Share Index down another 0.2% to a new 4-month low

Following last week’s eighth consecutive weekly decline, this morning the MSE Share Index shed another 0.2% to drop to 3,473.255 points – its lowest level since 6 December 2010. The Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index also closed the day in negative territory as the benchmark 10-year Eurozone yield recovered sharply to above the 3.30% level this morning. As a result the local MGS benchmark dropped another 0.2% to a new 21-month low of 975.265 points.

Bank of Valletta plc failed to hold on to an intra-day high of €2.92 as its share price dropped back to the €2.91 level, representing a 0.2% decline from the previous close. A total of 18,739 shares traded today. Lombard Bank Malta plc also slumped 2% back to the €3.00 level but on very low volumes of 300 shares as the equity is now trading without the entitlement to the full-year dividend of €0.115 gross per share. Meanwhile HSBC Bank Malta plc traded unchanged at the €2.92 level across seven trades totalling 7,350 shares.

GO plc shares transacted at a new 18-month low of €1.548 representing a marginal decline from the previous close. Only 2,500 shares changed hands today on lack of bids in the market. Further offers of GO shares are already placed lower at the €1.546 level as investor sentiment towards this equity was dented with the recent announcement of a 50% cut in the dividend. Shareholders as at close of trading on 4 May will be entitled to the full-year net dividend of €0.05 per share.

Middlesea Insurance plc also declined on low volumes. The equity dropped 1% to a fresh 6-month low of €0.95 on weak activity of 867 shares. The insurance company did not declare any dividends with respect to the 2010 financial year but is expected to resume dividend payments as from next year subject to shareholder approval of a resolution allowing the Directors to offset the accumulated losses against the other reserves of the Company.

The only other active equity, Malta International Airport plc, maintained the €1.76 level on a single trade of 10,000 shares. Investors have until next Wednesday 30 March to gain entitlement to the final net dividend of €0.035 per share as the equity will turn ex-div as from Friday 1 April.