MSE Share Index at 22-month low

Following last week’s 1.1% drop, the MSE Share Index shed a further 0.6% during the first trading session of the week to drop to a new 22-month low of 3,104.216 points in contrast to the rebound being registered across European stockmarkets. The local equity benchmark closed in negative territory today mainly due to declines in Bank of Valletta plc and International Hotel Investments plc. BOV’s share price shed 0.6% today to €2.55 on low volumes of 1,726 shares.

Meanwhile higher volumes, amounting to over 18,000 shares, traded in IHI with the share price losing 2.7% to the €0.73 level. The decline in the share price is probably in response to the interim results publication last Friday showing lower turnover and EBITDA generation and a loss of €10.8 million during the first half of 2011 mainly due to the significant curtailment in the operations of the hotel in Tripoli. The lower revenue arising from the political uprising in Libya offset the improvements recorded in the other Group properties.

Elsewhere in the local equity market, Lombard Bank Malta plc eased 0.7% lower to the €2.68 level on a single trade of 10,500 shares. The Bank is scheduled to publish its half-year results tomorrow. MIDI plc also closed in negative territory with a 2.3% drop to the €0.43 level on just one trade of 1,000 shares.

On the other hand, GO plc recovered from an intra-day low of €1.245 to close 0.3% higher at the €1.259 level across four trades totalling 2,000 shares. GO and Forthnet (the Greek telecommunications Group in which GO has an indirect investment) still have to publish their respective 2011 interim results.

On the bond market the focus remained on Malta Government Stocks as evidenced by the continued high volumes of trading on the secondary market. In fact, trades of a further €3.8 million (nominal) took place across various local Government paper during this morning’s trading session. The Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index dropped by 0.2% from its seven month high as Eurozone yields edged marginally higher to reach the 2.12% level. On the corporate bond market, there were some erratic movements in the prices of some of the bonds issued by International Hotel Investments plc and Mediterranean Holdings Investment plc as further developments in Libya unfold.