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  • The MSE Share Index halted a five-day positive streak today as it declined by 0.27% to 4,528.307 points, mainly due to the drop in the share price of MIA. Trading volumes rebounded as nearly €553,500 worth of shares changed hands. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the RF MGS Index extended yesterday’s uplift by a further 0.05% to 1,140.172 points as eurozone bond yields fell further following downbeat inflationary data. Indeed, the Single Currency’s long-term inflation expectations fell to record lows, fuelling bets on more monetary policy easing by the European Central Bank at its next policy meeting to be held on 10 March.
  • The Treasury announced that subscriptions from the General Public for the two new Malta Government Stocks – i.e. the 1.50% MGS 2022 (IV) and the 2.50% MGS 2036 – was in the region of €200 million, thus exceeding the total amount of offer. As a result, the auction for institutional investors has been cancelled. The Treasury announced that in order to meet the investment needs of institutional investors, in the coming weeks it will be launching an MGS issue by auction only.
  • The market reacted negatively to the publication of the 2015 financial statements of Malta International Airport plc yesterday evening. The share price dropped 8.9% to an intra-day low of €4.30 before partially recovering to the €4.50 level, which still represents a decline of 4.7% over yesterday’s close. Total trading activity amounted to 33,650 shares. During 2015, MIA reported a 14.3% growth in pre-tax profits to a new record of €29.8 million (2014: €26.1 million). The Directors are recommending a final gross dividend of €0.107692 per share (2014: €0.1231), representing a 12.5% decrease over last year’s final dividend. The total gross dividend in respect of the 2015 financial year amounts to €0.153846 per share (2014: €0.1693). Shareholders as at the close of trading on 30 March will be eligible to receive the final dividend. This will be payable by 19 May following shareholders’ approval at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 4 May.
  • In the banking sector, Bank of Valletta plc and HSBC Bank Malta plc both registered marginal declines. BOV retreated to the €2.211 level (-0.3%) across 61,752 shares. Last Friday, the Bank announced the issuance of €50 million 3.5% Tranche 2 subordinated bonds 2030 at par (100%) forming part of its Debt Issuance Programme launched in October 2015.
  • Likewise, HSBC Bank Malta plc shed 0.1% to the €1.639 level across 30,436 shares. On Monday, HSBC announced their 2015 financial results, which showed an improved adjusted (i.e. excluding the effect of the non-recurring item pertaining to the early voluntary retirement scheme) profit before tax of €61.5 million. The Board of Directors is recommending a final gross dividend of €0.026 per share (€0.017 net), which together with the €0.051 gross interim dividend paid in September 2015, results in a total gross dividend for the year of €0.077 per share (€0.05 net) – representing a 20% increase compared to the 2014 adjusted dividend. Shareholders as at the close of trading on 14 March will be eligible to receive the final dividend on 19 April subject to shareholder approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting to be held on 15 April 2016.
  • On the other hand, Lombard Bank Malta plc maintained the €2.20 level across 12,654 shares. Lombard will be announcing its 2015 financial results on 10 March.
  • Similarly, MIDI plc closed flat at the €0.35 level across heightened activity totalling 235,000 shares. The Company will publish its 2015 results on 28 March. The Board of Directors will also be considering the recommendation of a final dividend.
  • Meanwhile, four equities closed today’s trading session in positive territory. FIMBank plc regained the €0.64 level (+0.8%) across 40,000 shares. The trade finance specialist will update the market with its 2015 financial performance on 15 March.
  • RS2 Software plc advanced by a further 0.5% to yet another all-time high of €3.634 across 19,150 shares.
  • Medserv plc and Mapfre Middlesea plc also trended higher as they closed at €1.65 (+0.1%) and €2.59 (+2.8%) respectively on light volumes. On Tuesday, the oil and gas logistics services company announced that it has now concluded the purchase of the entire issued share capital of METS UAE and METS Oman as well as the 90% shareholding of METS Iraq (collectively known as the “METS Group”). As opposed to what was stated in the previous communications to the market, the consideration price for the above transactions has been reduced to USD45 million, reflecting the 10% shareholding of METS Iraq that was retained by Jarrett Asset Holdings Corporation.


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