Daily Market Highlights (20.02.2018)

  • The MSE Equity Price Index surged by 0.79% to a six-week high of 4,492.387 points today, reflecting the gains in the share prices of HSBC, BOV, MIA and MaltaPost which outweighed the declines in RS2 and Malita. Meanwhile, Farsons and Trident closed the day unchanged. Although the attention was initially focused on the publication of the 2017 financial results by HSBC, most of today’s trading activity took place in the equity of Bank of Valletta plc which regained the €1.83 level (+1.1%) on encouraging volumes totalling 145,822 shares (representing 55% of the total value of equities traded). Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • The RF MGS Index erased most of the gains registered in the previous two days as it slumped by 0.28% to 1,106.732 points. Euro zone sovereign yields rose today (bond prices fell) as the appointment of Spanish Economy Minister Mr Luis de Guindos as European Central Bank Vice President starting in May effectively raised the chances that current German Bundesbank Governor Mr Jens Weidmann will take over from Mr Mario Draghi as ECB President in 2019. The possible appointment of Mr Weidmann as ECB President is widely seen by many analysts as a sign that the central bank could adopt a faster approach to monetary policy tightening.
  • HSBC Bank Malta plc jumped by 3.8% to an over three-month high of €1.89 across 48,553 shares. This morning, the bank reported a 9.5% drop in adjusted pre-tax profits to €55.6 million, reflecting downward pressures on revenues as well as higher operating costs. Nonetheless, the bank is recommending an ordinary gross dividend of €0.0386 per share (€0.0251 per share net of tax) as well as a special gross dividend of €0.0854 per share (€0.0555 net of tax). The total net final dividend of €0.0806 per share will be paid on 19 April 2018 to all shareholders as at close of trading on Friday 9 March 2018. In this respect, the bank explained that its strong capital position enables it to sustain a payout ratio at 65% and also to pay an extraordinary dividend out of retained earnings.
  • Three deals totalling 3,375 shares lifted the equity of Malta International Airport plc 0.8% higher to the €4.98 level. Tomorrow, the airport operator is expected to report its 2017 financial results.
  • The other positive performing equity today was MaltaPost plc which advanced by 0.5% to the €1.96 level albeit on trivial volumes.
  • Low trading activity also took place in Simonds Farsons Cisk plc which maintained its ten-month low of €7.20.
  • Trident Estates plc ended flat at the €1.91 level after briefly touching its all-time high of €2.00. A total of 51,601 shares changed hands.
  • Meanwhile, RS2 Software plc extended its recent negative streak as the equity lost a further 2.3% to a fresh 28-month low of €1.28 albeit on just 5,723 shares.
  • Malita Investments plc retracted by 1.2% back to the €0.82 level across 3,000 shares.