Share Index up as BOV and HSBC gain

Following yesterday’s 4.6% decline in the MSE Share Index, the local equity benchmark advanced by 1.4% during this morning’s trading session following partial recoveries in the share prices of the two large banks. Fresh demand for banking equities lifted the share price of Bank of Valletta plc by 6.1% to €2.60 and that of HSBC Bank Malta plc by 2.2% to €2.78. Volumes in HSBC shares were higher than average as over 40,500 shares traded today.

The recovery in the local market also reflects the rebound seen in international share prices in response to last night’s statement by the Federal Reserve pledging to keep interest rates close to zero for a further two years. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the US jumped by 4.7% – its biggest one-day increase since March 2009.

GO plc’s equity registered a late recovery with the share price initially dropping to a new all-time low of €1.20 before recovering to close at the €1.26 level representing a 4.1% rise over the previous closing price. Trading activity however was very weak as investors await the publication of the Group’s interim results.

On the other hand, International Hotel Investments plc slipped another 2.6% lower back to the €0.75 while Malta International Airport plc failed to recover from yesterday’s 6.3% drop as a further 22,000 shares changed hands at the €1.50 level.

A single trade of just over 400 Middlesea Insurance plc was transacted 10% below the last closing price at the €0.90 level following last week’s interim results publication which revealed a 52.9% drop in pre-tax profits to €1.6 million due to the negative results on the Group’s investment portfolio and a reduced share of profits from the associated undertaking MSV Life plc. The market is still awaiting the details with respect to the takeover bid to be launched by Mapfre Internacional S.A. after the latter raised its equity stake in Middlesea to over 50%.

On the bond market, the Central Bank of Malta Stockbroker lowered its Malta Government Stock bid prices in line with the marginal increase in eurozone yields. As a result, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index slid 0.2% lower to 987.885 points.

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