Share Index up for first time in 2011

The MSE Share Index closed in positive territory for the first time this year on gains in each of the three large caps. The Index closed the day 1.3% higher at 3,740.569 points helping the equity market recover a large part of last week’s declines.

HSBC Bank Malta plc and International Hotel Investments plc both gained 2.2% today. HSBC recovered from last week’s 1.7% decline as its share price traded up to the the €3.27 level on activity of 16,360 shares. The gains registered this morning helped HSBC’s equity close marginally above the 2010 year-end level of €3.255. The equity of IHI traded initially held on to the €0.90 level before recovering to €0.92 on volumes of almost 33,000 shares transacted today.

Bank of Valletta plc also recovered some of last week’s decline despite trading without the entitlement to the 1 for 5 bonus share issue. The trade range in BOV shares was removed by the MSE to allow the share price to adjust to the bonus share issue. Initially BOV opened the day at €3.083 which equates to the €3.70 level of last Friday. However with few shares on offer and increasing levels of demand, the share price edged 1.2% higher today to €3.121 on volumes of 7,279 shares. Unsatisfied bids are already placed at €3.136 with lowest offers at €3.21 (€3.852 pre-bonus).

The other positive performer of the day, MaltaPost plc, regained its all-time of €1.00 on volumes of 9,732 shares. Last week, the postal operator published its full-year results showing a 7% increase in after-tax profits to €2.1 million. The Directors also recommended a final net dividend of €0.04 per share although the shares were already ex-dividend when the company announcement was published. The Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Monday 31 January.

GO plc closed the day unchanged at the €1.94 level after again recovering from an intra-day low of €1.93 on low volumes of 2,900 shares. Forthnet this morning announced that Forgendo (the joint-venture between GO and EITL) acquired a further 69,640 shares in the Greek telecoms Group thereby increasing its shareholding from 41% to 41.04%.

Malta International Airport plc and RS2 Software plc closed the day in negative territory on low volumes. The share price of the airport operator eased 0.6% to €1.65 as investors await the publication of the December passenger numbers and the passenger growth forecast for 2011. Meanwhile a single trade of 2,000 RS2 shares was executed at the €0.46 level representing a 4.2% drop from the previous closing price.

Further to last week’s 0.1% rise, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index moved another 0.2% higher this morning to close at 994.48 points reflecting the downturn in the benchmark 10-year Eurozone yield to the 2.87% level.