Today marks the end of the first quarter of 2011 which was characterised by a number of exceptional events such as the natural disaster in Japan and the political unrest in North Africa particularly in Libya. These events adversely affected local investor sentiment. The MSE Share Index dropped by 8.4% during the first three months of 2011 to a four-month low of 3,463.776 points.
Selling pressure in the first quarter of 2011 was evident in four of the five largest companies by market cap. GO plc tops this list with a sharp decline of 22% mainly registered following the announcement of a loss of €19.2 million during 2010 and a 50% cut in dividends to shareholders. International Hotel Investments plc follows with a 12.2% drop during the period under review as the equity went in quick reverse following the political turmoil in Libya. The two large banks also underperformed the Share Index. HSBC Bank Malta plc and Bank of Valletta plc moved very much in-line with declines of 9.5% and 9.6% respectively.
The two worst performing equities during Q1 2011 were GlobalCapital plc and RS2 Software plc with losses of 33.3% and a 27.1% respectively. Both companies have yet to publish their respective 2010 financial results.
MaltaPost plc once again tops the performance table with a further increase of 10.1% during the first quarter following the 42.9% jump registered in 2010. Lombard Bank Malta plc and Malta International Airport plc also gained after announcing improved profitability levels for the year ended 31 December 2010 and higher dividends to shareholders. Lombard’s equity advanced by 7.1% with the share price of the airport operator up a further 6.6%.
The main highlight of the day was the publication of a Prospectus by 6pm Holdings plc with respect to a rights issue of 10,788,000 new ordinary shares at the price of £0.25 per share. Further details available from https://rizzofarrugia.com/news-events/2011/rights-issue-6pm02/
On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index ended the first quarter of 2011 with a 1.9% drop to a new 21-month low of 973.904 points (click here to see chart). The local MGS benchmark fell by 1% during the month of March following comments by the European Central Bank on the increased probability of an interest rate hike during the next meeting scheduled for Thursday 7 April 2011.
The next trading session will take place on Friday 1 April.