise, the ECB sounded more upbeat in its inflationary forecasts as it is now anticipating an inflation rate of +1.7% this year and +1.6% in 2018 – up from +1.3% and +1.5% respectively as previously forecasted in December 2016. During his customary press conference following the conclusion of the ECB Governing Council meeting, ECB President Mario Draghi suggested that it has now become less necessary for the Central Bank to continue sustaining the single currency economy through all monetary means possible “because the sense of urgency is not there.” The 10-year and 20-year benchmark German Bund yields surged to an intra-day high of nearly 0.46% and 1.0% respectively from 0.38% and 0.92% yesterday.
  • The worst performing equity today was MIDI plc which reversed the 5.5% gain registered last Monday and fell back to the €0.33 level (-5.2%) on two deals totalling 40,087 shares.
  • Also in the property segment, Malta Properties Company plc lost 4.9% to the €0.52 level across 29,200 shares. The Company is due to reveal its 2016 financial results on 21 March 2017.
  • Medserv plc retreated 3.0% to the €1.60 level across 20,000 shares. The oil and gas logistics specialist is due to publish its 2016 financial results on 5 April 2017.
  • A single deal of just 2,756 shares dragged the equity of Lombard Bank Malta plc 2.9% lower from its twelve-month high of €2.39 to the €2.32 level. Yesterday, Lombard revealed its 2016 financial results showing an 11.4% drop in adjusted pre-tax profits to €6.95 million (FY2015: €7.84 million). The Directors recommended an unchanged net dividend of €0.026 per share to all shareholders as at close of trading on 24 March 2017. The dividend is payable on 5 May 2017 subject to shareholders’ approval during the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 27 April 2017.
  • Within the same sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc maintained the €2.08 level on heightened activity totalling 71,306 shares. As from next Monday, the equity starts trading without entitlement to the final net dividend of €0.027 per share.
  • RS2 Software plc also closed flat at the €1.65 level across 3,005 shares.
  • Meanwhile, Bank of Valletta plc recaptured its nine-year high of €2.21 after recovering from an intra-day low of €2.17 (-0.9%). A total of 119,446 shares changed hands – representing just over half of the total value of equities traded today.
  • International Hotel Investments plc opened 2.5% lower at the €0.62 level but managed to close 0.6% above its previous close at €0.64. A total of 26,800 shares traded.
  • Yesterday, Plaza Centres plc revealed its 2016 financial results showing a 3.5% jump in pre-tax profits to €1.65 million on the back of the contribution from the recently acquired Tigne’ Place as from September 2016 as well as growth registered from the Plaza Centre. The Directors recommended a net dividend of €0.0294 per share which is 2.8% higher than the dividend for FY2015. The dividend will be paid on Tuesday 6 June 2017 to shareholders as at close of trading on Wednesday 26 April 2017 subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday 31 May 2017. The equity remained inactive today.

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