Daily Market Highlights (15.12.11)

  • Third successive decline in the MSE Share Index as the local equity benchmark retreated by another 0.9% to a new 27-month low of 3,057.504 points on the back of drops in the share prices of HSBC and IHI. On the other hand, IHI edged minimally higher. Download a copy of the Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index rose by a further 0.2% today to 987.099 points as Eurozone yields dropped back to 1.92% as uncertainty over a possible solution to the prevailing Eurozone crisis dampens investor sentiment. The longest-dated MGS, i.e. the 5.2% MGS 2031, traded up to an all-time high of 102.80% on strong volumes of over €1.2 million (nominal).
  • HSBC’s share price drops 2% to a fresh 31-month low of €2.50 across seven trades totalling 3,615 shares. Yesterday afternoon the Bank announced that it will be closing down a total of six branches by mid-March 2012 as part of the Bank’s cost savings plans. Moreover, as announced in its recent Interim Directors Statement, employees will be offered voluntary retirement schemes which will be the main item in the expected one-off restructuring charge of €10 million. Further details on the Interim Directors’ Statement available here.
  • Meanwhile BOV inched minimally higher to close at €2.491 also on low volumes of 1,805 shares. Few other bids unsatisfied at the closing price whilst lowest offers now at the €2.50 level. The Bank is scheduled to hold its Annual General Meeting next Friday. Amongst the resolutions, shareholders will be asked to approve the recommended final gross dividend of €0.08 per share and the 1 for 8 bonus share issue.
  • The only other active equity, IHI, ended this morning’s session 2.2% lower at €0.83 on a single deal of 1.085 shares. Other bids unsatisfied at the last traded price whilst lowest offers pitched at the €0.844 level.
  • Yesterday evening, GO plc announced that in collaboration with its parent company, Emirates International Telecommunications Malta Ltd, it will be requesting Forthnet (through their joint-venture Forgendo) to postpone the decisions to be taken at today’s Extraordinary General Meeting to 13 January 2012. The EGM was called to ask shareholders to approve a number of changes to Forthnet’s share capital as well as a €30 million rights issue in line with the recently agreed €90 million debt restructuring deal. GO stated that given the current macroeconomic environment in Greece and the adverse impact on Forthnet’s performance, it requires further evaluation of the request made by Forthnet to increase shareholders’ equity through a rights issue. GO added that in their view it is premature for the company, through Forgendo Ltd, to commit any funds to the proposed capital increase. GO also announced that it will again re-assess the situation at Forthnet and in Greece ahead of the re-scheduled EGM on 13 January 2012 and take a position whether to support or otherwise the proposed share capital increase of Forthnet.