Various equities trade during the final session of the week

In contrast to yesterday’s session which was characterised by weak volumes, trading activity increased considerably during the final trading session of the week. The MSE Share Index shed 1.7% to 3,331.346 points as six equities closed lower.

Among the large caps, HSBC Bank Malta plc failed to maintain the €2.00 level with the price dropping by 5% back to the €1.90 level on increased activity totalling 65,679 shares. The gross interim dividend of €0.045 per share declared last Monday will be payable to those shareholders as at close of trading on Monday 11 August.

Meanwhile, Bank of Valletta plc edged minimally higher to €2.101 on activity of 17,577 shares.

Also in the banking sector, Lombard Bank Malta plc and FIMBank plc also closed the day sharply lower with losses of 5.9% and 9.1% to €1.60 and USD0.68 respectively. Lombard will be publishing its interim results on 20 August while FIMBank issued its interim financial statements earlier this week showing a mixed performance with higher income levels which were offset by additional impairments. The pre-tax loss of the FIMBank Group narrowed to only USD0.34 million in the first half of 2014 compared to USD7.5 million in the first six months of 2013 but this was only as a result of a one-off fair value adjustment of USD7.83 million after the Group acquired a controlling interest in India Factoring and CIS Factors. Meanwhile, a further 7,692,307 shares were listed today which were allotted to Tunis International Bank (a fellow subsidiary within the KIPCO group) pursuant to the Underwriting commitment of the recent rights issue.

Three other equities performed negatively today. The Sterling denominated equity of 6pm Holdings plc eased 1.4% lower to GBP0.73 on volumes of 75,000 shares. Yesterday afternoon the company unexpectedly issued its interim financial results showing a strong increase in profits during the first six months. After a long period of inactivity, the equity of Grand Harbour Marina plc traded at €1.86 representing a drop of 0.5% from its previous close. The company will be publishing its interim financial statements on 29 August. RS2 Software plc eased 0.4% lower to €2.629 on activity of 20,000 shares. The company has yet to announce the date of publication of its interim financial statements.

GO plc maintained the €2.40 level as a further 3,240 shares changed hands this week. The interim financial statements of GO will be published next Wednesday 13 August. Meanwhile, this morning the Greek company Forthnet published its results for the second quarter to 30 June 2014 showing an increase in revenue and EBITDA following a consistent rise in Pay-TV subscribers. The market awaits further information from the Greek company following the recent non-binding offer received by Vodafone and Wind to acquire the remaining shares in Forthnet that are not held by them.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index continued to reach new record levels with a further rise to 1,064.708 points (0.4% this week) mirroring the continued decline in Eurozone yields. German bund yields dropped to a fresh record low of 1.02% following the heightened geopolitical concerns after the US President Barack Obama authorised air strikes on Islamic militants in northern Iraq.