Bank share prices soar on high volumes

The publication of a strong set of financial results by Bank of Valletta plc last Friday afternoon sent share prices of all the 3 banks rallying during this morning’s session. The strong gains in BOV, HSBC Bank Malta plc and Lombard Bank Malta plc lifted the MSE Share Index by 4.6% to 3528.344 points – the largest one day increase for the Index this year.

With the trade range of BOV removed by the Malta Stock Exchange, the equity climbed 19.4% to a fresh 2010 high of €4.00 at the opening of today’s trading session. A total of 37,311 shares traded at this level. However the equity failed to hold on to this level on lack of further support and profit taking from some investors. The share price dropped back to €3.70 mid-way during the session and maintained this level by the close of the day. A total of 55,490 shares traded with the share price still closing the day with a gain of 10.5%. This sharp upturn materialised following the publication of the September 2010 full-year results last Friday. BOV reported a 20.9% increase in pre-tax profits to just under €99 million while the Directors recommended a final gross dividend of €0.16 per share (giving a gross dividend yield of 6.4% based on today’s closing price) and a 1 for 5 bonus issue. Further details of results available at https://rizzofarrugia.com/news-events/2010/full-year-results-bov15/.

The positive reaction to the BOV results immediately spilled over into the equities of the other two local banks. HSBC jumped 7.1% to regain the €3.00 level across twenty-one trades amounting to 51,260 shares with Lombard recouping some of its recent losses as its share price climbed 10% to €2.75 on volumes of just under 49,000 shares. This morning, Lombard issued its Interim Directors’ Statement explaining that the Directors remain confident that the Group will maintain its course towards the attainment of another positive set of financial results for the year ending 31 December 2010.

GO plc also published its Interim Directors’ Statement noting that following the improved performance during the first half of 2010, the Group also registered a positive performance during the third quarter of the year on the back of further growth in revenues as well as cost reductions. The equity closed unchanged at the €1.87 level across five trades totalling 6,300 shares.

Middlesea Insurance plc and MaltaPost plc also closed the day unchanged at €1.00 and €0.91 respectively while International Hotel Investments plc edged 2.5% lower to the €0.78 level on volumes of just over 25,000 shares.

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