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Stock Exchange: Positive day for equities

Renewed demand for local shares helped five out of the six active equities close higher during this morning's trading session on the Borza. The MSE Share Index climbed 0.6% to 3,536.243 points on gains in HSBC Bank Malta plc (+1.3%), Malta International Airport plc (+1.3%), International Hotel Investments plc (+1.1%), Middlesea Insurance plc (+0.4%) and Bank of Valletta plc (+0.03%). Meanwhile the share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc dropped 1.7% to €2.83.

HSBC's equity regained the €3.00 level on higher activity of almost 21,000 shares while BOV closed at €3.27 on volumes of 11,369 shares.

International Hotel Investments plc continued to build on its recent gains with the share price advancing by a further 1.1% to close at a 2010 high of €0.90 on volumes of over 32,000 shares. Yesterday IHI announced that the 4% bonus share issue and subsequent buy-back at €1.00 per share is being put forward for approval at an Extraordinary General Meeting scheduled for 27 August.

Malta International Airport plc also saw high trading volumes of almost 43,000 shares. The renewed demand for the equity of the airport operator helped the share price to move 1.3% higher to €1.62 level ahead of the imminent publication of its 2010 interim results due later on this afternoon.

On the bond market, trading activity remained high especially in various Malta Government Stocks ahead of the publication of the prices for the new MGS issues next week. With respect to corporate bonds, today over €148,000 (nominal) traded in the 8% Bay Street Finance plc 2012 at par representing a 100 basis points increase from the previous close. Recently Bay Street Finance plc announced its intention to repurchase bonds from the market and subsequently cancel them. Moreover €143,000 (nominal) traded in the 7% GAP Developments plc 2011 - 2013 bond with the price also rising 1oo bp to 97%.

www.rizzofarrugia.com

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