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Financial news

HSBC stirs buying interest

Strong buying activity in the largest capitalised company on the local market helped the MSE Index gain 0.14 per cent to close the day at 4,890 points. Activity in the fixed interest sector was relatively muted and spread across seven issues.

The day's main focus was in HSBC Bank Malta ahead of the publication of its interim results. Trading activity soared with 45,481 shares, carrying a market consideration in excess of Lm89,000, being exchanged across 32 transactions. Notwithstanding the strong demand, the equity moved higher by just 1c5 or 0.77 per cent as a constant flow of supply kept a lid on the price at Lm1.96,5.

Minutes after the session's closure, HSBC Bank Malta reported a 23.1 per cent jump in its pre-tax profits which came in at a record Lm25.3 million. Furthermore, the board of directors declared the payment of an ordinary dividend of 6c6 gross per share and an additional special dividend of 4c gross per share, which will be paid to all shareholders who are on the bank's register as at August 8.

Bank of Valletta suffered under a lack of bids in the market which forced the hand of investors wishing to exit the equity. The day's activity consisted of barely 1,983 shares which were swapped across eight transactions, squeezing the price lower by 2c or 0.56 per cent to Lm3.58. At the end of the session, 1,977 shares remained unsatisfied on the bid side at the day's closing price against supply of 5,068 shares at the Lm3.60 level.

Maltacom showed resilience by reversing an initial decline to close unchanged at Lm1.42. During the session, as many as 4,609 shares were exchanged across six transactions.

Europe struggles

Yesterday, following a sharp fall last week which dragged the FTSE Eurofirst 300 to its lowest level for almost four months, European equity markets made a negative start trading but inched higher towards the end of morning trade. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 rose 0.1 per cent while in Germany the Xetra Dax index added 0.2 per cent and in France, the CAC 40 gained 0.1 per cent.

In London the badly battered FTSE 100 moved higher as traders sought to draw a line under last week's heavy losses. After last week's 5.7 per cent slump, which erased all the index's gain for the year, the FTSE 100 was up 2.8 points to 6,218.0. The mid-cap FTSE 250 - which suffered its worst ever five-day session last week - rose 63.4 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 11,048.1.

Japan's Nikkei share average closed the day nearly unchanged, as optimism over strong earnings countered any overhang from the political turmoil of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's election loss. The Nikkei 225 rallied to end the day at 17,289.30, almost exactly where it had started. The broader Topix managed to eke out a 0.4 per cent rise.

US stock-index futures advanced after investors speculated the biggest weekly sell-off in more than four years was excessive.

The financial news was compiled by Valletta Fund Management (Tel. 8007 2344) and Bank of Valletta plc (Tel. 2131 2020). BOV and VFM are licensed by the MFSA to conduct investment services business.

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