Daily Market Highlights (17.11.2021)

Heightened activity in Lombard shares


The MSE Equity Price Index erased most of yesterday’s sharp uplift as it retracted by 1.21% to 3,878.653 points. The drops in Lombard, MaltaPost and Farsons offset the positive performance of Harvest whilst BOV, HSBC, MIA and Tigné Mall closed the day unchanged. Trading activity improved to €0.14 million on the back of the heightened activity in Lombard shares. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

Lombard Bank Malta plc slid by 5.1% back to the €1.85 level on 60,000 shares having a market value of €0.11 million.

Lombard’s postal subsidiary – MaltaPost plc – eased by 0.8% to the €1.25 level across 3,912 shares.

The other negative performing equity today was Simonds Farsons Cisk plc as it lost 15.3% to the €8.30 level albeit on trivial volumes.

Very low trading activity also took place in the equities of HSBC Bank Malta plc and Tigné Mall plc as both companies finished the day flat at €0.83 and €0.80 respectively. Last Friday, HSBC Malta issued an Interim Directors’ Statement updating the market on its performance during the nine-month period ended 30 September 2021. During this period, the Bank posted a profit before tax of €25.2 million which is significantly higher than the €12.2 million generated during the comparable period in 2020. The improved financial performance was mainly driven by higher insurance income which was partially offset by a decrease in interest income. On the expenditure side, adjusted costs were €0.9 million higher than those reported in the same period in 2020 reflecting higher regulatory requirements. The Bank noted that from a liquidity and capital position perspective, its buffers and capital ratios remained strong and in excess of regulatory requirements.

Within the same sector, Bank of Valletta plc held on to the €0.88 level across 20,064 shares.

Also among the large companies by market value, Malta International Airport plc stayed at the €6.00 level on light volumes totalling 500 shares. Last Friday, MIA announced that during the month of October, it welcomed 428,426 passengers which is the strongest monthly figure since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport operator also provided information about its financial performance and position until September 2021. In this respect, MIA explained that revenues amounted to €32.3 million compared to €25 million in the same period in 2020 and €77.3 million in 2019. As the airport operator continued to exercise strict control over costs, operating expenses contracted by 9.3% to €16.5 million compared to €18.2 million in 2020. As a result of the considerable increase in revenues and the reduction in costs, EBITDA more than doubled to €15.8 million compared to €6.8 million in 2020. However, this is still 68.2% lower than the EBITDA of €49.6 million recorded in Q1-Q3 2019. From a financial position perspective, cash balances dropped by €10.6 million to €20.5 million compared to €31 million as at the end of 2020. On the other hand, the airport operator remained free from any bank and other borrowings.

Meanwhile, a single deal of 2,000 shares lifted the share price of Harvest Technology plc 0.7% higher to the €1.51 level.

The RF MGS Index trended minimally lower to 1,085.073 points as sovereign bond yields in the euro area rebounded slightly after ECB President Christine Lagarde yesterday explained that an early tightening of monetary policy will risk derailing economic recovery. Indeed, during a hearing of the European Parliament’s committee on economic affairs, Ms Lagarde unequivocally said that “if we [the ECB] were to take any tightening measures now, it could cause far more harm than it would do any good.”  Meanwhile, concerns of overheating inflation intensified after European gas prices surged as Germany suspended the approval process for the construction of the ‘Nord Stream 2’ gas pipeline from Russia to Europe.