Daily Market Highlights (22.02.2017)

  • The MSE Share Index extended yesterday’s gains as it advanced by 0.51% to a new nine-year high of 4,752.876 points following strong increases in the share prices of GO (+2.9%) and MIA (+2.4%) as well as the more moderate gain of 0.5% in HSBC. Meanwhile, GlobalCapital plc was the only negative performing equity with a drop of 3.7% to the €0.395 level across 23,588 shares. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • On the bond market, the RF MGS Index extended yesterday’s decline as it slipped by a further 0.22% to a one-week low of 1,119.766 points. While the 10-year benchmark German Bund yield hit a six-week low of 0.249% from 0.312% yesterday, the yields on the equivalent Spanish and Italian government bonds advanced to 1.679% and 2.243% respectively from 1.617% and 2.186% possibly because of renewed political uncertainty in France as Marine le Pen appears to be consolidating her position to win the first round of the French Presidential election. Meanwhile, German two-year yields dropped to a record low of -0.919%, increasing the gap with US yields to the highest in seventeen years, following comments made yesterday by a Federal Reserve member who was quoted as saying that “given the state of the economy … I continue to see three modest rate hikes of 25 basis points each as appropriate for 2017, assuming things stay on track“. On the economic front, the results of fresh surveys gauging business morale and expectations in Germany continued to point to sustained recovery whilst core inflation in the single currency area stayed at +0.9% year-on-year in January but fell to -1.7% month-on-month from +0.4% in December 2016.
  • After GO plc published its 2016 annual financial statements yesterday afternoon, the equity jumped 2.9% today to the €3.599 level across twelve deals totalling 17,550 shares. The telecoms Group registered an improved EBITDA of €61.6 million (+19.4%) but 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.
  • Ahead of the publication of the 2016 financial results later on today, the equity of Malta International Airport plc advanced 2.4% to a four-month high of €4.25 across 11,654 shares.
  • HSBC Bank Malta plc closed 0.5% higher at the €2.031 level after touching an intra-day high of €2.05. A total of 9,967 shares traded. Yesterday, HSBC published its 2016 financial results which, on an adjusted basis, show that pre-tax profits 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 of €0.027 per share on 20 April 2017 subject to shareholder approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held on 13 April 2017.
  • Malta Properties Company plc rebounded by 0.6% from its five-month low of €0.513 to the €0.516 level across 39,950 shares.
  • Within the same segment, MIDI plc opened at an intra-day high of €0.34 (+3.0%) but closed unchanged at the €0.33 level. A total of 65,000 shares changed hands.
  • Two deals totalling 10,960 shares left the equity of Plaza Centres plc unchanged at the €1.10 level.
  • Similarly, Bank of Valletta plc (30,054 shares) and its insurance associate – Mapfre Middlesea plc (16,050 shares) – also finished the day flat at €2.19 and €2.23 respectively.