MSE Share Index at new 17-month low

Local equity markets wraps up a dismal short week with yet another 0.4% drop to a new 17-month low of 3,322.666 points as investors shy away from the market on the back of continued concern with respect to the European sovereign debt crises and the developments in Libya. Following the twelfth consecutive week of declines (-1% this week), the MSE Share Index is now 12.1% below its value at the beginning of the year. This contrasts with the positive year to date performances registered by major international stockmarkets such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average which climbed by 7.6% since December, the German DAX which is up 5.8% and the FTSE 100 (+2.3%).

During this morning’s trading session, Bank of Valletta plc edged 0.4% lower back to the €2.88 level across fourteen trades totalling over 15,700 shares resulting in a weekly decline of 0.5%. Similarly, HSBC Bank Malta plc retreated by 0.3% to €2.91 on low volumes of 4,000 shares. HSBC ended this short week 1.7% lower. Following this week’s downturn, the two equities are now more than 10% below their value at the beginning of the year.

MIDI plc’s share price dropped 2.2% to €0.44 on a single trade of 5,000 shares. This was the first time the equity traded below its December 2010 issue price of €0.45 per share. Fresh sell orders also pushed the share price of Island Hotels Group Holdings plc 9.7% back to its 2011 low of €0.90 on low volumes of 1,001 shares.

Meanwhile a positive reaction to yesterday’s full-year results publication by Simonds Farsons Cisk plc. The Farsons Group reported a 36.1% rise in profits to €3.7 million as a result of increased revenue from exports and increased sales of beer and imported beverages on the local market. The improvement in profitability led to an increase in the final net dividend to €0.0533 per shares to all shareholders as at close of trading on 19 May. A single trade of 1,700 shares transacted today at the €1.70 level representing a 0.6% rise from the previous close.

Today GlobalCapital plc published its 2010 full-year results revealing an €8.3 million loss after tax compared to a loss after tax of €760,744 for the previous year. The Group explained that these results were adversely affected by a number of non-cash/non-recurrent items totalling €5.8 million, including write-offs of goodwill, computer software and tangible assets as well as negative fair value movements on investment property. Moreover, financial investments experienced a slowdown with net unrealised fair value gains of €621,921 in 2010 compared to net gains of €2.6 million in 2009.

The Malta Stock Exchange will not be open tomorrow due to the Easter festivities. Trading on the local bourse will recommence on Monday 25 April.