Daily Market Highlights (01.04.2020)

HSBC & IHI lead surge in local equity index


Following last Monday’s decline of 1.51%, the MSE Equity Price Index today rebounded by 1.74% to 3,861.743 points. The gain was mostly driven by the upsurge in the share prices of HSBC and IHI which together with the positive performances of three other companies outweighed the declines in six equities. Meanwhile, four companies closed the day unchanged whilst trading activity contracted to €0.19 million. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

HSBC Bank Malta plc rallied 11.1% to recapture the €1.00 level on low volumes totalling 11,006 shares.

Three deals totalling 20,900 shares lifted the equity of International Hotel Investments plc 10.3% higher to the €0.59 level. Last Saturday, IHI issued an announcement providing further updates on its operations and also reassuring stakeholders on its debt obligations and the Group’s strength and stability. In this respect, IHI noted that its swift response in reducing costs as well as the varying schemes adopted by the various governments of the countries in which it has a presence are all contributing towards the preservation of financial resources. IHI noted that it has also been in touch with its funding banks in Malta and internationally. To varying degrees, all banks have agreed or are in advanced discussions with IHI to defer payment of capital and, in some cases, also interest. The company also explained that it has sufficient resources and funds to maintain all its payment obligations including bond interest payments as they arise through the course of the year. Meanwhile, it remained focused on continuing with its work on various projects oversees including new upcoming Corinthia hotels located in Rome, Doha, Bucharest, Moscow and Brussels.

Also among the large companies, Malta International Airport plc added 0.4% to the €4.98 level across 5,651 shares.

FIMBank plc and Medserv plc also trended higher with gains of 4.4% and 4.2% to USD0.47 and €1.00 respectively albeit on trivial volumes.

Low trading activity also took place in Trident Estates plc (€1.27), Harvest Technology plc (€1.46) and Main Street Complex plc (€0.48) all of which ended the day in negative territory.

Bank of Valletta plc slipped by 1.2% to the €0.85 level across 72,513 shares. Today, BOV issued an announcement providing an update on its intention to propose, subject to regulatory approval, a final net dividend of €0.017 per share for the 2019 financial year. In this respect, BOV explained that in light of the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic, and following a strong recommendation of the ECB of 27 March 2020 on dividend distributions applicable to all European banks, the bank has decided to keep the initial proposal for distribution of the dividend but make the actual payment conditional on the reassessment of the situation once the uncertainties caused by ‘COVID-19’ disappear, the earliest of which, in line with the ECB’s recommendation, would be 1 October 2020. BOV further explained that it entered 2020 with a robust capital base and strong liquidity buffers. The bank is closely monitoring the situation and constantly assessing the impact of the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic, including the conservation of capital for supporting its clients, both businesses and retail, and the Maltese economy at large by offering a range of supports in a responsible and prudent way.

RS2 Software plc lost 2.6% to close at the €1.87 level on two deals totalling 10,033 shares.

The other negative performing equity today was Malita Investments plc with a drop of 1.3% to the €0.77 level across 13,500 shares.

Meanwhile, a single deal of 2,450 shares left the equity of PG plc at the €1.70 level.

MIDI plc maintained the €0.38 level across 26,000 shares.

Lombard Bank Malta plc (3,000 shares) and Mapfre Middlesea plc (10,000 shares) traded flat at €2.10 and €2.26 respectively.

The RF MGS Index moved lower for the first time in four days as it slipped by 0.36% to 1,129.360 points. On the economic front, manufacturing activity in the euro dropped by more than expected in March, mostly dragged by considerable contraction taking place in France, Italy and Spain.

Today, Hudson Malta plc announced that in light of the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic, it is taking all necessary actions in order to ensure the long term sustainability of its business. Moreover, the company added that it remains firmly committed to honouring the due and punctual performance of all its bond obligations, specifically the payment of all amounts of principal and interest payable to bondholders as and when due. Accordingly, bondholders shall be receiving settlement in full of the next interest payment on its due date, this being on 6 April 2020.

Similarly, SP Finance plc announced that in light of the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic, it is taking all necessary actions in order to safeguard its business interests including implementing all the necessary cost-cutting and cost-curtailment measures at all levels of its operations. The company also added that despite the negative impact on its financial performance, its financial position is robust and allows it to meet its financial obligations as they fall due.