The share prices of the two large banks moved in opposite directions during this morning’s trading session. Bank of Valletta plc’s equity shed 1.5% to drop back to the €2.65 level on fresh selling pressure coming to the market. Over 22,000 BOV shares traded today across eleven deals. On the other hand, HSBC Bank Malta plc climbed 1% to regain the €2.95 level ahead of the Bank’s half-year results publication which are normally out by the end of July.
Yesterday evening, FIMBank plc made an announcement with reference to an article entitled “Malta-based bank battles €20.4 million claim” also published yesterday in “The Times of Malta”. FIMBank stated that the report refers to a commercial litigation (a €20.4 million garnishee order was served on FIMBank plc on the request of a Maltese company over a project in Libya) under proceedings before the Courts of Malta. FIMBank explained that it has a strong case and has also taken immediate and definitive steps to have the garnishee order and its effects revoked, following which the Courts ordered the suspension of the effects of the Garnishee. Meanwhile, on the secondary market, a small trade of 416 FIMBank shares was transacted at the US$0.772 level representing a 1% drop from the previous close. The FIMBank plc bonds also closed lower during the past two days in reaction to the recent events.
The only other two active equities closed unchanged with Island Hotels Group Holdings plc maintaining the €0.85 level on very low volumes of 250 shares and Plaza Centres plc holding on to the €1.80 level across three trades totalling just over 13,000 shares.
As was wildly expected by most international economists, the European Central Bank announced a 25 basis point increase in rates to 1.5% this afternoon. This is the second hike in interest rates following a similar increase on 7 April. ECB interest rates are now at their highest level since March 2009 as the Bank maintains its stance to reduce inflation despite the sovereign debt crisis among some of the eurozone members.