Sixth negative day for equities

The local equity market wrapped up a dismal week with a sixth consecutive drop on persistent concerns by investors on the political unrest in Libya persist. While international markets recovered today with the Nikkei 225 in Asia rising 0.7% and the FTSE 100 up 1% at the time of writing, the MSE Share Index shed another 0.5% to 3,609.639 points mainly on the back of further declines in the share prices of the two large banks. HSBC Bank Malta plc slid a further 0.7% this morning to the €2.98 level on volumes of 24,570 shares. During the past five trading sessions, the equity plunged 13.6%, ranking as the worst performer this week despite trading with the entitlement to the final gross dividend of €0.077 per share. Bank of Valletta plc also closed in the red with a decline of 0.1% to the €2.99 level on volumes of 16,271. BOV’s equity dropped 0.3% this week.

Also in the financial sector, Middlesea Insurance plc slipped 3.8% to the €1.01 level on low volumes of 4,572 shares. The company is scheduled to publish its 2010 full-year results on 14 March.

Selling pressure in the equity market also spread to MaltaPost plc as the share price of the postal operator retreated by 5% to the €1.04 level on volumes of 7,022 shares. Recently MaltaPost announced that since 1 October 2010, the financial performance of the Company was slightly below that of the corresponding period last year whilst conditions in the market place continued to follow the trends already well-established.

RS2 Software plc also lost ground as the equity slumped 11.1% to a new all-time low of €0.40 across two trades totalling 4,500 shares. Meanwhile a single trade of 13,000 Crimsonwing plc shares was transacted at €0.379, representing a 1.1% rise over the previous close.

The sell-off across local corporate bonds continued today with the highest decline in the 7.5% Mediterranean Investments Holding plc 2015 which slumped 11 percentage points to the 90% level. Similarly the 6.25% International Hotel Investments plc 2019 slipped 10 percentage points to 90%. The Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index dropped 0.2% to the 982.561 points as the benchmark Eurozone yields recouped the 3.17% level and MGS prices dropped.

Next week, Plaza Centres plc and FIMBank plc will be issuing their 2010 full-year results.

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