HSBC drops to a fresh 4-month low ahead of results

Fresh sell orders accumulated during this morning’s session across HSBC Bank Malta plc’s shares ahead of the Bank’s 2011 half-year results which are scheduled to be published on Friday 29 July. The share price was forced 2% lower to a fresh 4-month low of €2.87 on increased volumes of almost 21,000 shares. Following today’s downturn, HSBC’s equity ranks as the worst performer of the week with a 1.7% decline.

Equity of Bank of Valletta plc also closed in negative territory as its share price slid 1.4% back to €2.66 – representing a weekly drop of 1.5%. Over 6,300 shares changed hands today as the market awaits the publication of the detailed EU-wide stress tests results. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech revealed that the local Bank comfortably passed these tests and ranks amongst the best capitalised banks in the region.

The decline in the two large banks’ equities pushed the MSE Share Index 0.9% lower today to a new 20-month low of 3,290.354 points. Today’s negative performance accounted for most of this week’s 1% drop in the local equity benchmark. Six equities ended the week lower with no equity closing in positive territory. Shallow trading activity again characterised this week’s trading sessions as just under €350,000 worth of shares changed hands this week.

Almost a third of the total week’s volumes transacted in the local equity market were recorded in RS2 Software plc’s shares having a total value of €109,286. A single trade of 17,000 RS2 Software plc shares executed at the €0.53 level this morning following the 189,200 shares exchanged at the same level during the previous three sessions.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged 0.1% higher to regain the 980.283 points reflecting the marginal decline in Eurozone yields to 2.70%. As such this week’s earlier jump in Malta Government Stock prices was only partially offset during the remainder of the week with the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index closing the week 0.7% higher.