HSBC’s share price down 2.8% as it turns ex-dividend

The equity of HSBC Bank Malta plc turned ex-dividend as from today and the share price dropped 2.8% to the €2.80 level across four trades totalling 18,700 shares. The net interim dividend of €0.065 per share will now be paid on 22 August.

Elsewhere, 3 other equities were active. A single deal of 4,000 GO plc shares was executed at the €1.02 level representing a 2% drop from the previous close. Last Saturday GO plc announced that the during the Forthnet Extraordinary General Meeting held the day before, shareholders requested to postpone the discussion on the agenda items to Thursday 23 August. Forthnet is seeking shareholders’ approval in respect of a number of changes to the Company’s capital structure as well as a minimum €30 million increase in its share capital.

Meanwhile Bank of Valletta plc failed to hold on to an intra-day high of €2.13 closing unchanged at the €2.11 level on volumes 4,885 shares. Similarly, Plaza Centres plc shares ended this morning’s unchanged at the €0.55 level on volumes of 1,500 shares.

Following last week’s 1.3% drop, the MSE Share Index shed a further 1% today to close at a 3-week low of 3,056.946 points.

This afternoon, 6pm Holdings plc published its half-year results covering the six months ended 30 June. The 6pm Group reported a turnaround in performance with net profit of GBP184,883 (June 2011: loss of GBP343,314) mainly reflecting the 82.4% increase in revenue to GBP3.89 million on the back of increased sales of the Group’s health-related products across the UK National Health Service. Moreover, the Group is benefitting from cost savings following the opening of a Macedonian subsidiary as from September 2011. The Directors did not declare an interim dividend but stated that if the positive trend reported in the first half of the year will continue during the remainder of 2012, the Directors will consider re-instating a final dividend after a four-year absence.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index eased marginally lower as the reduction in the bid prices of the longer-term bonds by the Central Bank of Malta outweighed the marginal increases in the bid prices of the short to medium term stocks. The downward revision of the longer-term prices reflects last Friday afternoon’s rally which pushed benchmark Eurozone yields to around 1.40%, a level which was also maintained today, following positive economic data in the U.S. as well as the European Central Bank’s (ECB) plan to support sovereign debt markets in cooperation the region’s bailout funds. The ECB explained that it will buy bonds of troubled states which request a bailout and accept strict supervision over their finances.