Following yesterday’s decline of 1.6%, the MSE Equity Price Index rebounded by 1.1% to 4,373.547 points today, driven by the strong gains in the share prices of BOV (+5.2%) and MIA (1.9%) which outweighed declines in three other shares. Trading volumes dropped markedly from yesterday’s four-week high but still remained healthy as a total of €0.36 million worth of shares changed hands.

Most of today’s trading activity took place in the equity of Bank of Valletta plc. Following yesterday’s slump of over 9%, the equity ended a volatile session today 5.2% higher at the €1.62 level on activity totalling 140,988 shares.

Yesterday, BOV issued its interim results for the six-month period to 30 June 2018. These showed a marked improvement in the bank’s operational profitability which, however, was significantly dented by a €75 million provision mostly attributable to the litigation related to the Deiulemar case whereby the bank is being sued for €363 million. Despite this material provision, BOV still reported a net profit of €12.6 million. However, the bank’s Board of Directors decided not to declare an interim dividend and also disclosed that it does not intend to recommend a final cash dividend for the current financial year ending 31 December 2018.

Malta International Airport plc added a further 1.9% to yet another record high of €5.50 on six deals totalling 16,849 shares. Last week, MIA issued revised financial targets as well as traffic projections for 2018. The company is now expecting passenger movements to grow by 13% to reach yet another record of 6.77 million passenger movements. This should translate into increased profitability for the airport operator, with EBITDA now anticipated to exceed €53 million (+9.1% over 2017) and net profits of €29 million representing a 20% increase over last year. Shareholders as at close of trading on 20 August 2018 are entitled to receive a net interim dividend of €0.03 per share.

Loqus Holdings plc climbed over 50% to the €0.094 level on trivial volumes.

Low trading activity also took place in the equities of International Hotel Investments plc and Malta Properties Company plc. Both equities closed the day unchanged at €0.63 and €0.50 respectively. The Board of Directors of MPC was scheduled to meet today to consider the interim financial statements covering the six-month period ended 30 June 2018.

Three deals totalling 14,056 shares left the equity of HSBC Bank Malta plc at the €1.87 level. The bank is set to publish its interim results on 6 August.

Also among the large caps, RS2 Software plc slipped by 1.7% to the €1.19 level after partially recovering from an intra-day low of €1.17 (-3.3%). Only 1,584 shares traded. The company still needs to announce the date for the publication of the interim financial statements.

Medserv plc moved back to the €1.10 level (-0.9%) on a single deal of 3,000 shares whilst Malita Investments plc tumbled by 4% to the €0.835 level across 15,000 shares. Malita’s interim results are scheduled to be published on 10 August whilst those of Medserv are expected to be issued on 27 August.

The RF MGS Index trended lower for the third consecutive day as it retreated by a further 0.12% to 1,095.990 points – the lowest level since late November 2014. Bond yields continued to rally ahead of the conclusion of the US Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting despite fresh uncertainties over trade disputes between the US and China.

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