Shallow trading activity in local equity market

During this morning’s session only €43,822 worth changed hands across four equities with the MSE Share Index edging 0.2% higher to 3,055.560 points. This was due to the 0.4% rise in HSBC Bank Malta plc to the €2.56 level across four trades amounting to 5,386 shares.

Similarly, Malta International Airport plc regained the €1.75 after rising by 1.2% during this morning’s session on volumes of 10,000 shares. The airport operator is expected to publish the detailed 2011 traffic results together with a forecast for 2012 shortly.

Meanwhile the share price of Bank of Valletta plc eased minimally lower to €2.249 across six trades totalling 5,590 shares. The only other active equity, Middlesea Insurance plc traded unchanged at its 20-month low of €0.72 on minute volumes of 252 shares.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index recovered by 0.2% to regain the 987.274 points as Eurozone yields tumbled back below the 2% after the US Federal Reserve yesterday evening announced that it plans to maintain rates at the historically low levels of between 0% to 0.25% until late 2014. Moreover the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke indicated that a third round of quantitative easing remains an option as the US economy is still vulnerable and has not entered a new growth phase.

Tomorrow, the Treasury will publish the prices of the 3 new Malta Government Stock issues announced earlier this week. The Treasury will be issuing €150 million (with an over-allotment option of up to another €150 million) in the following stocks: (i) 4.25% MGS 2017 (III) (Fungibility Issue); (ii) 4.3% MGS 2022 (II) and (iii) 5.2% MGS 2031 (I) (Fungibility Issue). The subscription period for the General Public will take place between Wednesday 1 February and Friday 3 February. On the secondary market, high volumes sustained in the 5.20% MGS 2031 with €1.78 million (nominal) changing hands during this morning’s session. The price of this stock reversed yesterday’s 35 basis points decline to regain the 102% level in line with the Central Bank’s bid price.