Banking shares halt upward trend

The Malta Stock Exchange index mirror imaged last week’s performance by recording a further decline of 1.5 per cent to end the week at 3,041.216 points. In the week the mood swayed from negative to positive as the index traded higher in two sessions, while it drifted lower in the other three.

Banks emerged as the main draggers for the week, with both Bank of Valletta plc and HSBC Bank Malta plc edging lower, while Go plc extended its declines. Conversely, the recorded surge among International Hotels Investments plc shares was a key determinant in halting further potential losses.

The week was characterised by eight equities being active, in which losers outperformed gainers as five lurched lower, two closed higher, while the remaining stock traded flat. As opposed to the previous week turnover was considerably on a low value of €261,473 traded over a total of 66 transactions which consisted of 139,641 shares.

In the Government Stock market, investors upheld their conviction in local sovereign debt, as from the 23 active stocks 18 appreciated in value, while five closed lower.

Turnover in the week decreased marginally to €3.64 million, with the long-dated 5.25% MGS 2030 emerging as the most liquid issue.

In the Corporate Bonds market, yields were mixed, as six advanced in value, three headed southwards, while nine closed unchanged.

The 7.15% MIH 2015 headed the list of gainers with a 1.1 per cent appreciation.

In the equity market, Bank of Valletta plc shares halted their recent upward trend by posting a loss of 1.4 per cent, thus re-touching the €2.08 price level. The equity was active throughout the whole week, where it closed unchanged in three sessions, appreciated in one, while it slipped by 3.3 per cent yesterday. The bank had the lion’s share as total trading volume amounted to 57,716 shares which were traded over 33 deals.

In line with its peer, HSBC Bank Malta plc plummeted by 6.3 per cent over three sessions, thus cutting back most of the gains registered in the previous weeks. However, one must point out that part of declines which were registered throughout the week were a result of the equity turning ex-dividend on Monday. This implies that all shareholders appearing on the bank’s registrar as at August 8, 2012, were entitled to a 6.5 cents net interim dividend which will be paid out on August 28, 2012. Meanwhile, a total of 31,325 shares exchanged hands over 14 trades to end the week at €2.699.

Likewise, for the third consecutive week Middlesea Insurance plc slid lower by a further decrease of 2.4 per cent. The financial equity was active on Tuesday in which a mere of 530 shares were traded across one single transaction to close the week at €0.605.

From the telecommunications industry Go plc was once again pushed into selling pressure with a further 1.9 per cent depreciation. The equity was active in three sessions in which it drifted lower by 3.9 per cent in the first two sessions, while it than managed to snap back more than half of the losses incurred with a two per cent appreciation on Thursday. A total of 42,624 shares changed ownership across 10 deals to close the week at €1.02.

Similarly, from the postal industry Maltapost plc shares plunged by 7.9 per cent over a single session of 546 shares to end the week at €0.82, thus pushing the equity towards a year-to-date loss of 18 per cent.

On the contrary, International Hotels Investments plc was the prime gainer with a markable gain of 6.3 per cent or €0.05. The hotelier’s equity was active on Wednesday, in which a total of 1,000 shares were traded over a single transaction to close the week at €0.85.

The other gainer for the week was Malta International Airport plc which closed higher by a scant 0.06 per cent to close at the €1.74 price level. On Monday the company announced its traffic results for the month of July. It stated that passenger movement increased by 7.1 per cent, thus reaching an all time record for any month ever of 445.232 passengers.

Finally, the other active equity was Plaza Centres plc which closed the week unchanged at €0.55 over a single session in which 1,500 shares were dealt over a single deal.

This article which was compiled by Atlas JMFS Investment Services Limited, does not intend to give investment advice and the contents therein should not be construed as such.

Atlas JMFS is licensed to conduct investment services by the MFSA and is a member firm of the Malta Stock Exchange.

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 Atlas JMFS at 67, Level 3, South Street, Valletta, or on Tel: 2122 4410, or e-mail


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