The MSE Equity Price Index approached the 4,700 mark as it jumped by just over 1% to 4,691.124 points.

Most of Friday's attention was directed towards the publication of the 2018 financial results by Bank of Valletta plc, which showed that the bank registered a net profit of €51.4 million when including a €75 million litigation provision which had already been disclosed in the 2018 interim report.

Overall, the bank reported growth across most of its business segments, particularly interest income as well as net fee and commission income. In fact, excluding the €75 million litigation provision, adjusted operating profits of almost €138 million were 11.3% higher than the annualised figure of €124.4 million for the 2016/17 financial year.

The board of directors are recommending a bonus share issue of one bonus share for every 10 shares held which will be allotted to shareholders as at close of trading on June 6, 2019. The bonus share issue will be funded by a capitalisation of reserves amounting to €53.1 million. Furthermore, BOV noted that it intends to issue an instrument, eligible for additional Tier 1 capital, to institutional investors. Moreover, the bank intends issuing a new subordinated bond in Q3 2019 to replace the existing 5.35% subordinated bonds which are due for repayment on June 15, 2019. During Friday's trading session, the equity of BOV soared by 6.4% to a 2019 high of €1.33 on activity totalling 90,055 shares.

Two deals totalling 2,050 shares lifted the equity of GO plc 1.2% higher to the €4.96 level. Shareholders as at April 24 will be eligible to a net ordinary dividend of €0.14 per share for the 2018 financial year as well as a special interim dividend of €0.41 per share.

Subdued trading also took place in all other equities that were active on Friday. Malita Investments plc rebounded by 2.9% to the €0.885 level across 15,000 shares. Shareholders as at close of trading on April 3 will be eligible to a final net dividend of €0.01417 per share.

MaltaPost plc recovered by 1.6% to regain the €1.26 level across 10,000 shares.

Malta International Airport plc (457 shares) and Mapfre Middlesea plc (2,184 shares) maintained the €6.55 and €2.32 levels respectively. On Thursday, the local media reported that Ryanair announced its schedule for winter 2019/20 showing an additional 15 routes. Shareholders of Mapfre Middlesea as at close of trading on April 30 will be eligible for an ordinary net dividend of €0.0978 per share and a special net dividend of €0.08696 per share. Both dividends are payable on May 22.

Two deals totalling 15,000 shares left the equity of BMIT Technologies plc at the €0.52 level.

Meanwhile, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc slipped by 0.6% to the €8.70 level after opening at a low of €7.40 (-15.4%). Only 850 shares changed hands.

The RF MGS Index trended higher for the first time in four days as it added 0.06% to 1,110.206 points. Movements in euro bond yields remained mixed amid the issuance of contrasting economic data.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Bank of Finland was reported as saying that in the light of the limited success achieved by the ECB in recent years to boost inflation, the ECB must now consider making a “comprehensive review” of its various monetary policy tools. Olli Rehn, who is also seen by many international financial analysts as a potential candidate to succeed Mario Draghi as ECB President once Mr Draghi’s term expires later this year, was quoted expressing his dissatisfaction on the current weak interdependence between economic activity and inflation. Mr Rehn also argued that "one explanation for this is that... trust in central banks’ ability to influence the inflation rate may have eroded", adding that it might be the case that today’s low interest rates will stay subdued for several years, thus limiting the overall ability of the ECB to influence economic dynamism in general.

www.rizzofarrugia.com

Stock markets are volatile and subject to fluctuations which cannot be reasonably foreseen. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

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