Daily Market Highlights (20.02.12)

  • HSBC again lifts the MSE Share Index into positive territory as the local equity benchmark edges closer to the 3,000 points level to wipe out last week’s 0.2% decline. In fact, the MSE Share Index edged 0.2% higher today on the back of a 0.8% rise in HSBC which offset the marginal decline in GO. Meanwhile the only two other active equities, BOV and MaltaPost, traded unchanged. Download a copy of the Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index slid 0.2% lower today in line with the rise in yields towards the 1.95% level on the back of renewed optimism that EU leaders will reach an agreement on Greece’s second bailout amounting to €130 billion.
  • High volumes traded in the 6.75% Corinthia Finance plc 2012 with over €185,000 (nominal) changing hands during this morning’s session. This bond is due for redemption on 8 April 2012. In anticipation of this redemption, Corinthia Finance last week announced the submission of an application to the Listing Authority with respect to an issue of a new €7.5 million bond maturing between 2019 and 2022. The proceeds of this new bond will be used to partly fund the redemption of the aforementioned maturing bond.
  • Furthermore, the Malta Stock Exchange this morning announced that the retail tranches of the recently issued Malta Government Stocks have been admitted to the Official List with effect from today and trading is expected to commence as from tomorrow, 21 February.
  • Following last week’s 0.4% rise, HSBC’s share price rose by a further 0.8% today to regain the €2.58 level on low volumes of 2,300 shares. Highest outstanding bids in the market at €2.556 with lowest offers at the €2.59 level. The Bank is scheduled to publish its 2011 full-year results on 24 February.
  • Just under 6,500 BOV shares changed hands during this morning’s session at the €2.17 level, unchanged from the previous close. Few other offers unsatisfied at the closing price with highest bids still placed at the €2.16 level.
  • Meanwhile GO eased another 0.2% lower to a fresh all-time low of €0.83 across two trades totalling 13,000 shares. Further offers remain unsatisfied at the last traded price with best bids pitched at the €0.805 level. GO’s share price slumped by 49.4% in 2011 and has declined by a further 15.3% since the start of 2012 as investors shun the equity over the uncertainty surrounding its investment in the Greek telecommunications group Forthnet.
  • MaltaPost held on to the €0.95 level on a single trade of 836 shares. However offers are already placed lower at €0.939 with highest bids pitched at the €0.90 level. Last week, the postal operator issued its interim statement revealing the expectation by the Directors of a reduction in profitability for the first half of the year to 31 March 2012. During the first six months of the previous financial year, MaltaPost generated a pre-tax profit of €1.1 million. The lower level of profits reflects the general challenging economic environment, the incidence of higher operating costs and the ‘local letter post’ business which remains loss-making since the postage rates are still not commercially viable. Further details available here.