MSE Share Index up 2.2% in January

The local equity market shed 0.3% during the last trading day of January but still closed the month 2.2% higher mainly due to the strong gains in the share prices of Malta International Airport plc and HSBC Bank Malta plc. Following the 38.3% jump recorded in 2010, MIA’s equity garnered a further 10.2% during January 2011 following the recent confirmation that passenger movements in 2010 grew by 12.8% to 3.29 million and the Company expects to maintain this record level during the current year. Meanwhile HSBC’s equity jumped 7.5% to the €3.50 level ahead of the Bank’s 2010 full-year results publication due in the coming weeks. This morning’s HSBC’s share price held on to the €3.50 level on high volumes of over 40,000 shares .The equity touched an intra-day low of €3.48.

The other positive performers during the first month of 2011 include Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, Lombard Bank Malta plc and Island Hotels Group Holdings plc as the three equities posted a rise of over 5%. While Lombard and IHG were inactive today, the share price of Farsons maintained the €1.80 level on volumes of 3,092 shares. Further bids are placed in the market with lowest offers at the €1.90 level.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Plaza Centres plc ranks as the worst performer of the month with an 11.2% plunge despite the fact that the latest communication by the Company revealed an improved performance during the third quarter of 2010. Plaza had also registered an increase in profitability during the first half of 2010. Furthermore, occupancy remained high at 94% while the new extension on Bisazza Lane is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2011.

Following the 13.8% drop in 2010, RS2 Software plc continued to underperform the market as the IT equity shed a further 6.3% since the start of 2011 despite revealing new contracts in the US and German markets. Bank of Valletta plc was also amongst the negative performers as its equity shed 3.3%. BOV edged 0.3% higher today to €3.11 on activity of over 16,000 shares.

This morning, MaltaPost plc held its Annual General Meeting during which shareholders approved all the resolutions on the agenda including a net dividend of €0.04 per share which will be paid either in cash or in shares (according to the shareholders’ instructions) on 11 February. The equity of the postal operator shed 1% today to drop back to the €1.00 level on 5 trades totalling 10,242 shares.

In contrast to the uplift in the Share Index, the local bond market ended the first month of 2011 in negative territory as the benchmark 10-year Eurozone yield recovered strongly from the multi-year lows registered in 2010. Since the start of 2011, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index shed 0.9% to 983.88 points. The prices of the two new Malta Government Stock issues will be announced on Wednesday 9 February.

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