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  • The MSE Share Index retreated by 0.11% to 4,747.818 points from yesterday’s nine-year high of 4,752.876 points as the declines in the share prices of IHI (-1.5%), GO (-1.4%) and MIA (-1.2%) slightly outweighed the gains registered in Lombard (+4.9%), Malta Properties (+1.0%) and HSBC (+0.7%). Meanwhile, a further three equities closed the day unchanged. The total value of equities traded jumped remarkably to over €0.61 million – the highest in the last seven trading sessions. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, following the declines of the previous two days, the RF MGS Index rebounded by 0.16% to 1,121.582 points. While the 10-year benchmark German Bund yield remained under pressure below the 0.30% level, the yields on the equivalent Spanish and Italian government bonds advanced to 1.702% and 2.250% respectively from 1.679% and 2.243% yesterday. Meanwhile in the US, minutes of the last policy meeting of the Federal Reserve released yesterday showed the Fed’s willingness to raise interest rates again “fairly soon” should jobs and inflation data come in line with expectations. The minutes however also underlined the Fed’s uncertainty on the economic and fiscal programme to be adopted by the newly-elect President Donald Trump.
  • Trading in the three newly issued Malta Government Stocks is expected to commence tomorrow.
  • After Malta International Airport plc published its 2016 annual financial statements yesterday afternoon, the equity slipped by 1.2% from its four-month high of €4.25 to the €4.20 level across six deals totalling 25,983 shares. MIA reported a record profit after tax of nearly €21.0 million – representing an 8.9% increase over the previous year’s figure. The Directors recommended an unchanged final net dividend of €0.07 per share, payable to all shareholders as at the close of trading on Thursday 6 April 2017 subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 10 May 2017.
  • Also among the large companies, a single deal of just 5,000 shares dragged the equity of GO plc 1.4% lower to the €3.55 level. On Tuesday, the telecoms Group revealed its 2016 financial results showing an improved EBITDA of €61.6 million (+19.4%) but profits after tax dropped by 23.2% to €20.3 million. Nonetheless, the Directors recommended a final net dividend of €0.11 per share which is 10% higher than the net dividend for FY2015. The dividend is payable on 5 May 2017 to all shareholders as at close of trading on Wednesday 29 March 2017.
  • International Hotel Investments plc moved back to the €0.64 level (-1.5%) across 55,645 shares.
  • Bank of Valletta plc was the most actively traded equity today with a total of 61,658 shares changing hands. The share price closed unchanged at the €2.19 level after hitting an intra-day high of €2.198 (+0.4%) and a low of €2.185 (-0.2%).
  • RS2 Software plc also managed to finish the day flat at the €1.699 level after recovering from an intra-day low of €1.60 (-5.8%). A total of 27,791 shares changed hands.
  • Similarly, Plaza Centres plc opened 1.8% lower at €1.08 but managed to close unchanged at €1.10 across 48,000 shares. Plaza’s 2016 annual financial statements will be published on 9 March.
  • In contrast, Malta Properties Company plc gained 1.0% to the €0.521 level on volumes totalling 64,000 shares.
  • Lombard Bank Malta plc climbed 4.9% to a one-year high of €2.35 across 40,200 shares. The Bank is also due to publish its 2016 financial results on 9 March 2017.
  • Within the same sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc advanced 0.7% to the €2.045 level after touching an intra-day high of €2.058 (+1.3%). A total of 44,466 shares traded. On Tuesday, HSBC published its 2016 financial results which, on an adjusted basis, show that pre-tax profits fell by 3.3% to €59.4 million. The Board of Directors recommend a final net dividend of €0.027 per share. Together with the net interim dividend of €0.0462 per share paid on 9 September 2016, the total net dividend for 2016 amounts to €0.0728 per share, representing a 45.5% increase compared to the dividend declared with respect to 2015. Shareholders as at the close of trading on 10 March 2017 will be eligible to receive the final dividend of €0.027 per share on 20 April 2017 subject to shareholder approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 13 April 2017.
  • Yesterday, Eden Finance plc announced that it has submitted an application to the Listing Authority in connection with a new €35 million unsecured bond maturing in 2027. The Directors also resolved to redeem the outstanding €13.98 million 6.6% bond on 16 June 2017, being the first early redemption date. The announcement further explained that the Issuer will be granting preference to holders of existing bonds as at the close of trading on 23 March 2017 to subscribe to the new bonds. Trading in the existing bonds will be suspended as from 24 March 2017.

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