HSBC & BOV drive the MSE Equity Price Index lower
The MSE Equity Price Index dropped by 0.29% to 4,012.056 points as the declines in the share prices of HSBC, BOV and MaltaPost outweighed the gains in MPC and Mapfre Middlesea whilst a further five companies closed unchanged. Trading activity contracted to €0.3 million (compared to €0.74 million yesterday which was the highest in a month) as volumes transacted in MPC represented 43% of today’s total value of equities traded. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.
Malta Properties Company plc surged 3.7% to the €0.51 level on strong volumes totalling 255,760 shares.
A single deal of 3,561 shares lifted the equity of Mapfre Middlesea plc almost 5% higher to the €2.16 level. The company’s Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on 25 March to consider and approve the audited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2020. The Directors will also consider the recommendation of a dividend.
In contrast, MaltaPost plc tumbled 12.1% to the €1.16 albeit on light volumes. The company is due to hold its AGM remotely on 12 February.
HSBC Bank Malta plc lost 3.4% back to the €0.84 level on a total of 71,754 shares.
Within the same sector, Bank of Valletta plc retracted 1.1% to the €0.93 level across 13,070 shares.
Also among the large companies by market value, Malta International Airport plc maintained the €6.15 level on just 813 shares. Yesterday, MIA announced that during 2020, passenger movements dropped by 76.1% to almost 1.75 million – the lowest number since MIA took over the management of Malta’s only air terminal in 2002. This drop is in line with the trend in Europe. Looking ahead, MIA explained that several international industry organisations are predicting that, following a very weak Q1, the tourism industry may expect to start seeing signs of recovery with the onset of the summer season. MIA welcomed the International Air Transport Association’s recent appeal to key EU policymakers to agree on a common digital European Covid-19 vaccination certificate which would constitute a huge stride towards the safe reopening of borders without the need for testing and quarantines. MIA also noted that its Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on 24 February to conduct an assessment of the current situation, which continues to evolve. During this meeting, the Directors will consider the financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2020 and discuss the recommendation of a dividend. In conclusion, MIA explained that given the prevailing uncertain environment and the fluidity of the situation coupled with the limited visibility of the way ahead, it does not have sufficient data to provide the market with reliable guidance in relation to 2021 forecasts.
In the technology segment, BMIT Technologies plc (54,350 shares) and RS2 Software plc (500 shares) traded unchanged at €0.48 and €2.00 respectively.
PG plc remained at its all-time high of €2.06 on volumes amounting to 20,042 shares.
Simonds Farsons Cisk plc held on to the €7.55 level across 1,272 shares.
The RF MGS Index erased some of yesterday’s gains as it retreated by 0.08% to 1,130.363 points. In Europe, EU leaders will today hold a meeting to discuss how to speed up the pace of COVID-19 inoculation. In this respect, the Austrian chancellor is also taking the lead in calling for the European Medicines Agency to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine given that supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to slow down over the coming weeks. The EU will also discuss the idea of a common vaccine certificate to allow countries to ease border restrictions.