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Equities and government stock prices decline

Most of the active equities traded lower this morning while the prices of Malta government stocks also eased following the sharp uplift over recent days.

The MSE Share Index lost 0.5 per cent to 3,272.216 points with the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index shedding 0.2 per cent to 983.131 points.

The equity market was characterised by weak volumes and declining prices. Four of the ive active equities closed lower, namely HSBC Bank Malta plc (with a minimal decline to €2.89,9), Bank of Valletta plc (-0.4 per cent to €2.68), International Hotel Investments plc (-2.5 per cent to 79c) and GO plc (-0.8 per cent to €1.28,9).

The only positive performer was Lombard Bank Malta plc as its equity partly recovered from recent declines after advancing by 0.8 per cent to €2.60. Lombard is due to publish its half-year results on August 23 while the next company to report on its interim financial performance is Middlesea Insurance plc scheduled for tomorrow.

Following the strong increase in prices across most Malta Government Stocks in recent days, the indicative bid prices of the Central Bank of Malta eased lower today reflecting the slight improvement in German bund yields. For the third consecutive day, most trades were affected in the 5.25 per cent MGS 2030 (I) with the stock again failing to close at the CBM bid price of 102.74 per cent. Volumes decreased to under €0.5 million today with the price closing the day at 102.68 per cent compared to a high of 103.19 per cent on Tuesday.

International equity markets continued to decline sharply this morning with most European indices hitting fresh 11-month lows. The markets' attention has now been turned onto the Bank of England and the European Central Bank as both institutions held their monthly monetary policy meetings today. Both central banks are expected to keep rates on hold but comments from the banks on the current eurozone debt crisis will play an important part in the direction for the markets over the coming days.

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