Daily Market Highlights (24.02.10)

  • Local equity market sharply lower for the second consecutive session. MSE Share Index drops by a further 2.1% to close at 3,645.406 points on continued declines in the share prices of the two large banks. MaltaPost also closes lower for the second time this week whilst FIMBank and MIA close unchanged. Volumes contract in the equity market as investors focus on the bond market. Download a copy of today’s Equity Market Summary.
  • HSBC’s share price opens at its ‘limit-down’ price of €3.339 during this morning’s session but recovers by 1.8% to €3.40 on lack of further supply and renewed demand. Further to yesterday’s 7.2% decline, HSBC’s equity drops a further 5.3% to a close of €3.40 on increased volumes of over 37,000 shares. On Monday, the Bank published its 2009 accounts which revealed a 25.9% drop in pre-tax profit to €71.2 million as net operating income declined by 15.2%. Meanwhile HSBC Malta reported that loans and advances increased by 3.7% to €3.2 billion while deposits edged 1.7% higher to €4.1 billion. The Directors recommended a final gross dividend of €0.08 per share for approval at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting on 8 April 2010. Shareholders as at close of trading next Monday 1 March will be entitled to this dividend. Further details available here.
  • Selling pressure in HSBC also affects sentiment towards BOV. Equity slips a further 1.1% to close at the €3.36 level on volumes of just over 8,500 shares. The BOV Group is issuing €50 million 4.8% Subordinated Bonds with an over-allotment option of another €20 million due in 2020. Existing bondholders of the maturing 6.15% BOV 2010 Bonds have until 3 March to submit their application to be eligible to switch the redeeming bond into the new 4.8% bonds. Further details available here.
  • MaltaPost edges lower for the second successive session. Share price declines by 1.2% to €0.765 on volumes of 10,300 shares. Best bids still placed at €0.75 whilst further offers remaining unsatisfied at the closing price. This morning the postal operator held its Annual General Meeting during which shareholders approved all the resolutions.
  • Low volumes traded in FIMBank and MIA as both closed unchanged at US$1.18 and €3.00 respectively.
  • On Monday Island Hotels Group Holdings plc issued a preliminary profit statement for the year ended 31 October 2009. For comparative reasons, the Group published proforma results for the full-year to 31 October 2009 since the holding company was only registered at the end of July 2009. During the year, the Island Hotels Group registered a 14% drop in turnover to €32.3 million. The Group’s profit before tax during 2009 declined by 33% to €3.3 million (2008: €4.8 million). Despite the decline in tourism in 2009, the Group stated that it registered a comparatively positive set of results mainly due to the mix of business models used by the Group’s portfolio of hotels. The Directors recommended a final net dividend of €0.012 per share for shareholders as at close of trading on Wednesday 14 April 2010. Further details available here.
  • Existing bondholders of the maturing 6.5% Corinthia Finance bonds wishing to roll-over their investment into the new bonds on offer must submit their application form by tomorrow – Thursday 25 February. Meanwhile the Intermediaries Offer for the bonds not taken up by preferred applicants will take place on 1 March. Further details of this bond issue is available here.

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