GO and Farsons drag MSE Equity Price Index lower
Following yesterday’s strong rally, the MSE Equity Price Index shed 0.03% to 4,027.956 points as the declines in GO and Farsons were enough to outweigh the gains the BMIT, Harvest, HSBC and Malita. Meanwhile, Lombard and BOV both closed unchanged as overall trading activity eased to €0.1 million from €0.27 million yesterday. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
GO plc fell by 3.4% to the €3.46 level as 1,900 shares changed hands.
Simonds Farsons Cisk plc lost 0.5% to the €9.45 level across 2,245 shares.
In the technology sector, BMIT Technologies plc regained the €0.50 level as it climbed by just over 2% across a single trade of 3,300 shares whilst Harvest Technology plc closed at a 5-week high of €1.50 across 18,715 shares. Yesterday, Harvest published a Quarterly Financial Update providing information about its performance in Q1 2021. In this respect, the company explained that it recorded a profit before tax of €1.12 million, representing an increase of 7% when compared to the projections at the time of the IPO. Looking ahead, Harvest noted it will maintain its commitment to investments with a view of supporting its growth strategy. Harvest reiterated its pre-tax profit target of €4 million for 2021 whilst also adding that it expects to distribute an aggregate dividend amount similar to that distributed in 2020 (which amounted to a total net dividend of €0.06 per share), split over two interim payments during the course of 2021 and a final dividend in the first part of 2022.
A single trade of 5,000 shares lifted Malita Investments plc 2.3% higher to the €0.90 level.
In the retail banking sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc climbed by 3.1% to the €0.83 level across 20,081 shares. Meanwhile, Lombard Bank Malta plc traded flat at the €2.00 level across 1,005 shares whilst Bank of Valletta plc closed unchanged at the €0.90 level as 25,702 shares changed hands. Yesterday, BOV announced that the full transition from Raiffeisen Bank to Western Union in relation to payments in USD is planned to start in the coming days. Moreover, the bank published a Quarterly Update wherein it explained that revenues decreased by 4% in Q1 2021 but operating costs increased by 4% mainly due to increases in employee compensation, investment in technology, and higher amortisation charges. The bank’s financial performance in the first three months of the year was also negatively impacted by impairment charges related to long-outstanding non-performing loans. Overall, BOV posted a pre-tax profit of €9.3 million in Q1 2021 which is in line with the performance recorded during the same period in 2020. Looking ahead, the bank explained that it continues to focus on its operations with a view of increasing efficiencies and enhance customer experience.
The RF MGS Index slipped by 0.15% to a near-8 month low at 1,107.316 points. From a data perspective, Germany’s industrial production rose by 2.5% month-on-month in April, representing its largest output increase since last October as the country continues to recover from its winter lockdown. Meanwhile in the US, today’s nonfarm payrolls jobs report revealed that jobs increased by much less than expected (+266,000 jobs) whilst the unemployment rate rose to 6.1% amid an escalating shortage of available workers. Furthermore, March’s nonfarm payroll numbers which were originally estimated at 916,000 were revised lower to 770,000.
Today, LifeStar Insurance plc published a Prospectus in relation to the issuance of €10 million 4% unsecured subordinated bonds maturing between 2026 and 2031 which are also subject to an over-allotment option of €3 million in the event of over-subscription. LifeStar Insurance is licensed by the MFSA to carry out Class I (Life and Annuity) and Class III (Linked Long Term) business. The company provides life insurance products offering a comprehensive range of protection, savings, investment and pension products.