Daily Market Highlights (24.08.12)

  • MSE Share Index again lifted higher with a further 0.1% increase to 3,049.279 points as BOV’s 0.9% rise offsets the declines in the share prices of Lombard and GO. Meanwhile the two other active equities, namely HSBC and RS2, ended the session unchanged. Download a copy of the Equity Market Summary. During the past five days, the local equity benchmark moved 0.7% higher due to the weekly positive performances of BOV and Farsons which offset the declines in HSBC, GO, Lombard and FIMBank.
  • On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index climbed another 0.1% to a new 2012 high of 998.254 points as Eurozone yields dropped to a new 3-week low of 1.326%. The extended downturn in yields reflects the increasing uncertainty over the ways how the European Central Bank will contain Spain’s borrowing costs. Furthermore, markets are increasingly concerned over Greece after Germany’s finance ministry stated that a clause in the Greek bailout deal allowing for more time to reform is not legally binding.
  • Locally, as yields dropped, the Central Bank of Malta Stockbroker again raised its bid prices with new record prices established for the 4.3% MGS 2022 (II) at 102.89%; 5.10% MGS 2029 at 103.83% (compared to the July 2012 offer price of 101%); 5.25% MGS 2030 (I) at 104.69% and the 5.20% MGS 2031 at 103.17%.
  • Further demand for BOV shares helped the Bank’s equity move closer to its 2012 high of €2.302 with its share price rising a further 0.9% higher to the €2.22 level. Just over 17,000 shares changed hands today. BOV’s equity ended the week 5.7% higher as the Bank approaches the close of its current financial year ending 30 September.
  • Meanwhile, Lombard Bank’s shares slumped a further 2.4% lower to yet another multi-year low of €2.00 following yesterday’s interim results publication. Just under 6,000 shares traded today. The 2012 half-year figures revealed a 36.5% plunge in the profitability of the Lombard Group on the back of a 6.5% drop in net interest income to €6.8 million reflecting the Bank’s prudent and cautious approach which yields low returns as well as the adverse effects of the changes in the tariffs imposed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on MaltaPost plc’s financials. Moreover, the half-year figures of the Lombard Group were also adversely impacted by the non-occurrence of a gain on the sale of investments of €1.2 million that took place last year as well as an increase in loan impairments to €0.46 million in line with the Bank’s provisioning policy in the prevailing challenging circumstances. Further details on results available here. The Bank’s equity ended the week 7% lower and currently ranks as the worst performer with a 25.9% drop since the start of 2012.
  • GO plc’s share price dropped 1% to close below the €1.00 level for the first time in 11-weeks. Over 35,000 shares traded today. Yesterday, Forthnet announced that its shareholders approved all the resolutions on the agenda of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on the same day. The resolutions included a number of changes to Forthnet’s capital as well as a €30 million rights issue. Moreover, the announcement revealed that during the meeting Forgendo (the joint venture between GO and EITL) will participate in the rights issue whilst the second largest shareholder in Forthnet, Cyrte Investments BV will not participate in the rights issue and is uncertain whether to maintain its current shareholding.
  • HSBC again traded unchanged at the €2.64 level on low volumes of 2,000 shares.
  • RS2 Software also unchanged today as 50,000 shares changed hands at the €0.50 level. The IT Company is expected to publish its half-year results next week.