Daily Market Highlights (21.02.2017)

  • The MSE Share Index partly erased yesterday’s drop of 0.47% as it rebounded by 0.19% to 4,728.649 points. Trading activity was spread across eight equities: three moved higher, four closed the day flat whilst Malta Properties Company plc was the only negative performing equity with a decline of 1.3% to a fresh five-month low of €0.513 across 24,000 shares. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the RF MGS Index erased yesterday’s gains as it dropped by 0.12% to 1,122.282 points. Euro zone sovereign yields remained relatively unchanged today with the 10-year and 20-year benchmark German Bund yields hovering around the 0.31% and 0.84% levels respectively. On the economic front, the preliminary result of a survey gauging the level of consumer confidence within the single currency area showed a more-than-expected dip in confidence. In contrast, the readings from other surveys among private sector manufacturing and services companies in Germany and in the whole of the euro zone came in better than expected and all pointed towards sustained growth.
  • Yesterday, the Treasury announced that it received applications and bids for the three new Malta Government Stocks for a value exceeding €282 million (nominal) but allotted €182.9 million (nominal) as follows: €125.3 million in the 1.4% MGS 2023 (III); €37.1 million in the 1.5% MGS 2027 (I); and €20.5 million in the 2.2% MGS 2035 (I). Subscriptions from retail investors at the fixed prices established by the Treasury amounted to only €19.1 million (nominal) and they were all accepted met in full. The remaining €163.76 million (nominal) were allotted to institutional investors.
  • HSBC Bank Malta plc was the first company with a December year-end to publish its 2016 financial results. HSBC Malta reported that its pre-tax profits jumped by 33% to a three-year high of €62.2 million. However, the results were impacted by a positive aggregate net amount of €2.8 million resulting from two exceptional items – a €10.8 million gain on the sale of VISA Europe shares as well as a provision of €8.0 million for brokerage remediation costs. Moreover, last year’s results were negatively impacted by a €14.7 million early voluntary retirement charge. On an adjusted basis, HSBC’s profits before tax in 2016 fell by 3.3% to €59.4 million. The Board of Directors recommend a final net dividend of €0.027 per share. Together with the net interim dividend of €0.0462 per share paid on 9 September 2016, the total net dividend for 2016 amounts to €0.0728 per share, representing a 45.5% increase compared to the dividend declared with respect to 2015. Shareholders as at the close of trading on 10 March 2017 will be eligible to receive the final dividend on 20 April 2017 subject to shareholder approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 13 April 2017. During this morning’s session, the equity advanced by 1.0% to the €2.02 level across sixteen deals totalling 43,528 shares.
  • Also in the banking sector, FIMBank plc recaptured the USD0.90 level (+0.6%) across 54,532 shares.
  • Santumas Shareholdings plc gained 3.6% to reach a new all-time high of €1.45 albeit on shallow volumes totalling 6,000 shares.
  • Meanwhile, GO plc held on to its nine-month high of €3.499 after recovering from an intra-day low of €3.30. A total of 15,067 shares changed hands. This afternoon, the telecoms Group published its 2016 financial statements showing a 19.4% rise in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to €61.6 million. However, profits after tax dropped by 23.2% to €20.3 million largely reflecting the effects of higher administrative, depreciation and finance costs (following the consolidation of Cablenet Communications System Limited in Cyprus and Kinetix IT Solutions Limited in Malta) and a €1.5 million write-off on GO’s investment in Forthnet S.A. which has now been completely impaired. Despite the drop in profitability, the Directors recommended a final net dividend of €0.11 per share which is 10% higher than the net dividend for FY2015. The dividend is payable on 5 May 2017 to all shareholders as at close of trading on Wednesday 29 March 2017.
  • Bank of Valletta plc maintained the €2.19 level on activity totalling 27,276 shares while BOV’s insurance associate – Mapfre Middlesea plc – also closed unchanged at the €2.23 level on trivial volumes.
  • Medserv plc maintained the €1.60 level across 14,158 shares.