Unusually high trading volumes in HSBC shares

During the last trading session of 2010 an unusually large number of HSBC Bank Malta plc shares changed hands. Trading activity amounted to over 113,000 shares with the share price rising a further 1.7% to the €3.255 level, representing a 5% weekly rise. Bank of Valletta plc also traded higher for the fourth consecutive session as its share price gained a further 0.7% to reach a new 2010 closing high of €3.858 across 10,350 shares. BOV ended this week 4.3% higher.

Malta International Airport plc recovered yesterday’s 0.6% decline as its share price climbed 1.2% to regain its 2010 high of €1.66 on a single trade of 5,000 shares.

On the Alternative List, Loqus Holdings plc maintained the €0.20 level across a small trade of 700 shares. Meanwhile, Santumas Shareholdings plc inched marginally higher to close at the €2.567 level.

2010 Overview

The local equity market closed the year in positive territory. After rising by 7.9% in 2009, the MSE Share Index gained a further 9.3% during the past twelve months. Most of this upturn was recorded in December following a rally in the three largest equities by market cap, namely HSBC Bank Malta plc, Bank of Valletta plc and International Hotel Investments plc.

The top performer of 2010 was MaltaPost plc which recorded a 42.9% jump in its share price to an all-time high of €1.00. MaltaPost shares are now trading at double the January 2008 IPO price of €0.50. The postal operator is closely followed in the 2010 rankings by Malta International Airport plc (+38.3%) on the back of a 13% increase in passenger movements during the first eleven months; Middlesea Insurance plc (+26.2%) after divesting from its Italian loss making subsidiary and Bank of Valletta plc (+24.61%) which produce a strong set of results for the financial year ended 30 September 2010.

On the other hand the laggards of 2010 are 6pm Holdings plc (-20.9%) and RS2 Software plc (-13.8%) as the IT industry was hard hit by the global recession. GO plc (-7.9%) and FIMBank plc (-13.6%) are amongst the other negative performing equities for calendar year 2010.

For the second year running, the local bond market lagged behind equities. In fact, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index closed the year at 992.63 points representing a yearly increase of just 0.7% compared to an equity index improvement of 9.3%.

No trading session will be held tomorrow and the Malta Stock Exchange will open again for business on Monday 3 January 2011. Wishing a prosperous New Year to all our readers.

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