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  • The MSE Share Index closed virtually flat at 4,702.877 points today as the gains in four equities were offset by the declines in three others. Trading volumes remained weak as only €0.14 million worth of shares changed hands. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the RF MGS Index extended last Friday’s gains by a further 0.11% to a seven-day high of 1,126.197 points. Following the conclusion of the first round of the French Presidential election yesterday, the outcome of which will now lead to a two-week final run-off phase between the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and the far-right contender Marine Le Pen, the reaction on euro zone sovereign bond markets was mixed. On the one hand, the 10-year and 20-year benchmark German Bund yields rose sharply to 0.352% and 0.797% respectively from 0.244% and 0.683% last Friday. In contrast, the corresponding yields of the two largest peripheral countries – i.e. Spain and Italy – dropped notably. Last Friday, the international credit ratings agency Fitch downgraded Italy’s sovereign debt to “BBB”’ from “BBB+” citing concerns on the country’s weak economic growth, deviation from fiscal targets, issues with the banking sector, and political risks ahead of elections which are due in 2018. Meanwhile, the result of a fresh survey gauging current business climate and expectations for the next six months among German manufacturers, builders, wholesalers and retailers showed that confidence in April rose to its highest level since July 2011.
  • The most actively traded equity was Malta International Airport plc which lost 1% to the €4.15 level across 13,000 shares. The airport operator is due to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 May 2017.
  • In the property segment, MIDI plc dropped by 2.8% to its 2017 low of €0.31 across a single deal of just 5,000 shares. Last Thursday, MIDI revealed its financial performance for 2016. The Company reported a net loss of €2.52 million compared to a net profit of €9.92 million in 2015, reflecting the very few apartments which MIDI could deliver to their respective owners. Nonetheless, the Directors still recommended an unchanged final net dividend of €0.007 per share payable to shareholders as at the close of trading on Wednesday 17 May.
  • Malita Investments plc slipped 1.3% back to the €0.74 level on volumes totalling 45,000 shares. The Company will be holding its AGM on Thursday.
  • In contrast, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc climbed 0.7% to a new all-time high of €7.45 albeit on light volumes totalling 400 shares. The Board of Directors of Farsons is due to meet on 4 May 2017 to consider and approve the Group’s results for the financial year ended 31 January 2017. The Directors will also consider recommending the payment of a final dividend.
  • RS2 Software plc recaptured the €1.60 level (+1.3%) across 4,358 shares. Last week, the IT Group revealed its financial performance for 2016 showing a marked decline in profitability reflecting the Company’s strategy at focusing more on the managed services side of business whilst being very selective on licence sales. RS2 explained that it continues with its plans at expanding internationally and its business pipeline remains healthy. The Directors recommended a final net dividend of €0.01 per share (FY2015: €0.0158) payable to shareholders as at the close of trading on Wednesday 17 May.
  • In the retail-banking sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc and Lombard Bank Malta plc posted marginal gains to €2.062 and €2.411 respectively on shallow trading volumes. Lombard is due to hold its AGM on Thursday during which shareholders will also be presented with a number of Special Business Resolutions for consideration and approval.
  • Meanwhile, Bank of Valletta plc held on to its near 10-year high of €2.25 across a total of 10,308 shares. BOV’s Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on Thursday 27 April to consider and approve the Group’s financial statements for the interim period ended 31 March 2017.
  • Also among the large companies by market capitalisation, GO plc maintained the €3.45 level across 3,000 shares. GO is due to hold its AGM on 3 May 2017.
  • Similarly, the equity of MaltaPost plc also finished the day unchanged at the €2.05 level on insignificant volumes.

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