Index drops from multi-year high as HSBC trades ex-div

Following four consecutive sessions of gains, the MSE Share Index slid 1% lower from yesterday’s multi-year high to close today’s session at 3,484.728 points. Most of the active equities dropped during this morning’s trading session.

The share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc shed 2.2% to €2.69 as the equity turned ex-dividend. Almost 16,900 shares changed hands today with the dividend now scheduled to be paid on 5 September.

Also in the banking sector, Bank of Valletta plc retreated by 1.2% from its two and a half-year high to €2.42 across six deals totalling 19,114 shares. Similarly, FIMBank plc shed 4.5% to drop back to the US$0.955 level on a deal of 1,767 shares. The trade finance specialist is expected to publish its half-year results later on this afternoon.

Malta International Airport plc shares also eased on the last day the equity traded with the entitlement to the net interim dividend of €0.03 per share. MIA’s share price eased minimally lower to €2.019 across four deals totalling 28,000 shares. The equity turns ex-dividend as from tomorrow.

On the other hand, GO plc edged 1.5% higher to regain the €1.645 level on low volumes of 4,000 shares. The telecoms quad-play operator this morning published its 2013 half-year results revealing a lower net profit for the period of €5.4 million on the back of competitive and regulatory pressure on ‘Average Revenue per User’ (ARPU) levels. The directors did not declare an interim dividend. With respect to their investment in Forthnet, GO stated that while this was completely written off in its financial statements, this investment remains on the agenda and is constantly being monitored. GO also explained that it is closely following recent events which highlight the strategic importance of Forthnet within the Greek telecommunications market.

Similarly, MaltaPost plc edged 0.5% higher to regain the €1.015 level across 7,610 shares.

Meanwhile, no change was registered in the share price of RS2 Software plc as a further 30,604 shares changed hands at the equity’s all-time high of €1.40. Likewise, Island Hotels Group Holdings plc maintained the €0.65 level across five trades totalling 54,000 shares.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index dropped for the third successive session with a further 0.1% decline to 1,024.095 points in line with the continued rise in Eurozone yields to the 1.79% level – a new 7-week high. The upturn follows the publication of data indicating a better-than-expected improvement in German economic sentiment.