Financial equities push MSE Share Index lower

The Malta Stock Exchange Share Index moved back into negative territory with a 0.3% drop to 3,316.497 points. This was mainly due to the declines in the share prices of the financial equities active during this morning’s session, namely HSBC Bank Malta plc, Bank of Valletta plc and Middlesea Insurance plc.

HSBC Bank Malta plc retreated by 0.7% to €2.94 on low volumes of 4,400 shares despite last Friday’s Interim Statement revealing that the Bank continued to perform well during the first four months of 2011. The Bank explained that although costs increased during the period under review, the growth in operating income outpaced the increase in costs. Further details available at

Bank of Valletta plc also edged 0.6% lower to close at €2.802 across thirteen trades totalling just under 12,000 shares. On 26 May the Bank is scheduled to effect the payment of the recently declared net interim dividend of €0.0406 per share.

A single trade of 1,000 Middlesea Insurance plc shares was transacted at the €1.03 level, representing a 1% drop from the previous closing price. No details have so far been published in connection with the mandatory bid to be launched by Mapfre Internacional if the regulator approves its acquisition of Munich Re’s 19.9% shareholding.

On the other hand, further bids emerged in the market for GO plc shares helping the equity close in positive territory for the fourth consecutive session. GO’s share price advanced by a further 0.7% to €1.36 across three trades amounting to 6,200 shares. Although GO has announced that the Group’s operating profit for the first quarter of 2011 is marginally ahead of that registered during the same period in 2010, the market now eagerly awaits the first quarter results of Forthnet to assess the impact this investment will have on GO’s financial performance.

The share price of Malta International Airport plc also continued to build on last week’s 1.8% rise as the equity regained the €1.70 level across three trades amounting to 2,400 shares. Tomorrow the airport operator is scheduled to pay its final gross dividend of €0.0538 per share.

The only other two active equities were International Hotel Investments plc (which maintained the €0.70 level on volumes of just over 24,000 shares), and Island Hotels Group Holdings plc which also closed unchanged at the €0.895 level across a small deal of just 112 shares.