Marginal increases in banking equities

The share prices of the three local retail banks increased marginally during today’s trading session helping the MSE Share Index edge 0.1% higher to 3,064.674 points. HSBC Bank Malta plc’s equity advanced by 0.4% to close at a new 8-month high of €2.68 on a single deal of 400 shares ahead of the Bank’s interim results publication on Friday 27 July.

The share price of Bank of Valletta plc touched a new 33-month low of €2.00 before recuperating to close minimally higher at the €2.05 level across thirteen trades totalling 21,983 shares. Shortly after the close of today’s trading session, BOV issued its Interim Directors Statement covering the Bank’s performance during the third quarter (April to June) of its current financial year ending 30 September 2012. During the period under review, the Bank continued to experience very subdued demand for new loans, both in the personal and corporate sectors, resulting in limited credit growth since the start of its financial year. Meanwhile, growth in customer deposits was sustained between April and June 2012. BOV also reported that net interest income has been satisfactory but commission and trading income remained subdued largely reflecting the uncertain conditions that continue to prevail across the Eurozone and global financial markets. Overall, BOV reported that the cumulative operating profits from the start of the current financial year on 1 October to date are satisfactory and in line with expectations.

Similarly, Lombard Bank Malta plc recovered from a new 79-month low of €2.15 to also close minimally higher at the €2.18 level across four trades totalling 5,424 shares.

Meanwhile, the only other active equity, Malta International Airport plc, traded 0.6% lower at the €1.74 level on a single deal of 1,000 shares. The airport operator is expected to publish its half-year results later on this afternoon.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged marginally higher to 992.193 points as the Central Bank of Malta Stockbroker revised its prices upwards. Various MGS’s were active during this morning’s session. In contrast, Eurozone yields moved higher on the hope the US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hints at fresh measures of quantitative easing in a bid to counteract the impact from the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone.