MSE Share Index at 28-month low

Declines in the share prices of the two large banks and Malta International Airport plc forced the MSE Share Index to decline by 0.62% to a 28-month low of 3,042.328 points. Similar to yesterday, the equity market was characterised by low activity with higher volumes in the bond market as a result of the new Malta Government Stock offerings.

Bank of Valletta plc shed 2.2% to the €2.20 level on lack of further support at €2.25 and increasing offers entering the market. Just over 11,000 shares traded today with bids amounting to over 3,100 shares remaining unsatisfied at the closing level and lowest offers at €2.21. Last Friday, BOV published its Interim Directors’ Statement covering the first quarter of its 2011/12 financial year. BOV reported that it registered a net profit similar to that in the previous comparable period.

HSBC Bank Malta plc eased minimally lower to €2.54 on very weak volumes. The Bank is shortly expected to announce the date when the 2011 full-year results will be published.

The share price of Malta International Airport plc eased by 0.5% to €1.74 on a single trade of 7,940 shares. Last week, the airport operator announced that it forecasts a 2.8% drop in passenger movements during 2012 to 3.4 million on the back of the expected decline in demand for travel and the reduction in cruise liner calls in the ‘Cruise & Fly’ operation. These will offset the new routes to be introduced by Air France and Ryanair. Nonetheless, the Company’s 2012 forecast is still 3% higher than the previous record registered in 2010.

On the other hand, Lombard Bank Malta plc edged 0.8% higher from yesterday’s 15-month low of €2.55. GO plc closed the day unchanged at €0.89 after dropping back to its all-time low of €0.85.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index continued to edge higher following increases in the indicative bid prices of most Malta Government Stocks. Subscriptions for the three new government stocks opened today and close on Friday 3 February. A total of €300 million is on offer across the following stocks: (i) 4.25% MGS 2017 (III) (Fungibility Issue) at 103.75%; (ii) 4.3% MGS 2022 (II) at 100% (par) and (iii) 5.2% MGS 2031 (I) (Fungibility Issue) at 101.75%.