Financial equities send Share Index lower

The MSE Share Index slipped another 0.4% today to 3,830.465 points on declines in the share prices of the two large banks and of Middlesea Insurance plc. The local equity market has been on a downward trend for three consecutive sessions following the sharp upturn last week.

The share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc closed in negative territory for the third time this week on renewed selling pressure. HSBC’s equity closed 0.6% lower this morning at €3.401 on volumes of almost 23,000 shares. HSBC’s subdued performance in recent days also spilled over onto Bank of Valletta plc whose share price eased 0.3% lower back to €3.14 on volumes of just under 18,900 shares.

Also in the financial sector, Middlesea Insurance plc plunged 4.6% to just above the €1.00 level. Two trades were executed this morning of 2,600 shares at €1.002 with further bids unsatisfied at the last closing price.

Meanwhile the share price of GO plc opened 2.1% lower at the €1.90 level before recovering strongly to end the day unchanged at €1.94 on high volumes totalling 37,850 shares.

On the other hand, Malta International Airport plc closed unchanged at €1.70 after touching a new multi-year high of €1.72 as the market reacted positively to the strong growth in passenger numbers announced yesterday evening. During 2010 the airport operator registered a 12.8% growth in passengers to a record 3.29 million on the back of a 10.6% increase in seat capacity.

The local bond market also continued to decline with the benchmark Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index slipping lower for the eight consecutive session. The MGS Index has declined by 0.6% during the first three weeks of the year as the 10-year Eurozone yield reached the 3.11% level.

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