Share Index up but volumes shrink

The MSE Share Index advanced for the second consecutive session as the share price of Bank of Valletta plc continued to recover from its 4-month low. The Share Index added 0.6% today to 3,588.819 points. Volumes however decreased and only 3 equities were active due to the prevailing subdued sentiment as a result of the political unrest in Libya. In fact, only €75,885 worth of shares changed hands during this morning’s session.

Following yesterday’s 1.7% rise, BOV’s share price climbed a further 2.4% today to regain the €2.969 level on volumes of just over 11,300 shares. Meanwhile HSBC Bank Malta plc maintained the €2.94 level across low volumes totalling 1,250 shares.

The only other active equity on the local market was GO plc. The share price again recovered from a fresh 16-month low of €1.72 to close at the €1.749 level representing a minimal decline from the previous close. A total of 22,500 shares traded today. The share price of GO’s Greek investment, Forthnet, has also declined in recent weeks. In fact, after touching an intra-day high of €0.71 on 15 February, Forthnet’s equity has since slid back to around the €0.50 level. Both GO and Forthnet still have to publish their 2010 financial statements.

Lombard Bank Malta plc will be issuing their full-year results tomorrow followed by Middlesea Insurance plc, Grand Harbour Marina plc and Malta International Airport plc next week.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index again closed marginally lower as it retreated by 0.1% to 976.340 points. The price of the 5.25% MGS 2030 declined by 9 basis points to 101.49%. Following last week’s comments by the President of the European Central Bank that an interest rate hike is possible in April due to increasing inflationary concerns, yesterday the German ECB Governing Council member Axel Weber indicated that there could be as many as three hikes of 0.25% each raising ECB’s rate to 1.75% by year-end.

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