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MSE Share Index at 7-week low

For the fourth time this week, the MSE Share Index closed lower with a further 0.2 per cent decline to a fresh seven-week low of 3,112.039 points. The local equity benchmark index tumbled four per cent this week.

Today's downturn is attributable to the 10 per cent plunge in the share price of Lombard Bank Malta plc shares back to its multi-year low of €1.80 across four trades totalling 8,962 shares.

The bank recently announced that it intends to increase its equity stake in MaltaPost plc (through its fully-owned subsidiary Redbox Ltd) from the current 67.2 per cent to not more than 74.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the postal operator this afternoon announced that the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), following a public consultation process, has accepted the request postal tariff increases and other changes requested by MaltaPost.

The new prices for Domestic Bulk Letter Mail, Domestic Registered Mail and International Registered Mail will be revised upwards with effect from November 19 whilst price changes relating to Domestic Single Piece Letter Mail will come into force on April 1.

Elsewhere on the secondary market, the shares of Bank of Valletta plc moved closer to their 2012 high of €2.50 with a further 0.4 per cent increase to the €2.46 level on volumes of 22,133 shares.

The gross final dividend of 13c per share is payable to shareholders as at close of trading next November 14.

Plaza Centres plc was active for the first time this week as its share price edged one per cent higher to regain the 53c level across four trades totalling 16,300 shares.

In the latest communication to the market, the company indicated a strong performance for the first nine months of the year despite a drop in average occupancy after a lease of a large tenant was not renewed.

Nonetheless, it is already holding negotiations with potential tenants for this vacated space. A recent survey conducted on the retail sector indicated higher turnover levels in shopping malls, particularly in the Sliema area.

All other active equities today ended the session unchanged with HSBC Bank Malta plc maintaining the €2.65 level across 9,110 shares. However, HSBC slipped 3.6 per cent over the week.

Similarly, GO plc closed unchanged today at the €1 level after again recovering from an intra-day low of 97c5 across 4,500 shares. A single trade of 3,000 Middlesea Insurance plc was executed at the 74c level, representing no movement from the previous close.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index edged minimally higher to yet another 24-month high of 999.428 points as Eurozone yields eased to a new 10-week low of 1.32 per cent.

The local MGS benchmark edged 0.2 per cent higher this week reflecting the weakening German Bund yields as investors seek safe-haven assets in view of the deteriorating economic outlook for the Eurozone, the prevailing sovereign debt crisis also in the 17-nation currency bloc as well as the uncertainties relating to the US fiscal cliff.

www.rizzofarrugia.com

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