Higher volumes in last session of the week

During the last trading session of this week, higher volumes were registered across local equities with €0.29 million worth of shares changing hands today representing almost 30% of this week’s total trading activity amounting to just over €1 million. Nonetheless, the total weekly volumes represent a 32% decline from last week’s high activity of €1.5 million.

Trading during this morning’s session was focused on the property-related equities of Plaza Centres plc and MIDI plc. A single trade of 127,900 Plaza shares was transacted at the €0.56 level representing no change over the previous close but reflecting a 1.8% increase over the week. A total of 150,000 MIDI shares traded today as the share price continued to marginally recover from its all-time lows with another 1.8% increase to the €0.285 level.

Higher volumes were also registered in two IT equities. RS2 Software plc advanced by 1.2% to close at a new all-time high of €0.86 on volumes of 52,512 shares. Meanwhile, Crimsonwing plc failed to hold on to the €0.55 level as it eased 1.8% lower back to the €0.54 level across 39,650 shares.

GO plc’s equity recovered from an intra-day low of €1.27 to close the week at a new 17-month high of €1.295 representing a 0.4% rise over the previous close. A total of 7,200 shares changed hands across four trades.

In the banking sector, Bank of Valletta plc’s share price eased minimally lower to €2.259 across thirteen trades totalling 13,328 shares. Meanwhile, HSBC Bank Malta plc reversed the previous day’s decline with a 0.8% rise to the €2.70 level across two trades totalling 11,000 shares. The same number of shares was transacted in Lombard Bank Malta plc as the equity held on to the €1.86 level. HSBC and Lombard will be publishing their preliminary 2012 full-year results on 4 and 14 March respectively.

FIMBank plc shares edged 1% higher to regain the US$1.02 level across three trades totalling 9,700 shares ahead of next week’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). During Thursday’s meeting shareholders will be asked to approve a joint-offer by Burgan Bank and United Gulf Bank (UGB) which will ultimately lead the two entities to acquire a combined controlling stake in FIMBank. In turn, the newly injected capital as well as the higher rating of the two new large shareholders will enable FIMBank to expand its operations by engaging in higher value transactions and enter new markets.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index retreated by 0.1% to 1,010.580 points as the benchmark 10-year German Bund yields shot up to above the 1.6% level after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that banks in the region have opted for an early repayment of €137 billion in 3-year loans which were part of the Bank’s refinancing operations in the midst of the crisis. This reduced the demand for ‘safe-haven’ assets in favour of riskier sovereign assets.