The MSE Share Index failed to hold on to last week's 0.2% gain as the local equity benchmark shed 0.7% during this morning's session back to 2,981.426 points – just above its 2012 low of 2,980.658 points.

Bank of Valletta plc dropped 2.3% to a new 2012 low of €2.12 across thirteen trades totalling 24,699 shares. HSBC Bank Malta plc also closed in negative territory today despite still trading with the entitlement to the final gross divided of €0.072 per share. HSBC's equity reversed last week's 0.4% rise with an equivalent drop during this morning's session to close at the €2.59 level on volumes of just over 10,000 shares. The Bank's equity will turn ex-dividend as from 14 March.

The equity of Malta International Airport plc also traded lower today as a single deal of 13,000 shares was transacted at the equity's 2012 low of €1.69. The airport operator is scheduled to publish its 2011 full-year results on 22 March.

Similarly, Plaza Centres plc shares plunged 2.8% to a new 2012 low of €1.75 on a single trade of 72,000 shares ahead of next Thursday's 2011 preliminary results publication. High volumes were also registered in Lombard Bank Malta plc amounting to just over 50,000 shares with the share price unchanged at the €2.53 level.

On the other hand insignificant volumes were traded in Middlesea Insurance plc and Simonds Farsons Cisk plc. Middlesea's share price edged 1.4% lower to the €0.70 level across 100 shares despite still trading with the entitlement to the recently announced €0.01 final gross dividend. Meanwhile, Farsons' equity maintained the €1.72 level on just 334 shares.

On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index eased minimally lower to 988.108 points despite continued pressure across benchmark Eurozone yields. In fact, the 10-year Bund yield this morning touched a low of 1.772% on the back of market concerns that the austerity measures being implemented across the region to counteract Europe's sovereign debt crisis will also slowdown the much needed economic growth in the eurozone. Moreover, markets are still uncertaint over the success of Greece's large debt restructuring.

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