HSBC tumbles to a new 22-month low

The share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc dropped 2% during this morning’s trading session to close at a new 22-month low of €2.70 on increased trading activity amounting to over 34,500 shares. The Bank is scheduled to pay its recently declared interim gross dividend of €0.082 per share on 24 August. Last week HSBC’s equity had traded at a low of €2.72 but recovered to €2.78 on renewed demand.

Meanwhile Bank of Valletta plc’s equity eased minimally lower to close at the €2.589 level on a single trade of 5,380 shares. The declines in the equities of the two large banks led to a 0.6% drop in the MSE Share Index to 3,131,410 points.

On the other hand, Lombard Bank Malta plc closed unchanged at the €2.699 level after recovering from an intra-day low of €2.649 amid higher volumes of over 25,000 shares. The other three active equities namely GO plc, Malta International Airport plc and Simonds Farsons Cisk plc also closed unchanged on lower trading activity.

The Interim Statement published by MaltaPost plc this morning failed to generate any trades in the shares of the postal operator. The Directors explained that during the period from 1 April 2011 to mid-August the overall turnover figures are marginally higher compared to those in the corresponding last year whilst profitability on normal trading activity is in line with the comparative period. However, the postal operator revealed that the positive fluctuations from foreign exchange that enhanced revenue streams during the last financial year were not repeated during the period under review. Nonetheless, the Directors expect MaltaPost to deliver yet another satisfactory performance during the second half of the current financial year ending 30 September 2011 despite the challenging market conditions both locally and abroad.

In contrast to the shallow trading activity prevalent in the local equity market, high volumes were maintained across Malta Government Stocks with another €4.75 million (nominal) changing hands during this morning’s session. Today’s activity was also boosted by an upward revision in the bid prices of the Central Bank of Malta after Eurozone yields dropped back to the 2.18% level on renewed fears related to the region’s sovereign debt crisis. As a result, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index climbed 0.3% to 990.794 points.