The MSE Equity Price Index trended higher for the third consecutive day on Thursday as it added a further 0.48% to 3,791.009 points. The strong gains in four equities outweighed the declines in BOV, PG and Hili Properties whilst GO and HSBC closed the day unchanged. Trading activity remained muted as only €0.08 million worth of shares changed hands.

On Thursday, M&Z plc published a Prospectus in relation to the offer for sale of 11,550,000 shares at €0.72 each with a total value of €8.316 million. M&Z imports, markets, and distributes a vast array of fast-moving consumer goods (“FMCG”). It is one of the top three local operators within the FMCG sector and its portfolio comprises around 100 brands spread across seven product categories. An amount of 6,023,000 shares is available for subscription during the offer period that closes on 18 February 2022.

The shares of M&Z are expected to be admitted to the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange on 11 March and trading is expected to commence on 14 March.

Malta Properties Company plc was the best performing equity on Thursday as it rebounded by 6% to recapture the €0.53 level across 3,700 shares.

The ordinary shares of RS2 Software plc advanced by 3% to the €1.74 level across 21,500 shares.

Also among the large companies by market value, International Hotel Investments plc added 3.3% to regain the €0.62 level on four deals totalling 16,000 shares.

The other positive performing equity this week was Lombard Bank Malta plc as it climbed to a 3-month high of €1.97 (+3.7%) albeit on just 1,216 shares.

Also in the retail banking segment, HSBC Bank Malta plc stayed at the €0.90 level on trivial volumes whilst Bank of Valletta plc declined by 1.2% to the €0.83 level across 3,896 shares. HSBC is due to publish its 2021 full-year results on Tuesday 22 February. The directors will also consider the recommendation, or otherwise, of a final dividend.

Four deals totalling 4,625 shares left the share price of GO plc at the €3.22 level.

Meanwhile, PG plc eased by 0.9% back to the €2.30 level on shallow volume.

Hili Properties plc retracted by 0.7% to the €0.27 level on a total of 34,500 shares.

The RF MGS Index continued to trend lower as it fell by a further 0.46% to 1,062.983 points. On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve signalled its readiness to raise interest rates in mid-March amid high inflation and strong labour market dynamics. Moreover, the central bank reaffirmed its pledge to continue reducing the amount of net asset purchases and bring them to an end in early March. The Federal Reserve also published a set of principles which will guide the reduction of its balance sheet following the start of interest rate hikes.

On Thursday, Eden Finance plc announced that the Planning Authority had approved permits for the redevelopment of the Cinema 16 block and the construction of 3 floors overlying the Eden SuperBowl. The mixed-use development will consist of a 4-star 168-room Holiday Inn Hotel, office space, a commercial complex, and the redevelopment and expansion of a Family Entertainment Centre.

Eden Group noted that it expects works to start in the coming weeks and should take between 2 to 3 years to complete at a cost of €32 million. The initial phase of the project will be financed through own funds whilst other options are being explored for the remaining funds required in 2023 onwards.

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