Equities decline further; Share Index at new 2011 low

The downward movement in the local equity market gathered further momentum this morning with the MSE Share Index dropping for the fourth consecutive session due to the uncertainty prevailing from the turmoil in Libya. The MSE Share Index tumbled 2.4% to a new 2011 low of 3,629.123 points mainly due to the 7.4% decline in the share price in HSBC Bank Malta plc to €3.001 on volumes of almost 18,000 shares. Meanwhile Bank of Valletta plc remained well supported at the €3.00 level as 21,345 shares traded.

The weak investor sentiment across the local equity market also left its mark on the share prices of FIMBank plc and Plaza Centres plc. FIMBank’s US Dollar denominated equity lost 5.3% to a new 66-month low of US$0.90 on volumes of just over 8,000 shares. Likewise, Plaza’s share price plunged 7.9% to €1.52 on just 400 shares.  FIMBank and Plaza are both due to report their full-year results next Thursday 3 March.

Malta International Airport plc also dropped 1.1% back to the €1.75 level on a single trade of 1,000 shares.

On the other hand, MaltaPost plc recovered some of its recent declines as its share price advanced by 2% during this morning’s session to regain the €1.095 level also on a single trade of 1,000 shares. Similarly Middlesea Insurance plc edged 0.5% higher to €1.06.

The local corporate bond market was also placed under renewed selling pressure due to the political turmoil in Libya. The 6.75% Corinthia Finance plc 2012 plunged 600 basis points to 95% and the 6.25% International Hotel Investments plc 2020 slid a further 400 basis points to the 93% level. Meanwhile no trades were affected in the bonds of Mediterranean Investments Holding plc with offers across all MIH bonds pitched below the par level.

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