The MSE Equity Price Index added 0.19% to 4,041.793 points as the gains in MPC, RS2, Farsons and PG outpaced the declines in the share prices of BOV and MIA whilst another three companies closed the day unchanged. Trading activity remained muted as only €0.06 million worth of shares changed hands.

Malta Properties Company plc extended its recent rebound with a further gain of 3.8% to a seven-month high of €0.55 across 30,281 shares.

RS2 Software plc (5,500 shares) and Simonds Farsons Cisk plc (1,779 shares) both advanced by 2% to €2.04 and €7.80 respectively.

Last Friday, RS2 provided a detailed update on the Group’s performance in 2020 and the expectations for 2021. The Group explained that despite COVID-19, in 2020 it managed to secure significant new revenue contracts across various regions and also transition a number of strategic clients from implementation phase to live processing.

In particular, RS2 referred to the major agreement with a one of the largest US banks which will take RS2’s revenue generation to a new level. Overall, RS2 noted that it is continuing to implement and deliver its strategy around its main business pillars of growing and expanding the managed services business, ramping up the US expansion, and building its own direct acquiring business.

In conclusion, RS2 referred to the recent changes in its ‘Memorandum of Association’ whereby the group increased its authorised ordinary share capital and also created a new class of preference shares. These changes will enable RS2 pursue its growth ambitions, enhance its BankWORKS® platform, make additional investments in North America and in the new acquiring business line, expand the sales force, as well as target selected M&A activities.

The group concluded by expressing its optimism for 2021 as it expects to reap the benefits on the investments made in prior years and show markable top-line growth and improved profitability in the years to come.

PG plc climbed 1% to regain its all-time high of €2.06 albeit on just 1,029 shares.

Low trading activity also took place in the equities of HSBC Bank Malta plc and Trident Estates plc which traded flat at €0.82 and €1.48 respectively.

Two deals totalling 15,000 shares left the equity of BMIT Technologies plc at the €0.48 level.

Meanwhile, Bank of Valletta plc stayed at the €0.94 level across 12,010 shares.

Also among the large companies by market value, Malta International Airport plc held on to the €6.10 level on trivial volumes. The Board of Directors of the company is scheduled to meet on 24 February to consider and approve the financial statements for 2020 and discuss the recommendation of a dividend.

The RF MGS Index erased most of yesterday’s drop as it rebounded by 0.06% to 1,129.219 points. German and Spanish bond yields fell markedly as risk aversion spiked across international financial markets amid a broad sell-off in equities sparked by online mayhem across some social media targeting heavily shorted companies.

On the other hand, Italian bond yields crept higher as the country tries to cope with a political crisis that could lead to early elections being held in the weeks or months ahead.

Meanwhile, a legal clash between the EU and AstraZeneca intensified as the pharmaceutical company seems not able to fulfil its contract over the supply of COVID-19 vaccines for the bloc. For this reason, French drug maker Sanofi offered to produce 125 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with a view of accelerating the EU’s vaccination roll-out.

Elsewhere in the US, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and pledged to continue with its USD120 billion monthly bond-buying programme “until substantial further progress” will be made towards the central bank’s full employment and inflation goals.

The Federal Reserve reiterated its commitment “to using its full range of tools to support the US economy” and pledged to “adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee's goals.”

Also in the US, fresh data showed that the world’s largest economy grew by an annualised rate of 4% in Q4 2020 following the extraordinary rebound of over 30% in the previous quarter after the re-opening of businesses.

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