Shallow trading activity across local equities

Shallow trading activity persisted across the local equity market – a trend normally evident during the peak of the summer period. Trading volumes across local equities failed to surpass the €100,000 level for the fourth consecutive day with just over €21,600 worth of shares changing hands during this morning’s session.

The MSE Share Index recovered most of yesterday’s 1% drop with a 0.9% rise today to 3,085.284 points. Today’s upturn was mainly due to the 6.3% jump in International Hotel Investments plc to the €0.85 level on a single trade of 1,000 shares.

Malta International Airport plc shares edged minimally higher to close at the €1.74 level across five trades totalling 4,400 shares. Yesterday, the airport operator revealed a record number of passenger movements in a month with 445,232 passengers during the month of July. During the first seven months of the year, MIA registered a 2.8% increase in passenger numbers compared to its updated 2012 growth forecast of 1.5% to a new yearly record of 3.56 million passenger movements.

Meanwhile, MaltaPost plc’s equity tumbled a further 7.9% to a new 2-year low of €0.82 on a small deal of 546 shares. Following this morning’s downturn, the share price of the postal operator is now 18% below its value at the beginning of the year reflecting the 54.5% drop in profitability to €0.5 million mainly due to the adverse impact on the Company’s revenues and cost base emanating from the changes in tariffs imposed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on cross border mail.

Middlesea Insurance plc’s share price also closed at a new 32-month low of €0.605 on just 530 shares. The shares of Middlesea currently rank as the worst performer in 2012 with a year-to-date drop of 24.4% despite a sizeable turnaround in profitability to €2.79 million during the first six months of 2012.

The only other active equity was Bank of Valletta plc which held on to the €2.11 level across three trades totalling 5,846 shares.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged 0.1% higher to 995.864 points although Eurozone yields reached a 1-month high of 1.469% this afternoon. The renewed upturn in yields reflects improved investor sentiment on the back of the increased prospect that the European Central Bank (ECB) will resume its support in the bond markets to help ailing countries in the region.