BOV & GO drag Index lower

Following two consecutive sessions of increases, the MSE Share Index dipped 0.2% to 3,679.298 points following reductions in the share prices of Bank of Valletta plc and GO plc.

The equity of BOV retreated by 1.8% during this morning’s session to €2.651 across seventeen deals totalling 41,919 shares. The equity will continue to trade with the entitlement to the 1 for 10 bonus issue until next Tuesday 14 January. Similarly, GO eased 0.3% lower to €1.85 on volumes of 11,000 shares. This morning GO replicated a Forthnet announcement on the results of the rights issue in which it explained that existing shareholders and persons who acquired pre-emption rights took up 97.88% of the shares on offer equivalent to 95,093,730 shares or €28,528,119. Demand was also high at the oversubscription process with shareholders requesting 118,735,714 shares against the remaining 2,050,845 shares on offer. As a result, the over-subscription applications were heavily scaled down and applicants were only allocated 1.73% of the amount requested. Following this rights issue, the share capital of Forthnet is now composed of 110,097,185 shares with a nominal value of €0.30 each. GO is shortly expected to confirm the number of shares taken up by Forgendo and the total amount of the loan being provided.

On the other hand, the equity of Malta International Airport plc moved 0.9% higher to yet another all-time high of €2.20 albeit on low volumes of 4,000 shares. The airport operator registered more than 4 million passenger movements during 2013 for the first time in its history. The growth in passenger numbers is expected to lead to an improvement in the Company’s financial performance.

Elsewhere in the financial sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc’s share price edged 0.6% to regain the €2.60 level across seven deals totalling 37,500 shares.

Similarly, FIMBank plc’s equity rose 1% to regain the US$0.97 level on a deal of 65,273 shares. This afternoon the trade finance specialist announced that its Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on 11 March to consider and approve the financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013.

Middlesea Insurance plc shares also moved higher with a 1.2% increase to the €0.911 level on a small trade of 600 shares. The only other positive performing equity was RS2 Software plc with a 0.4% increase to the €2.30 level on shallow volumes of 2,485 shares.

Meanwhile, no changes were registered in 3 other equities. The share price of Plaza Centres plc maintained the €0.60 level across 6,000 shares and Crimsonwing plc held on to the €0.84 level across 12,632 shares.  MaltaPost plc traded again at its all-time high of €1.15 on a deal of 2,380 shares.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index again remained practically unchanged at just above the 1,021 points level with Eurozone yields remaining close to the 1.90% level.

This afternoon, the European Central Bank announced that it kept its reference interest rate at the historically low level of 0.25%. Nonetheless, the Bank’s President Mr Mario Draghi reiterated his pledge to take further decisive action if needed as the Eurozone region is likely to experience a prolonged period of low inflation. Similarly, the Bank of England held interest rates at record lows but did not provide clear guidance on whether it will hold rates in the future or consider an increase given the recent improvements in the UK economy.