Daily Market Highlights (29.07.2021)

MSE Equity Price Index advances by 1.3%


The MSE Equity Price Index continued to move higher as it advanced by a further 1.33% to 3,833.210 points. The gains in BMIT, IHI, Harvest and Plaza outweighed the declines in HSBC and Malita. Meanwhile, GO and MPC both closed unchanged as overall trading activity amounted to €0.05 million. Download today’s Equity Market Summary.

Harvest Technology plc rose by 3.2% to a new all-time high of €1.59 across two deals totalling 6,000 shares. Harvest will be publishing its 2021 interim financial results on 3 August.

In the same sector, BMIT Technologies plc climbed by 1.7% to the €0.49 level across 20,000 shares after touching an intraday high of €0.50 (+3.7%). BMIT will be publishing its 2021 interim financial results on 6 August.

BMIT’s parent company, GO plc, closed unchanged at the €3.40 level across a single deal of 570 shares. GO will be publishing its 2021 interim financial results on 9 August.

International Hotel Investments plc surged by just over 14% to a 3-week high of €0.65 as 21,100 shares changed hands.

Meanwhile, Plaza Centres plc soared by over 60% as it regained the €0.85 level across a single trade of 1,100 shares. Yesterday, Plaza published its interim financial results covering the six-month period ended 30 June 2021. During this period, Revenues dropped by just over 20% to €1.15 million (H1 2020: €1.44 million). However, when excluding the loss of income from ‘Tigné Place’, revenues generated from the Plaza Commercial Centre increased by 11.3% reflecting the lower level of support provided to retail tenants (in the form of rental discounts and higher absorption of common area costs) following the outbreak of the pandemic. Overall, Plaza posted a pre-tax profit of €0.44 million compared to €0.61 million in H1 2020. In their commentary, the Directors noted the progress achieved by Malta in the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out programme. Moreover, despite the challenging operating environment, Plaza remains confident that its strong financial position will continue to serve in good stead for it to remain resilient and also be in a position to create value for shareholders.

Malta Properties Company plc held onto the €0.525 level across 7,820 shares. MPC will be publishing its 2021 interim financial results on 5 August.

Elsewhere, Malita Investments plc lost 0.6% to the €0.84 level as 10,000 shares changed hands.

In the retail banking sector, HSBC Bank Malta plc eased off from yesterday’s 3-week high as it eased by 3% to the €0.805 level on a single deal of 9,129 shares. Meanwhile, today Bank of Valletta plc published its interim financial results covering the six-month period ended 30 June 2021. BOV reported a significant jump in pre-tax profit which amounted to €25.9 million from €13.8 million in the previous comparable period. Meanwhile, pre-tax return on equity amounted to 4.8% from 2.6% in H1 2020. The improvement in performance mainly emanates from a release of €3 million in impairments in H1 2021 compared to an overall impairment charge of €7.5million in H1 2020. BOV did not declare an interim dividend.

The RF MGS Index shed 0.10% to 1,103.925 points as yields in long dated sovereign bonds rose across the eurozone. Eurozone economic sentiment hit a record high from data recorded in business and consumer surveys. Additional positive news emerged from Germany as the unemployment rate dropped more than expected as companies are increasing their workforce. Meanwhile in the US, the number of US citizens claiming for unemployment benefits also decreased from the previous month, but at a lower rate than expected. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve kept its interest rates unchanged and maintained an accommodative stance of monetary policy in line with expectations, as it continues to achieve maximum unemployment and a stable inflation rate of 2%.

Yesterday, Malta International Airport plc published its interim results covering the six-month period ended 30 June 2021. The airport operator registered a 15.5% decline in revenues to €12.6 million. Another sharp drop was recorded in the ‘Airport’ segment, reflecting the further contraction in passenger movements as the airport operator welcomed just over 0.4 million passengers in the first half of 2021 compared to 1.02 million in the corresponding period in 2020. As a result, the ‘Airport’ segment contributed just €5.8 million in revenues compared to €8.4 million in H1 2020. On the other hand, revenue from within the ‘Retail & Property’ segment inched 3.6% higher to €6.8 million. The decline in overall revenue reflects the COVID-induced challenges which persisted, particularly during the winter months. Overall, MIA recorded a pre-tax loss of €3.9 million (H1 2020: €2.9 million). In their commentary, the Directors of MIA noted that the easing of travel restrictions together with several traffic developments led to an improvement in the passenger numbers handled by the airport operator during the month of June when compared to the previous months. However, the industry’s recovery continues to be beset by uncertainties as travel restrictions continue to change, thereby dampening consumer confidence in both air travel in general and Malta as a destination. Meanwhile, MIA’s CEO said today that tourist numbers will likely worsen in August when compared to July, as airlines continued to report cancellations. Mr Borg explained that Malta’s stringent rules on tourist arrivals and the non-existent domestic travel market were among the main reasons for why Malta is lagging behind other EU countries when it comes to recovery.

Yesterday, Mapfre Middlesea plc published its interim results covering the six-month period ended 30 June 2021. During the first half of the year, the Group’s income from insurance activities climbed by 2.8% to €12.2 million. The improved performance emanates from the 16.8% gain to €8.1 million in long-term business following a significant increase in new business revenue as well as a positive investment return. On the other hand, revenue generated from non-life business fell by 17% to €4.1 million. Overall, the Group registered a profit after taxation of €7.61 million (H1 2020: €7.16 million), of which €4.93 million is attributable to shareholders (H1 2020: €4.86 million). Looking ahead, the Directors explained that it looks at the second half of 2021 with cautious optimism in an environment wary of the evolving effects of the pandemic both on the local and global economies.