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  • The MSE Share Index shed 0.37% today as it slumped to a fresh 5-month low of 4,676.260 points mainly due to the declines in HSBC, IHI, GO, RS2 and Lombard. A further two equities trended lower today whilst Tigne Mall edged higher. Meanwhile, another four equities, including BOV, ended today’s session unchanged. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the RF MGS Index rebounded by 0.2% from its four-week low of yesterday to 1,121.712 points. Euro zone sovereign yields dropped notably (bond prices gained) following the conclusion of yesterday’s European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council monetary policy meeting. Despite an improved economic background, the ECB noted that it “continues to expect the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases“. On the economic front, in France, GDP growth in the first quarter of this year slowed down when compared to the previous corresponding period whilst inflation data was in line with expectations. In Italy and Germany, inflationary data was positive whilst GDP growth in Spain was equally upbeat. Within the whole single currency economy, core inflation (i.e. excluding volatile items like food, energy, alcohol and tobacco) surged to a near four-year high of +1.2% year-on-year.
  • HSBC Bank Malta plc eased 0.5% lower today to close at the €2.05 level on shallow volumes of 5,503 shares.
  • Similarly, International Hotel Investments plc retreated by 1.4% back to the €0.64 level on just 4,500 shares. This afternoon, IHI published its 2016 financial statements revealing a 20.2% rise in EBITDA to €53 million when including the 50% share of EBITDA generated by the two hotels held jointly with third parties (the Corinthia Hotel London and the Radisson Golden Sands Resort). However, the overall net loss amounted to €7.66 million due to the €19.7 million reduction in the fair value of investment properties as well as increased depreciation. The Directors recommended a 3 for 100 bonus share issue to all shareholders as at the close of trading on 27 June 2017. The Directors also noted that from the 2017 financial year, the results of the Corinthia Hotel London will be consolidated with the Group’s results.
  • RS2 Software plc dropped by 2.6% to a new 6-month low of €1.50 across six deals totalling 47,278 shares.
  • Amongst the large equities by market capitalisation, GO plc also retreated by 0.3% back to the €3.489 level on a single deal of 13,000 shares. GO plc is scheduled to hold its Annual General Meeting next Wednesday 3 May.
  • Lombard Bank Malta plc eased by 0.5% back to the €2.40 level on volumes of 27,800 shares. Yesterday, the Bank held its Annual General Meeting during which shareholders approved all the ordinary business resolutions including the payment of a net dividend of €0.026 which will now be paid on Friday 5 May. On the other hand, the resolutions relating to the acquisition of own shares, withdrawal of pre-emption rights and the authority to issue shares were not carried. However, the Board received approval with respect to the authority to disclose information in the sale process of the Cyprus Popular Bank’s stake.
  • In the property segment, Plaza Centres plc shed 3.6% back to the €1.06 level across 37,000 shares as it traded for the first time since turning ex-dividend. Similarly, Malta Properties Company plc eased 0.6% lower back to the €0.517 level on volumes of 58,700 shares.
  • On the other hand, Tigné Mall plc advanced by 3.9% to recapture the €1.10 level albeit on low trading activity of 1,200 shares.
  • Meanwhile, Bank of Valletta plc closed today’s session unchanged after failing to hold on to yet another 10-year high of €2.27 across fifteen trades totalling 60,552 shares. Yesterday afternoon, Bank of Valletta plc published its interim results covering the six months ended 31 March 2017. The Bank reported an 8.1% increase in pre-tax profits to just over €74 million as the €5.3 million net reversal of impairments (as opposed to a charge of €8.1 million in the previous comparable period) and the surge in share profits from associate companies to €8.9 million offset the 8.3% decline in total operating income to €123.2 million and the 8.5% increase in non-interest expenses to €63.4 million. The Directors also declared a net interim gross dividend of €0.045 per share (net: €0.0293) representing a 24% increase over the previous interim dividend. Nonetheless, the Directors noted that within a 12-month period the Bank will be seeking to raise €150 million in fresh equity capital.
  • GlobalCapital plc continued to trade at its  all-time low of €0.30 as a further 456,050 shares changed hands.
  • Malta International Airport plc also ended today’s session unchanged at the €4.15 level on volumes of 10,479 shares.
  • The only other active equity was MIDI plc as a deal of 10,000 shares was executed at the €0.30 level, representing no change from the previous closing price.

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