Investor sentiment hit by Libyan turmoil

Investor sentiment across international and local markets was hit by the current unrest in Libya with major global stockmarkets moving in negative territory. The FTSE 100 dropped 0.9% earlier today while the Dow Jones Index in the US opened 0.8% lower. The local equity market followed suit as the MSE Share Index shed a further 1.3% to 3,718.961 points thus wiping out all the gains accumulated in earlier weeks.

Bank of Valletta plc reversed yesterday’s rise as the equity shed 1.6% to the €3.00 level on high volumes of almost 38,500 shares. HSBC Bank Malta plc’s equity once again registered few trades despite still trading with the entitlement to the final gross dividend of €0.077 per share until 3 March. The share price closed 1.9% lower at €3.239 across six trades totalling almost 10,000 shares with offers already placed lower at the €3.23 level. HSBC’s share price has slumped by 6.1% since last Friday’s full-year results publication in which the Bank revealed a 16.7% increase in pre-tax profits to €83.1 million.

International Hotel Investments plc, which has a hotel in Tripoli among other assets in various other countries, saw its share price slip 1.2% lower to €0.929 on volumes of 10,000 shares.

The share price of GO plc was also pulled lower by the prevailing weak investor sentiment. The equity of the telecoms operator dropped 3.2% to a new 15-month low of €1.799 on volumes of 13,200 shares. Following today’s downturn GO currently ranks as the worst performing equity since the start of 2011 with a year-to-date performance of -7%.

On the bond market, a ‘flight to safety’ increased demand for bonds forcing the Eurozone benchmark yield to drop back to the 3.14% level. This led to a 0.2% increase in the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index to 984.205 points. Various corporate bonds were active this morning with two of the bonds of International Hotel Investments plc closing below the 100% level. Although the bonds of Mediterranean Investments Holdings plc failed to register any trades, offers in all 3 bonds of this company placed in the market at the 95% level.

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