Only 3 equities trade today

Following the long weekend, trading activity on the Malta Stock Exchange was limited to only 3 equities. After sliding to its lowest level since 24 September 2009 last week, the MSE Share Index remained below the 3,000-point level again today as Bank of Valletta plc and 6pm Holdings plc closed lower and GO plc registered a slight gain. Activity may improve after the start of the financial reporting season which is due to commence next week with the publication of the full-year results by Island Hotels Group Holdings plc (23 February), HSBC Bank Malta plc (24 February) and Middlesea Insurance plc (28 February).

BOV’s share price eased 0.2% lower to €2.21 with volumes remaining particularly low as just over 7,500 shares were exchanged today. Meanwhile, HSBC Bank Malta plc remained inactive for the second successive day with outstanding bids placed at the last traded price of €2.55 and lowest offers at €2.565.

Trading activity in GO plc also remained low with only 2,500 shares passing through the market today. The equity opened at €0.851 but recovered to close the day at €0.878, representing a 2% gain from its previous close.

In the IT sector, the Sterling denominated equity of 6pm Holdings plc dropped 7.5% to GBP0.37 across 3 trades totalling 10,000 shares.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index eased marginally higher today as the Central Bank of Malta increased the indicative bid prices of most of the Malta Government Stocks.

The international markets were dominated by improved sentiment following last night’s approval by the Greek parliament of an unpopular austerity bill to secure a second €130 billion bailout and avoid a default in March. There were also positive signals from the bond market as Italy succeeded in raising €12 billion in a 12-month Treasury Bill auction at a rate of 2.23% compared to last month’s auction what was set at 2.735%.