MSE Share Index at new multi-year high

The MSE Share Index closed higher for the ninth time in the past ten trading sessions. The local equity benchmark jumped a further 0.4% this morning to reach yet another two-and-a-half year high of 3,550.496 points as most of the active equities gained amid increased trading activity.

Trading in Bank of Valletta plc shares accounted for 54.7% of the €0.63 million worth of shares exchanged during this morning’s session. BOV’s share price moved 1.1% higher to a fresh five-and-a-half year high of €2.68 on the last day investors could gain entitlement to the final gross dividend of €0.13 per share. BOV’s total market cap now exceeds €800 million. A total of 129,427 shares changed hands today across 36 deals with the equity turning ex-dividend as from tomorrow. The final dividend will now be paid on 20 December subject to shareholders’ approval during the Bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled to be held on 19 December.

HSBC Bank Malta plc edged 0.3% higher to the €2.66 level across seven deals totalling 38,640 shares. The Bank is shortly expected to publish its Interim Directors’ Statement.

GO plc’s share price also advanced by 0.6% to regain the €1.57 level on volumes of 30,180 shares. Likewise, RS2 Software plc inched 0.2% higher to the €2.285 level (just €0.015 below its all-time high of €2.30) across 11,766 shares.

The equity of Tigné Mall plc also performed positively with a 1% increase to €0.505 on high volumes of 121,000 shares. Yesterday the Company announced that it continues to perform in line with expectations as the complex remained fully let out and experienced an increase in visitor footfall over the corresponding period last year.

The only other positive performing equity was MaltaPost plc with a 1.8% increase to a fresh all-time high of €1.11 on a single deal of 5,000 shares. The postal operator is scheduled to publish its full-year results on 6 December.

On the other hand, Lombard Bank Malta plc slid 1.5% lower to €1.87 on low volumes of 4,734 shares. Similarly, the share price of Malita Investments plc eased minimally lower to €0.532 on volumes of 10,000 shares.

Meanwhile, no change was registered in the share price Simonds Farsons Cisk plc as 4,950 shares changed hands at the €2.85 level.

Likewise, Malta International Airport plc ended the session unchanged at the €2.10 level on low volumes of 6,200 shares. This morning, the airport operator published its Interim Directors’ Statement highlighting that passenger movements during the first ten months of 2013 increased by 9.9% over the same period last year. Furthermore, the Company also expects improved traffic results for the final two months of the year. MIA expects to register in excess of 3.9 million passengers for the whole of 2013, a new all-time record high and representing a growth rate of at least 6.9% compared to the previous growth forecast of 6.7% published in early August. In conclusion, the Directors noted that the Company’s financial results for 2013 are expected to exceed the projections made at the beginning of the year and also the actual results registered in 2012. Separately, two local websites noted that the Austrian airline Niki will start operating to Malta on 30 March 2014.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index jumped by 0.2% to a 1-week high of 1,020.028 points as Eurozone yields slumped back to just above the 1.7% level. Yields slipped from yesterday’s high of 1.79% following disappointing GDP readings across the Eurozone which indicated that the 17-nation economy grew by 0.1% in Q3 2013 compared to a 0.3% increase in the previous quarter. This data further supports the need for more stimulus measures by the European Central Bank (ECB). Furthermore, yields also tumbled after the Vice Chairman of the US Federal Reserve (who has already been nominated to become Chairman in January 2014) released a statement in favour of maintaining the prevailing expansionary monetary stance of the US Federal Reserve.