MSE Equity Price Index drifts lower on lackluster volumes
The MSE Equity Price Index eased by 0.12% to 4,051.013 points as the declines in BOV, RS2 and Farsons outweighed the gains in HSBC and MIA. Meanwhile, Harvest and Malita traded unchanged as overall trading activity contracted sharply to just €0.02 million. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.
A single trade of 2,483 shares forced RS2 Software plc 1.5% lower as it returned to the €1.95 level.
Bank of Valletta plc eased by 1.1% as it returned to the €0.89 level across 2,898 shares.
Elsewhere, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc lost 1.5% to the €9.75 level across trivial volumes. Yesterday, the company announced that its Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on Wednesday 26 May 2021 to consider and approve the financial statements for the year ended 31 January 2021. The Directors will also consider the declaration, or otherwise, of a final dividend to be recommended at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.
HSBC Bank Malta plc rose by 2.4% to the €0.84 level as 1,000 shares changed hands.
Malta International Airport plc advanced by 0.8% to regain the €6.25 level across 1,671 shares.
Meanwhile, Harvest Technology plc remained at the €1.45 level across a single trade of 1,200 shares.
Similarly, Malita Investments plc traded flat at the €0.88 level as 800 shares changed hands.
The RF MGS Index advanced by just 0.06% to 1,110.789 points as the Federal Reserve left its stance unchanged as expected yesterday, although it recognised that economic activity and employment were improving. The Federal Open Market Committee (“FOMC”) explained that it targets inflation moderately above 2% for some time, so that inflation averages 2% over the long term. The FOMC is expected to maintain an accommodative monetary policy until its employment and inflation targets are achieved. The Federal Reserve will continue purchasing Treasury and mortgage-backed securities to support the flow of credit to households and businesses. Meanwhile, pandemic concerns continued to dominate in Europe as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control confirmed that the Indian variant was detected in at least seven European countries, including Germany and the UK.
Yesterday, Plaza Centres plc published its 2020 Annual Report whereby it reported a 22.4% drop in revenues to €2.76 million, primarily reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on the business as the company provided rental discounts to its tenants and also saw a slight reduction in the average occupancy level to 89% compared to 93% in 2019. Overall, Plaza generated a net profit of €0.47 million (2019: €1.4 million) which translates into a return on average equity of 1.6% (2019: 4.6%). In their commentary, the Directors explained that they are cautiously optimistic that as the vaccine roll-out programme gathers further momentum, restrictive measures will be lifted and the hardest hit sectors will start to recover in a more meaningful manner. The Directors also added that they are confident that with Plaza’s strong financial fundamentals together with its prudent and timely measures, it will continue to withstand the prevailing uncertain times and be in a position to continue creating value for its stakeholders. The Directors are recommending a 38.5% increase in the final net dividend to €0.0157 per share (2019: €0.0113 per share). Shareholders as at the close of trading on Thursday 20 May 2021 will be eligible to receive the dividend on Wednesday 30 June subject to shareholders’ approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held virtually on Wednesday 23 June 2021.
Yesterday, LifeStar Holding plc announced that it intends to offer for sale just over 18.5 million ordinary shares in LifeStar Insurance Limited at an offer price of €0.54 per ordinary share. Moreover, LifeStar Holding intends to offer 6.57 million ordinary shares that it holds in LifeStar Insurance to its shareholders in exchange for their ordinary shares in LifeStar Holding, at an exchange ratio of 1:1. The cut-off date for the Exchange Offer was until today, whilst trading in the shares of LifeStar Holding will be suspended with effect from tomorrow.