MSE Share Index drops to new 35-month low

Declines in the shares prices of the two large banks dragged the MSE Share Index down by 0.7% during this morning’s trading session to a new 35-month low of 2,931.474 points. The share price of HSBC Bank Malta plc slid by 2% to the equity’s 2012 low of €2.50 across six trades totalling 15,580 shares. Similarly, Bank of Valletta plc’s equity eased 0.8% lower to close at the €2.125 level on volumes of 18,188 shares. BOV generally publishes its half-year results (covering the six months ended 31 March) by the end of April.

On the other hand, GO plc marginally recovered by 2.7% from its all-time low of €0.75 to the €0.77 level but on low volumes of 2,000 shares. Nonetheless, GO’s equity is still 21.4% below the 2011 year-end figure reflecting the significant negative impact of the Group’s substantial investment in Forthnet which culminated in a €62.3 million impairment in respect of the 2011 financial year. The quad play telecom operator is scheduled to hold its Annual General Meeting on 9 May.

Elsewhere in the local equity market, just over 2,900 International Hotel Investments plc shares changed hands at the €0.74 level as the equity was active for the first time since last week’s 2011 financial results publication. The financial statements revealed a 2.3% increase in revenue as the decline in business at the Tripoli Hotel was offset by growth in all the other Group hotel properties. This improvement helped IHI reduce the loss for the year to €10.4 million compared to the 2009 loss of €12.5 million.

A single trade of 40,900 RS2 Software plc shares was transacted at the €0.55 level, unchanged from the previous close. Yesterday evening the IT Company announced that it will be publishing its 2011 full-year results this coming Friday 13 April. RS2’s results will be followed by those of 6pm Holdings plc on Monday 16 April.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged minimally lower to 983.501 points following a slight drop in the bid prices of the Central Bank of Malta. Further volatility was evident in Eurozone yields with the benchmark 10-year yield regaining the 1.72% as investors reduced demand for Germany’s safe haven assets ahead of a 10-year bond auction by Europe’s powerhouse.

This afternoon, BOV announced the allocation policy with respect to the recent €40 million issue of Notes which carry a coupon of 4.25% and mature in 2019. The Bank revealed that applications for the first €25,000 will be accepted in full with a balance of only 36.19% for applications above this level. Interest on these Notes will accrue as from today. Meanwhile, allotment letters and refunds of unallocated monies will take place by not later than next Wednesday 18 April.