BOV slides to 5-month low

The share price of Bank of Valletta plc shed 3% to a fresh 5-month low of €2.25 on high volumes totalling 135,883 shares. Following this latest drop, the equity of BOV has slid 10% from its 2014 high of €2.50 reached in late January. The decline in the equity is possibly due to the adverse effects of the revised Banking Rule 09 on dividend payments as well as the heightened pressure on local banks to reduce interest rates on loans.

Similarly, HSBC Bank Malta plc eased by 0.4% back to the €2.43 level on lower volumes of 10,300 shares. HSBC also decline by 4.7% since it published its full-year results on 24 February which revealed a drop in profitability and the regulatory reduction in dividend due to the introduction of new clauses in Banking Rule 09.

GO plc also succumbed to further selling pressure as the equity slipped 0.6% to the €2.045 level across seven trades totalling 23,000 shares. The telecoms quad-play operator is scheduled to publish its full-year results next Tuesday 18 March.

These declines outweighed the 1.4% increase in the share price of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc to its all-time high of €3.00 on just 3,550 shares. The losses in GO and the large banks forced the MSE Share Index 0.8% lower to a 3-month low of 3,554.931 points.

Meanwhile, the other four active equities ended the session unchanged. RS2 Software plc recovered from an intra-day low of €2.36 to end the session unchanged at its all-time high of €2.39 on low volumes of 9,000 shares. This morning, RS2 issued a press release announcing the rollout of a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) in collaboration with FEXCO. Through the DCC platform, international visitors to Malta will now have the choice and convenience of paying for goods and services in their home currency.

Also in the IT sector, Crimsonwing plc held on to the €0.81 level across eight deals totalling 59,256 shares. Similarly, Malta International Airport plc held on to its all-time high of €2.20 on low volumes of 4,500 shares. Shallow volumes were also transacted in Lombard Bank Malta plc with 5,320 shares changing hands at the €1.77 level.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged minimally higher to 1,026.084 points as the benchmark 10-year Eurozone yields retreated to an almost 1-week low of 1.606% on rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia.