Increased equity market trading activity

Trading activity in the local equity market picked up today following the various half-year results published in recent days. A total of €155,039 worth of shares changed hands today across eight equities.

Over 79,600 GO plc shares were exchanged today with the share price recovering from an intra-day low of €0.825 to end the session unchanged at the €0.85 level. The equity of the quad-play telecom operator was under pressure in recent sessions in anticipation of GO’s decision, expected to be published by the end of September, whether to participate or not in Forthnet’s €30 million rights issue through its joint-venture Forgendo. The latter has already expressed its intention to participate in the capital raising exercise. In the meantime, GO is scheduled to publish its half-year results tomorrow.

MaltaPost plc also closed unchanged today as the postal operator maintained its 3-year low of €0.63 on activity of 17,000 shares. Meanwhile, its major shareholder, Lombard Bank Malta plc eased a further 0.5% to a new multi-year low of €1.99 on a single trade of 2,350 shares. Both the financials of Lombard and MaltaPost were negatively impacted by the amendments in the tariffs of the Universal Postal Union on international mail. Moreover, Lombard’s half-year results were further adversely affected by the prevailing unfavourable environment for banks.

Bank of Valletta plc’s dropped to an intra-day low of €2.21 but partially recovered by the end of this morning’s trading session to close at the €2.26 level representing a further 0.9% drop on volumes of just over 4,000 shares. On the other hand, the equity of HSBC Bank Malta plc jumped 2.6% to regain the €2.75 level on a single trade of 2,200 shares.

International Hotel Investments plc shares closed marginally after recovering from a 4-month low of €0.75 to close at the €0.85 level representing a 0.2% increase over the previous close. A total of 62,920 IHI shares changed hands today.

Low volumes were traded in the other two active equities with Simonds Farsons Cisk plc edging 1.4% higher to €2.08 across 700 shares and RS2 Software plc (which yesterday reported a 12.6% drop in profitability to €1.2 million reflecting the lower level of licence sales compared to the significant amount concluded in the first half of 2011) trading unchanged at the €0.50 level on volumes of 7,493 shares.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index shed a further 0.1% to 996.605 points despite a further reduction in Eurozone yields to the 1.33% level. German bund yields retreated this morning ahead of an Italian bond auction. However, market concerns eased following the announcement that Italy successfully managed to raise €7.29 billion in a mix of 5 and 10-year paper at lower rates than the previous auction leading to a slight recovery in the benchmark German bund yields after the news.