HSBC & BOV shares in opposite directions this week

Despite the publication of the 2011 results last Friday and the recommendation of a final gross dividend of €0.072 per share, there was mild trading activity in the shares of HSBC Bank Malta plc during the last five trading sessions amounting to just 24,642 shares. However, the share price edged 0.4% higher to regain the €2.60 level. The 2011 financial statements showed a 6% increase in pre-tax profits but after excluding a number of one-off items including the sale of the card acquiring business and the one-time charges related to the voluntary retirement scheme, the overall performance was in line with the previous year. The final dividend is payable to those shareholders as at close of trading on 13 March.

Likewise just a single trade of 500 shares was transacted in Middlesea Insurance plc this week after the publication of the 2011 financial results on Tuesday. The financial statements showed a 51.6% drop in pre-tax profits to €3.1 million as the improvement registered in the technical results was offset by lower investment income. After an absence of three years, the Directors recommended a final gross dividend of €0.01 per share to all shareholders as at close of trading on 18 April 2012. The share price of Middlesea jumped 4.4% to the €0.71 level.

On the other hand, Bank of Valletta plc took the lion’s share of trading volumes this week with more than 122,300 shares changing hands in the past five sessions. The Bank’s share price eased 0.5% lower this week to the €2.17 level.

High volumes were also transacted across RS2 Software plc amounting to 160,000 shares with the IT Company’s share price holding on to the €0.55 level. RS2 generally publishes its full-year results in late April.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index ended the week marginally higher at 988.167 points reflecting this week’s decline in the benchmark Eurozone yields as economic growth concerns and the uncertainty in the eurozone impacted market sentiment.