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  • The MSE Share Index trended higher for the second consecutive session with a further 0.4% increase to yet another 8-month high of 3,426.205 points as various large caps advanced. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index moved into negative territory for the first time in the last nine days. The local MGS benchmark slipped by 0.2% to the 1,112.921 points as the benchmark 10-year Eurozone yields surged to around the 0.57% level ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) monetary policy meeting. This afternoon, the ECB announced that it kept its interest rate a historic low of 0.05% but launched an extended asset purchase programme in a further bid to stimulate the region’s economy. The ECB is planning to buy €60 billion worth of European government bonds per month from March 2015 until September 2016. The ECB will be adopting a risk sharing strategy in respect of 20% of these purchased bonds whilst national central banks will retain 80% of the risk.
  • Most notably, the share price of International Hotel Investments plc added a further 4.8% to close the session at the €0.65 level for the first time since 26 August 2014. IHI’s share price has risen by 14% since last Friday’s announcement revealing its plans to acquire Island Hotels Group Holdings plc. The latter’s equity rallied by 16.5% on Monday to regain the €0.99 level but has since remained inactive with no sellers in sight.
  • Also amongst the large cap equities, HSBC Bank Malta plc also edged 1% higher to recapture the €2.03 level albeit on very shallow volumes of 2,000 shares. HSBC will be publishing its full-year results on 23 February.
  • Marginal activity was also recorded in Malta International Airport plc but the still moved 0.4% higher to a fresh all-time high of €2.45 on just 1,227 shares. MIA is expected to publish its 2014 passenger numbers and the forecast for 2015 shortly. In the meantime, yesterday afternoon, the airport operator announced that it has appointed Alan Borg as CEO ‘ad interim’ in replacement of Markus Klaushofer.
  • The only other positive performer was MaltaPost plc as the equity inched closer to its all-time high of €1.25 with a 1.1% increase to regain the €1.225 on volumes of just over 2,000 shares. The postal operator is scheduled to pay out, either in cash or in the form of new shares, the recently approved net dividend of €0.04 per share on Friday 30 January.
  • On the other hand, the share price of Bank of Valletta plc slipped lower for the third consecutive session with a further 0.9% drop back to the €2.07 level across nineteen trades totalling 28,827 shares.
  • Similarly, the share price of Middlesea Insurance plc shed 5% back to the €0.95 level on a small deal of 576 shares.
  • Meanwhile, no changes was recorded in the share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc at the €1.81 level after the equity managed to recover from an intra-day low of €1.80 across a total of 13,878 shares.

 

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