MSE Share Index back into negative territory

Following two consecutive sessions of increases, the MSE Share Index today closed in negative territory as it retreated by 0.4% to 2,998.426 points mainly due to the declines in the share prices of the three local commercial banks.

The share price of Bank of Valletta plc slid 0.9% to the €2.18 level on volumes of just over 13,000 shares. Similarly, HSBC Bank Malta plc eased 0.6% lower but on significantly lower volumes of just 335 shares. HSBC’s equity is still trading with the entitlement to the final gross dividend of €0.072 per share announced last Friday in conjunctions with the 2011 full-year results. The final gross dividend is payable to all shareholders as at close of trading on Tuesday 13 March.

Similarly, Lombard Bank Malta plc’s share price slipped 0.8% lower to its 16-month low of €2.51 on a single trade of 2,060 shares. The Bank is scheduled to publish its 2011 full-year results on 15 March.

Also in the financial sector, GlobalCapital plc edged 1.1% lower to the €0.94 level across two trades totalling 5,000 shares.

Meanwhile, RS2 Software plc shares held on to the €0.55 level across three trades totalling 155,000 shares. The IT company has not yet announced the date of its 2011 full-year results publication.

Shortly after the close of today’s trading session, Middlesea Insurance plc published its 2011 full-year results. The Middlesea Group registered a pre-tax profit of €3.1 million (2010: €6.4 million) as the significant increase in technical results was outweighed by the lower contribution from investments. After an absence of 3 years, the company proposed the payment of a marginal dividend of €0.01 gross per share.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index closed higher for the fourth consecutive session with another 0.1% rise to 988.845 points. This reflects the decline in benchmark Eurozone yields in recent days to the current 1.82% level. Yields eased over the past days on the back of tomorrow’s expected liquidity injection by the European Central Bank and Germany’s opposition to a larger bailout fund for the Eurozone.

Tomorrow, Corinthia Finance plc is scheduled to publish a Prospectus in conjunction with a new €7.5 million 6% bond maturing between 2019 and 2022 following approval by the Listing Authority yesterday.