IHI at new 19-month high on significant volumes

The share price of International Hotel Investments plc climbed 3.4% to €0.951 – its highest level since June 2009. The increase in IHI’s equity today was accompanied by unusually large volumes amounting to just over 247,000 shares. Last month, the IHI Group had announced that it was undertaking a private placement of new shares at a price above the nominal value of €1.00. Since then the share price has shot up by 28.5% from its multi-year low of €0.74.

Meanwhile the rally in the banking equities came to a halt as the share price of Bank of Valletta plc closed in negative territory for the first time in four sessions with HSBC Bank Malta plc unchanged at the €3.50 level. The MSE Share Index edged 0.18% higher to 3,845.024 points.

BOV’s share price dropped 1.5% today to €3.151 (equivalent to €3.781) on volumes of over 29,800 shares. Earlier on today BOV’s issued share capital increased by 40 million shares to 240 million shares following the 1 for 5 bonus share issue. HSBC shares initially advanced to a high of €3.53 before closing the day at €3.50.

Other financial equities also performed positively today. FIMBank plc recovered and edged 2.2% higher to regain the US$0.94 level across 50,000 shares with Middlesea Insurance plc up 1.5% up to the €1.015 level on volumes of just under 13,000 shares.

Meanwhile, GO plc closed unchanged at the €1.94 level across five trades totalling 11,800 shares. GO’s joint-venture investment company, Forgendo, has been increasing its shareholding in the Greek telecoms company Forthnet through relatively small volume purchases via the Athens Stock Exchange. The latest announcement revealed the purchase of a further 160,510 shares at an average price of €0.54 per share. Forgendo’s shareholding in Forthnet is now at 41.15%.

In contrast to the positive trend in the equity market, the local bond market declined for the third successive session as the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index shed 0.1% to 990.996 points. The market price of the 5.25% MGS 2030 dropped 26 basis points to 102% on high activity amounting to €410,700 (nominal). Shortly after the close of today’s session, the Treasury announced that during 2011 it aims to issue a total of €570 million in Malta Government Stocks to finance its borrowing requirements as well as to finance total MGS redemptions of €128.4 million. The first issue is expected to take place next month.

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