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  • A 2.8% increase by HSBC was the main contributor to the 0.5% uplift in the MSE Share Index to 3,447.197 points. However, the equity benchmark still closed the week 0.3% lower as the sharp decline in HSBC offset the positive performance by Malta International Airport plc, International Hotel Investments plc and three of the other smaller capitalised companies. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • The Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index gained 0.1% to a new record level of 1,133.312 points despite the uplift in the benchmark yields back to the 0.34%, possibly on the back of some risk appetite after the German parliament approved the extension of Greece’s bailout deal.
  • In the coming days, the Treasury is expected to publish the issue statistics and allocation policy for the recent Malta Government Stocks issue. Yesterday, the Treasury announced that it received a total of 11,701 applications for a total value of €443.2 million compared to the €180 million on offer.
  • HSBC Bank Malta plc gained 2.8% today to €1.87 thereby partially recovering from the losses in each of the four sessions held earlier this week following the publication of the FY2014 financial results on Monday morning. The equity ended the week as the worst performer with a decline of 7.4% after touching a fresh multi-year low of €1.80 yesterday. On Monday HSBC Malta reported a 42% decline in pre-tax profits to €52 million due to lower income, higher expenses as well as a steep rise in impairment charges. As a result, the total gross dividend in respect of the 2014 financial year also dropped by 48.1% to €0.071 per share. The Directors also recommended a 1-for-9 bonus issue to all shareholders as at the close of trading on 27 April 2015.
  • Lombard Bank Malta plc also ended today’s session in positive territory gaining 1.1% to close at the €1.92 level on a single trade of 999 shares. The Bank is expected to announce its FY2014 results on 9 March 2015.
  • Malta International Airport plc gained an additional 0.4% to another all-time high of €2.86, albeit on shallow volumes of just 3,302 shares. MIA was the star performer this week with a rise of 9.6% after the company announced that it generated a 15% increase in pre-tax profits to €26.1 million and the Directors recommended a final gross dividend of €0.1231 per share representing a 77.8% increase over last year’s final dividend. The total dividend declared in respect of the 2014 financial year amounts to a record €0.1693 per share (net: €0.11), an increase of 46.6% compared to the dividend distribution in respect of 2013. Shareholders as at the close of trading on 16 April will be eligible to receive the final dividend.
  • Loqus Holdings plc edged 0.8% higher to €0.121. On Tuesday, the ACL-listed company reported a 7% increase in revenue, which coupled with a 4% decline in operating costs, resulted in a 44% improvement in EBITDA to €0.17 million. However, after accounting for depreciation charges and finance costs, the company incurred a loss of €0.12 million, which nonetheless, is 13.1% lower than the loss for FY13.
  • Simonds Farsons Cisk plc maintained its all-time high of €3.20 level across 6,662 shares. Similarly, Plaza Centres plc held on to its multi-year high of €0.85 as a further 51,000 shares changed hands at this level ahead of the publication of the full-year results on 18 March. On the other hand, FIMBank plc closed again at its all-time low of USD0.49 on activity of 18,800 shares.
  • International Hotel Investments plc also ended the session unchanged at €0.65 on increased volumes of 31,165 shares.
  • Meanwhile, three other equities closed in negative territory. Bank of Valletta plc edged minimally lower to €2.119 on activity of 44,032 shares and Middlesea Insurance plc slipped 1% to the €1.01 level on a single deal of 2,000 shares. GO plc failed to maintain the €2.70 level and shed 0.9% to €2.675 on low volumes.

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