Low trading activity persists

Trading activity in the local equity market remained low on continued subdued sentiment among investors. Only 3 equities were active today with a total of just €59,400 worth of trades passing through the market. Trading volumes have been declining since the eruption of the political unrest in Libya which severely adversely affected local investor sentiment. This affected the overall performance of the market which has dropped by 11.3% since the start of the year in contrast to the positive performances of the major international stockmarkets. In fact, the DAX in Germany climbed 3.4%, UK’s FTSE 100 rose 1.1% and the Dow Jones in the US moved 6.1% higher in 2011.

Back to today’s trading session, the MSE Share Index moved minimally higher today to 3,356.012 points as Bank of Valletta plc and International Hotel Investments plc posted marginal gains. BOV edged 0.2% higher to regain the €2.895 level across eight trades totalling 12,250 shares. Following yesterday’s 15.8% plunge, IHI inched 0.1% higher to regain the €0.70 level with a total of 5,800 shares changing hands at this level.

The only other active equity, HSBC Bank Malta plc, closed unchanged at the €2.96 level across six trades totalling 6,700 shares.

This afternoon, Malta International Airport plc announced that it issued a Fuel Ground Handling tender to replace the existing contract with the present suppliers which expired on 31 March. The new tender provides for a significant reduction in fuel handling fees from €12.50 per 1,000 litres to €2.60 per 1,000 litres which the Company expects to result in a decline in overall revenue of €1.2 million per annum. Media reports today also revealed that the airport operator has been granted the permission to construct an extension to the existing parking facilities at the SkyParks Business Centre. Moreover the reports reveal that MIA has submitted a new Master Plan for the entire area which is still being processed by MEPA. The new plan reportedly includes further developments at the airport including an extension to the air terminal, parking facilities including multi-level parking, a small hotel, a retail mall and also a recreational area.

No further trades took place today in RS2 Software plc following the rise of 51.4% in the share price during the past two to a new 5-month high of €0.53 on the back of a Tuesday’s announcement revealing a significant improvement in profitability and dividend. The equity turns ex-dividend as from Thursday 28 April.