Daily Market Highlights (23.04.2020)

MSE Equity Price Index remains virtually unchanged


The MSE Equity Price Index stayed close to the 4,000 point level as the gains in four equities (including BOV and RS2) were offset by the declines in five companies (including MIA, HSBC, and IHI). Meanwhile, four shares closed unchanged as trading activity improved to €0.32 million compared to €0.25 million yesterday. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

Malta International Airport plc eased by 1% to the €5.10 level after recovering from an intra-day low of €5.00 (-2.9%). A total of 14,494 shares changed hands. Yesterday, 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 lost 1.5% to the €0.985 level on 24,500 shares.

Also among the large companies, International Hotel Investments plc tumbled 5.6% back to the €0.59 level albeit on just 13,000 shares.

Low trading activity also took place in the equities of Plaza Centres plc and Malita Investments plc. Plaza slipped by 1.1% to the €0.93 level whilst Malita added 1.3% to the €0.81 level. Plaza is due to publish the results for the 2019 financial year on 27 April.

Bank of Valletta plc extended its recent positive performance with a further gain of 2.9% to the €1.07 level across 22,149 shares.

Lombard Bank Malta plc surged 6% to the €2.12 level albeit on just 2,500 shares.

In the technology sector, RS2 Software plc climbed 2.1% to the €1.94 level across 51,515 shares whilst nine deals totalling 105,485 shares lifted the equity of BMIT Technologies plc 0.8% higher to the €0.492 level. Shareholders of BMIT 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.

Meanwhile, Medserv plc (€0.89), PG plc (€1.82) and Simonds Farsons Cisk plc (€8.35) traded flat on low volumes.

A single deal of 5,045 shares left the equity of GO plc at the €3.76 level.

Today, FIMBank plc issued an announcement providing a summary of the latest assessment of Fitch Ratings (‘Fitch’) on the bank as a result of which it downgraded its rating to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘, coupled with a ‘negative’ outlook. Fitch highlighted that its actions on FIMBank were driven by heightened pressures on the bank’s business model, continued asset-quality deterioration and weakened profitability, as also reflected in the bank’s results for the 2019 financial year. Moreover, the ‘negative’ outlook reflects Fitch’s view that the economic and financial-market fallout from the ‘COVID-19’ will create additional downside risks. FIMBank concluded by saying that it is closely monitoring developments on the impact of ‘COVID-19’ on the global economy. Whilst on the basis of currently available information it is not in a position to assess the likelihood and/or magnitude of the outcome of ‘COVID-19’ on its operations, FIMBank noted its commitment to ensuring that it will respond to developments as they unfold, taking timely and appropriate actions when necessary in particular to the safeguard of the Group’s liquidity and capital adequacy.

The RF MGS Index trended lower for the fourth consecutive day as it slipped by a further 0.17% to a fresh five-week low of 1,116.328 points. In the euro area, attention was focused on the publication of a new set of PMI data whereby these showed much bigger contractions than earlier anticipated. Meanwhile, reports emerged that the European Commission is considering a plan that would potentially lead to the creation of a €2 trillion ‘Recovery Instrument’ earmarked for kickstarting and sustaining Europe’s economy. The proposal includes redirecting supranational debt to national governments as well as specific grants. Yesterday, the European Central Bank also announced temporary measures to boost European banks’ access to cheap funding and support lending across the region.