HSBC’s decline pushes MSE Share Index in negative territory

The MSE Share Index ended in negative territory for the first time in 2012 with a 0.2% drop to 3,098.860 points following a 1.5% retreat in the share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc back to the €2.551 level. However, activity was low with only 1,600 shares changing hands today.

The decline in HSBC offset the third consecutive increase in the share price of Bank of Valletta plc in the run up to next Monday’s (9 January) bonus issue cut-off date. Following the 1.4% increase registered in the first two sessions of 2012, BOV’s equity added a further 1% as it regained the €2.56 level across ten trades totalling just over 19,000 shares. However, offers have already been placed lower at the €2.555 level. BOV’s equity will trade ex-bonus as from Tuesday 10 January.

Meanwhile Lombard Bank Malta plc and FIMBank plc closed unchanged at the €2.60 and US$0.77 levels respectively on low volumes.

Similarly, Malta International Airport plc traded unchanged at the €1.70 level as a further 21,000 shares changed hands today. Earlier this week, the airport operator announced that during 2011 it reached a new record of 3.5 million passengers representing a 6.5% increase over 2010 which was also a record year for the company. MIA also explained that 2012, which will mark the inauguration of the SkyParks Business Centre and the 20th anniversary of the air terminal, will be challenging especially in so far as seat capacity is concerned.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index moved lower for the third consecutive session with another 0.1% decline to a 2-week low of 985.648 points. Concerns over the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis persist as France managed to sell almost €8 billion of debt but yields on the 10-year auction increased.

Meanwhile, this afternoon the Treasury of Malta published its indicative 2012 calendar for new Malta Government Stock issues. The Treasury confirmed that during 2012, total issuance of Malta Government Stocks will amount to a maximum €700 million. The Treasury intends to spread the issuance programme across 4 issues with a concentration during the first quarter of the year. It was also announced that the first MGS offer is intended to be issued in early February while the second offer is expected for late March 2012.