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  • The MSE Share Index edged 0.1% higher to 3,672.138 points on the back of a 3.6% rise in the share price of HSBC as well as increases in Farsons and Plaza. On the other hand, BOV, Lombard, Middlesea, FIMBank and GO trended lower. Download a copy of the Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the benchmark 10-year Eurozone yields continued to trade within a tight range around the 1.68% level with the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index remaining practically unchanged at 1,025 points.
  • The equity of HSBC experienced a volatile session as it initially slipped 4% lower to €2.40 (its lowest level since late April 2009) before new bids emerged helping the equity to rebound and regain the €2.59 level representing a 3.6% increase over yesterday’s closing price. Just over 35,000 shares changed hands today with few offers outstanding at the closing price and highest bids pitched at the €2.55 level. Yesterday, the HSBC Malta Group published its 2013 financial statements revealing a 5.1% drop in pre-tax profits to €90.5 million largely due to the continued pressure on interest margin as well as lower investment returns from the life assurance subsidiary. These were only partially offset by lower costs and impairments. The final gross dividend was lowered by 34.2% to €0.052 per share following the decline in profits as well as amendments to the MFSA Banking Rule 09 which requires banks to create a reserve against non-performing loans from the declared dividend distribution. Shareholders as at close of trading on 12 March will be eligible for the final dividend. The Directors also recommended a 1 for 9 bonus issue to all shareholders as at the close of trading on 24 April 2014. 
  • On the other hand, BOV shed 2.4% to drop back to the €2.40 level on volumes of 31,300 shares. Next month marks the Bank’s half-year end with the interim results generally published by the end of April.
  • Similarly, the share price of Lombard dropped 2.7% to €1.80 on a small deal of 300 shares.
  • A single trade of 5,645 shares was also executed in FIMBank at the US$0.898 level representing a 0.2% drop from the previous closing price.
  • Also in the financial sector, Middlesea Insurance retreated by 4% back to the €0.90 level on low volumes of 2,000 shares.
  • Elsewhere in the secondary market, GO edged 0.1% lower to €2.109 on low volumes of 2,400 shares.
  • Meanwhile, the share price of Simonds Farsons Cisk rebounded by 1% to regain the €2.98 level across 23,000 shares.
  • Plaza Centres also performed positively with a 5.3% rise to regain the €0.60 level on a deal of 2,700 shares.
  • Later on today, Malita Investments should be publishing its 2013 annual financial statements.

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