MSE Share Index rebounds marginally

During this morning’s session, which marks the end of the first quarter of 2014, the MSE Share Index rebounded marginally by 0.1% to 3,424.016 points. In contrast to the strong gains registered in 2013 (+14.8%), the local equity benchmark ended the first quarter of 2014 in negative territory with a decline of 7.1% – the first negative quarter since Q1 2012 – largely reflecting the declines in the two large banks (in view of the regulatory pressures) and the double-digit quarterly drop in IHI.

This morning’s uplift was largely due to the 0.9% rise in the share price of Bank of Valletta plc to the €2.199 level across 23,880 shares.

6pm Holdings plc also moved higher as it reversed yesterday’s 4.2% decline with an equivalent GBP0.03 increase during this morning’s session to regain the GBP0.71 level on volumes of 26,000 shares. The IT Group is scheduled to publish its 2013 full-year results on 14 April.

The only other positive performing equity was Middlesea Insurance plc which edged minimally higher to €0.905 on just 115 shares.

On the other hand, HSBC Bank Malta plc trended lower for the third consecutive session with a decline of a further 0.6% to its 2014 low of €2.38 on low volumes of 1,676 shares.

Crimsonwing plc also eased minimally lower to €0.809 on a single trade of 3,000 shares.

Meanwhile, no change was registered in the share price of Medserv plc at the €1.30 level across four deals totalling just over 19,600 shares. This afternoon, Medserv issued its 2013 full-year results. The performance was below forecasts and the Directors explained that this arose from the postponement of two projects for the provision of shore base activities to the offshore oil and gas industry that had to be carried out from the Malta base. Medserv confirmed that these two projects will come on stream in 2014 and one of them will continue for the next three years. The Directors recommended a final net dividend of €0.024 per share subject to shareholders approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on Thursday 15 May.

A single deal of 500 RS2 Software plc was also executed this morning at the €2.43 level, representing no change from the previous closing price.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index climbed a further 0.1% higher to 1,028.920 points as Eurozone yields continued to retreat to 1.532% (2-week lows) in view of the lingering tension between Ukraine and Russia as well as hopes of further stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB), which is scheduled to hold its monthly monetary policy meeting next week, to bolster the region’s economic recovery and counter deflation risks.