Following yesterday’s public holiday, the Malta Stock Exchange resumed trading today and the equity market closed in positive territory for the second time this week. The MSE Share Index gained a further 0.3% during this morning’s session to a new 7-week high of 2,983.407 points. The turnaround in the local equity benchmark is mainly due to the interim results of Bank of Valletta plc published last Friday. The half-year results of the Bank revealed an 8.7% increase in pre-tax profits to €49.1 million and a similar 8% increase in the gross dividend to €0.06 per share (to all shareholders as at close of trading on Monday 7 May). After rising by 1.9% on Monday, BOV’s share price edged minimally higher today to close at the €2.151 level on continued high activity totalling 48,942 shares.
HSBC Bank Malta plc also traded higher for the second successive session with another 0.8% rise to regain the €2.52 level on very low volumes of 400 shares. Last Friday the Bank paid out the final gross dividend of €0.072 per share.
Also in the banking sector, the share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc edged 0.8% higher to close at the €2.42 level. Only two trades amounting to 100 Lombard shares were transacted during this morning’s session. As approved in the recent Annual General Meeting, Lombard paid out the final gross dividend of €0.115 per share also last Friday 27 April.
The share price of Malta International Airport plc jumped 4.2% today to offset last week’s 2.9% decline and regain the €1.719 level across two trades totalling 6,000 shares. The airport operator is scheduled to hold its Annual General Meeting on 10 May. During the meeting shareholders will be asked to approve a number of resolutions including the final gross dividend of €0.0615 per share.
Meanwhile the two other active equities, namely GO plc and Island Hotels Group Holdings plc, ended this morning’s session unchanged.
On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged 0.1% higher to a new 2-month high of 988.351 points reflecting this morning’s dip in eurozone yields. By the afternoon, Eurozone yields slumped to a fresh all-time low of 1.617% on the back of weak manufacturing data which indicated that the problems in the peripheral countries are now spreading onto the region’s strongholds, namely France and Germany.