HSBC helps MSE Share Index close higher

Similar to last Friday, the increase in the share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc lifted the MSE Share Index into positive territory with a further 0.2% rise to 2,995.911 points. Following last week’s 0.4% gain, HSBC’s share price edged another 0.8% higher today to regain the €2.58 level across two trades totalling 2,300 shares. The Bank is scheduled to publish its 2011 full-year results next Friday 24 February.

Meanwhile Bank of Valletta plc traded unchanged today at the €2.17 level on volumes of 6,485 shares. Likewise, MaltaPost plc maintained the €0.95 level on a small deal of 836 shares. However offers have already been placed lower at the €0.939 level possibly in reaction to last week’s warning by the Directors of the postal operator that profitability during the first six months to 31 March of the current financial year will be lower than that registered in the previous comparable period.

The only other active equity, GO plc slid 0.2% to yet another new all-time low of €0.83 across two trades totalling 13,000 shares. GO’s share price slumped by 49.4% in 2011 and has declined by a further 15.3% since the start of 2012 as investors shun the equity due to the continued uncertainty surrounding its investment in the Greek telecommunications group Forthnet.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index slid 0.2% lower today in line with the rise in yields towards the 1.95% level on the back of renewed optimism that EU leaders will reach an agreement on Greece’s second bailout amounting to €130 billion.

High volumes traded in the 6.75% Corinthia Finance plc 2012 with over €185,000 (nominal) changing hands during this morning’s session. This bond is due for redemption on 8 April 2012. In anticipation of this redemption, Corinthia Finance last week announced the submission of an application to the Listing Authority with respect to an issue of a new €7.5 million bond maturing between 2019 and 2022. The proceeds of this new bond will be used to partly fund the redemption of the aforementioned maturing bond.

Furthermore, the Malta Stock Exchange this morning announced that the retail tranches of the recently issued Malta Government Stocks have been admitted to the Official List with effect from today and trading is expected to commence as from tomorrow, 21 February.