MSE Share Index remains below the 3,000-point level

After sliding to its lowest level since 24 September 2009, the MSE Share Index remained below the 3,000-point level after registering a minimal gain during this morning’s session. Today, Bank of Valletta plc was the only positive performer with the 4 other active equities closing the day unchanged. The Malta Stock Exchange will be closed tomorrow due to a public holiday celebrating St. Paul’s Shipwreck. During the past four sessions, the MSE Share Index dropped 2% and is currently showing a loss of 3.25% since the start of 2012.

Bank of Valletta plc eased minimally higher today to end the week with a gain of 0.2% to €2.215. Meanwhile, after another inactive session today, HSBC Bank Malta plc ended the week 0.8% lower at €2.55.

Also in the financial sector, Lombard Bank Malta plc maintained yesterday’s 14-month low of €2.53 as a further 4,000 shares changed hands at this level. Likewise, Middlesea Insurance plc traded again at its 21-month low of €0.70 with another 5,000 shares exchanged today. Middlesea will be issuing its 2011 full-year results on Tuesday 28 February. A further 10,500 shares remain on offer at €0.70 with highest bids in the market at €0.65.

The only other active equity today was GO plc which also held on to its previous close of €0.86. During the past four trading sessions, GO’s equity shed 3.4% and touched a fresh all-time low of €0.84 on Tuesday.

The worst performer of the week was Crimsonwing plc with an 18.2% decline to a new all-time low of €0.18. Other notable decliners this week were International Hotel Investments plc (-8.5% to €0.75) and RS2 Software plc (-8.3% to €0.55).

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index eased marginally lower today to 986.341 points as Eurozone yields continued to hover around the level of 2.00%. Earlier on this afternoon, the European Central Bank announced that interest rates remained unchanged at 1% but the ECB’s President Mario Draghi hinted at relaxed rules for banks taking part in a long-term refinancing operation at the end of the month, boosting hopes that additional liquidity will be injected in the European financial system. Meanwhile, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee also voted to keep interest rates at their current record lows but authorised further purchases of UK gilts totalling £50 billion.