Bank share prices extend downward trend

The share prices of the three local banks slipped for the second consecutive session possibly in view of the more stringent regulations expected to be implemented during 2013. The Governor of the Central Bank of Malta also recently argued that local banks should consider increasing their loan provisioning and bolster their capital base which in turn could lead to lower dividend payments in the future.

HSBC Bank Malta plc shed 1.9% closing at €2.601 on volumes of 3,870 shares and Bank of Valletta plc retreated by 0.6% to €2.285 on volumes of 18,188 shares. The equity of Lombard Bank Malta plc registered a further 2.7% drop to end the week as the worst performer at a new all-time low of €1.80 across 5,200 shares.

On the other hand, FIMBank plc edged 1% higher to regain the US$1.01 level across seven deals totalling 57,546 shares. The trade finance specialist yesterday held its Annual General Meeting during which shareholders approved all the items on the agenda including the final dividend of US$0.0568 per share which will now be paid on 16 May.

The equity of International Hotel Investments plc also moved 2.4% higher to close at a new 2013 high of €0.85 across 16,000 shares.

Meanwhile, lower volumes were registered in the equities of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc and Medserv plc. The share price of Farsons moved 0.8% higher to €2.56 on a trade of 1,167 shares and Medserv’s equity edged 0.3% higher to the €3.95 level on a small deal of 115 shares.

No change was registered in the share price of GO plc as 500 shares traded at the €1.59 level. Similarly, Malita Investments plc maintained the €0.50 level on a trade of 10,000 shares and MaltaPost plc continued to trade at the €1.05 level on volumes of just over 3,000 shares.

A single deal of 2,000 Island Hotels Group Holdings plc was also executed during this morning’s session at the €0.60 level, unchanged from the previous close.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index reached yet another all-time high of 1,025.288 points reflecting the downward pressure on Eurozone yields following the interest rate cut announced by the European Central Bank yesterday. A number of long-term Malta Government Stocks reached new record levels.