The MSE Share Index retreated by a further 0.5% to 4,416.410 points as the gains in HSBC failed to outweigh the negative performance of five other equities. Trading volumes increased considerably from yesterday’s levels amid high activity in the equities of Medserv and MIA. In total, €634,000 worth of shares changed hands. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.

On the bond market, the RF MGS Index slipped 0.28% to 1,136.207 points as the benchmark 10-year German Bund yield advanced from yesterday’s level of 0.56% to 0.60%, despite a deteriorating inflationary outlook for the eurozone. In fact, long-term inflation expectations fell to the lowest level since October, mainly due to the sharp fall in the price of oil, which hit an 11-year low.

Trading in the recently-listed 3.5% BOV 2030 Subordinated bonds commenced today, with the Series 1 issue jumping to the 105% level. No trading activity took place in the Series 2 issue.

Following yesterday’s 6.3% decline, the equity of Medserv plc experienced a very volatile session. The equity closed 10.3% lower at the €1.75 level across 51,002 shares after twice touching an intra-day low of €1.65. On Monday, the oil and gas logistics specialist announced that it was been granted approval by the Listing Authority for a €30 million unsecured bond issue due in 2026 (in a combination of USD bonds at a coupon of 5.75% and EUR bonds at a coupon of 4.5%) as well as a €15 million rights issue at a price of €1.50 each. Indeed, shareholders as at close of trading today will be entitled to the rights issue of 2 new shares for every 9 shares held. Medserv will be using these funds to acquire the METS Group.

The equity of MaltaPost plc also performed negatively on high trading volumes totalling 110,000 shares at the €1.80 level, representing an 8.6% decline from the previous closing price. The postal operator will be holding its Annual General Meeting on 15 January 2016.

On the other hand, low trading activity took place in the equities of International Hotel Investments plc (-1.3% to €0.77) and RS2 Software plc (-0.3% to €3.16).

The equity of Bank of Valletta plc closed marginally lower at the €2.30 level after touching an intra-day high of €2.33. A total of 21,594 shares changed hands today.

Also in the banking sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc was the only positive performer of the day as the equity advanced by 0.6% to the €1.76 level across 27,443 shares. This week, the Bank issued a clarification regarding its recently announced cost reduction programme. In fact, HSBC confirmed that it is still reviewing the applications received from its employees for early voluntary retirement and that no decisions have been taken yet. The Bank will be making an announcement on the matter with all the relevant facts in due course according to its market listing obligations.

Meanwhile, the equities of Malta International Airport plc and Mapfre Middlesea plc closed flat at the €4.00 and €2.30 levels respectively. Following yesterday’s surge in trading volumes, substantial trading took place once again in the equity of MIA, as 59,410 shares were negotiated for a total of €237,600. On Monday, the airport operator announced that it is expecting a record 4.6 million passengers during the whole of 2015 (+7.3% compared to 2014). MIA also revealed plans for a €78 million capital investment programme comprising a number of rehabilitation and upgrade initiatives on the airfield side, embellishments and expansion of the terminal building as well as a €40 million business centre (branded SkyParks 2). Moreover, this morning the local media reported that Etihad Airways is shortly expected to acquire a significant stake in Air Malta plc – MIA’s largest client.

The Malta Stock Exchange opens for business again on Monday 28 February.

Best wishes to all!

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