Daily Market Highlights (22.04.2020)

MSE Equity Price Index resurfaces above the 4,000 mark


The MSE Equity Price Index extended its recent upward trend as it added a further 0.61% to 4,002.413 points. The gain was mostly driven by the share price increases in MIA and HSBC whilst only Lombard posted a decline. Meanwhile, seven equities remained unchanged as trading activity improved slightly to €0.25 million from €0.22 million yesterday. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

Malta International Airport plc climbed 3.4% to the €5.15 level albeit on just 1,000 shares. Today, MIA announced that during an extraordinary board meeting, the Board of Directors conducted a comprehensive assessment of the impact that the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic will likely have on the business and operations of MIA going forward. In this respect, the company evaluated several scenarios, including several mitigating measures to safeguard its financial resources, and decided to withdraw the final dividend for the 2019 financial year and also withdraw the financial forecasts for the 2020 financial year. MIA stated that despite the extremely challenging situation, it has reason to believe that with the measures taken so far, and others which are planned to be taken should the need arise, it is sufficiently resilient to sustain the current conditions and that it has sufficient resources to meet all of its financial obligations. The company also noted that the AGM is still expected to be held on 29 July 2020.

HSBC Bank Malta plc recaptured the €1.00 level (+2%) across 39,144 shares.

In the property segment, MIDI plc rallied 9.4% to the €0.444 level on a total of 6,000 shares. The company is due to publish the results for the 2019 financial year on 25 April.

On the other hand, Malita Investments plc traded flat at the €0.80 level across 8,750 shares.

Among the large companies, Bank of Valletta plc (12,550 shares) and RS2 Software plc (12,220 shares) also closed the day unchanged at €1.04 and €1.90 respectively. RS2 is due to publish the results for the 2019 financial year on 27 April.

Two deals totalling 6,879 shares left the equity of PG plc at the €1.82 level.

BMIT Technologies plc stayed at the €0.488 level across 48,570 shares. Shareholders as at close of trading on 27 April will receive a net dividend of €0.02157 per share. The dividend is payable on 4 June.

Low trading activity took place in the equities of Grand Harbour Marina plc and Medserv plc, both of which ended flat at €0.75 and €0.89 respectively. GHM is due to publish the results for the 2019 financial year on 27 April.

Meanwhile, Lombard Bank Malta plc was the most activity traded equity today as a single deal of 62,513 shares having a market value of €0.13 million forced the bank’s share price to drop by 4.8% back to the €2.00 level.

The RF MGS Index trended lower for the third consecutive day as it slipped by a further 0.23% to a fresh five-week low of 1,118.209 points. Prices of Malta Government Stocks continued to be undermined by the higher credit spreads of Italian and Spanish government bonds despite signs of some ease of ‘COVID-19’-related restrictions across Europe. Meanwhile, in the US, legislators agreed on a nearly USD500 billion additional financial support mainly earmarked towards small businesses (USD 310 billion), hospitals (USD 75 billion) and coronavirus testing (USD 25 billion).

Yesterday, the Treasury announced the issue of €200 million new Malta Government Stocks subject to an over-allotment option of an additional sum up to a maximum of €100 million. Applications in the form of sealed bids (auction) will open on Wednesday 29 April and close on the same day.

Today, Stivala Group Finance plc issued an announcement providing an update on its operations and financial position in view of the ongoing ‘COVID-19’ pandemic. In this respect, Stivala explained that as part of the initiatives put in place to mitigate the adverse effects, the company implemented a number of cost containment measures and also put on hold most capital expenditure plans. Stivala noted that it is in close contact with all its tenants and clients to ensure that collaborative relations are maintained. Meanwhile, it is also taking the opportunity to review its operational processes and strategic future plans with a view to swiftly adapt to new developments as they unfold going forward. Stivala concluded by saying that it had various discussions with its bankers and arrangements for loans moratorium are in place. The company envisages that it will be able to meet its payment obligations towards its bondholders under current circumstances and affirmed that it is well positioned to honour the bond interest payments when due.