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Index down as major equities drift lower

Following the festive season, the Malta Stock Exchange index returned to a full week of trading with a notable loss of 1.7 per cent to close the week at 3,193.574 points.

Despite commencing the week on an upbeat tone, the index than succumbed to selling pressure with highly capitalised equities emerging as a heavy drag towards the broader market.

In fact, International Hotels Investments plc plunged over a single deal, while both Bank of Valletta plc and HSBC Bank Malta plc turned negative following last week’s appreciation. Conversely, the IT sector continued to display strength with Crimsonwing plc and RS2 Software plc shares spiking higher for the second consecutive week.

Throughout the week, as the tone turned uneasy, weakness was widespread with declining equities outnumbering advancers, as seven declined in value, four edged higher, while three closed the week unchanged.

Turnover in the week rose to just under €1.2 million traded over 181 transactions.

Meanwhile, in the Government Stocks market, local investors remained confident towards local sovereign debt, despite the remarks made by the European Central Bank president with regards to European financial situation. Total turnover amounted to just over €7.5 million traded over 18 issues with longer-dated issues being the most liquid.

In the Corporate Bonds market, total nominal amount reached 677,713 dealt over 24 issues with the new Sterling denominated 7.5% Mediterranean Bank issues being the most active.

From the hoteliers sector, International Hotels Investments plc was the primary laggard among large caps as the equity got hammered by just below seven per cent or €0.06, as a mere 1,180 shares changed hands across a single transaction to close the week at €0.80.

Likewise, from the banking industry HSBC Bank Malta plc shares shaved off 1.8 per cent from last week’s 3.3 per cent gain to end the week at the €2.74 level. The bank­ing equity was active in four sessions were it declined by 3.5 per cent in three, while it managed to snap back 1.7 per cent on Wednesday. Activity was based over 13 traded, which amounted to €98,302 in value.

Similarly, Bank of Valletta plc cancelled the 0.4 per cent recorded in the first week of the year as its share price weakened by 0.6 per cent. The equity was active throughout the entire week in which 189,839 shares changed hands over 93 transactions to close the week at the €2.41 price level. The other active banking equity was Lombard Bank plc, which closed the week unchanged at €1.86 having traded in three sessions, in which 13,449 shares were executed over 10 deals.

On a positive note, Go plc shares extended their rally for the ninth consecutive week with a further gain of 2.1 per cent. The telecommunications equity was active throughout the whole week in which it gathered the said gain on Monday and Friday, while it closed unchanged in the remaining sessions. Total trades amounted to 20 in which 43,193 shares changed ownership to end the week at a 16-month high of €1.22.

Similarly, Maltapost plc continued to break to the upside as its shares surged by 8.2 per cent, posting a remarkable increase of 46 per cent from the record yearly-lows of €0.63 registered in the first week of September, 2012. The postal equity was active in three sessions in which 49,222 shares were executed over five transactions. Meanwhile, yesterday the company announced that, at the annual general meeting held on the previous day, all resolutions put forward were approved. The shareholders approv­ed the payment of the final ordinary net dividend of €0.04 per nominal €0.25 share to be taken either in cash or by the issue of new shares at the option of the shareholder.

From the IT, sector both Crimsonwing plc and RS2 Software plc continued to sustain their recent inclining position. The former advanced by 5.6 per cent over notable volumes of 179,804 shares to close at a new record high of €0.57, while the latter soared by 9.3 per cent over values of €28,645 to close the week at the €0.82 price level despite falling by 2.4 per cent yesterday. With these gains both equities are heading the list of gainers on a year-to-date basis with appreciations of 16.3 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, from the same sector, 6pm Holdings plc closed the week flat at £0.31 over a single trade of 2,580 shares.

On a sore note, Plaza Centres plc tumbled by 8.3 per cent over high volumes of 661,830 shares to close at €0.55, followed by Island Hotels Group Holdings plc which lurched heavily downwards by 11.4 per cent on Tuesday to touch the €0.79 level.

In line with its peers, Malta International Airport plc declined by a minimal of 0.06 per cent after trading flat on Tuesday and in the mid-week session. A total of 4,125 shares were traded to close at €1.799.

The other negative performer for the week was Santumas Shareholdings plc, which depreciated by 0.6 per cent on Thursday to end the week at €1.79.

Finally, the other non-mover for the week was Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, which traded flat at €2.50 over a single transaction of 850 shares.

This article which was compiled by Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors Limited, does not intend to give investment advice and the contents therein should not be construed as such.

The company is licensed to conduct investment services by the MFSA and is a Member of the Malta Stock Exchange and a member of the Atlas Group.

The directors or related parties, including the company, and their clients are likely to have an interest in securities mentioned in this article.

For further information contact Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors Limited at 67, Level 3, South Street, Valletta, or on Tel: 2122 4410, or e-mail [email protected].

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