Strong gains for Lombard Bank and Farsons

Following yesterday’s 9.6% jump in the share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc, the equity climbed a further 3.9% during this morning’s session to reach a 7-month high of €2.96 on volumes of 10,400 shares. Lombard’s shares ended the week as the best performers with a 7.6% rise ahead of the Bank’s 2010 full-year results publication on 10 March.

The only other positive performing equity today was Simonds Farsons Cisk plc as its share price rallied by 7.1% to a 4-month high of €1.80 on low volumes of 3,800 shares. On 24 November Farsons had issued its Interim Directors’ Statement explaining that the overall performance during the third quarter (August to October) of the Group’s fiscal year ending 31 January 2011 was satisfactory despite the highly challenging and competitive environment in which the Group operates. The Directors stated that turnover continues to increase across all segments with some notable successes in export markets.

On the other hand the share prices of the two large banks closed lower today. HSBC Bank Malta plc reversed some of its recent gains as the share price dropped 0.9% back to the €3.50 level on volumes of 5,780 shares. Despite today’s downturn, HSBC still ended the week 2.8% higher. Meanwhile Bank of Valletta plc ended this week 1.1% lower at €3.10 as the equity closed lower for the fourth consecutive session. High volumes of over 60,000 shares traded today.

International Hotel Investments plc and GO plc both closed unchanged during this morning’s session to end the week in negative territory. 39,990 IHI shares were exchanged today with the share price holding on to the €0.97 level representing a 1% weekly drop. GO’s shares again recovered from an intra-day low of €1.90 to regain the €1.929 level across three trades totalling 5,000 shares. For the first time in six weeks, the share price of the telecoms operator closed the week in negative territory with a 0.6% decline.

Today the MSE Share Index slid 0.3% lower to 3,876.391 but still closed the week 1.1% higher. This was mainly due to the weekly increases in the share prices of HSBC, Malta International Airport plc, Lombard Bank Malta plc, FIMBank plc and Simonds Farsons Cisk plc which offset the declines in BOV, IHI and GO.

The local bond market remained in negative territory for the third successive week. The Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged 0.1% lower this week to a new 12-month low of 982.540 points. The local bond benchmark has already dropped 1% since the start of the year as the benchmark Eurozone yields recovered strongly to the 3.19% level.

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