Local Weekly Round Up â

Local Weekly Round Up — 22nd—29th September 2006

There were 271 deals placed this week in the Malta Stock Exchange equity market, for a total value of Lm505,249.43. HSBC was the most traded equity with regards to value and accounted for 38.86% of the total value, while BOV was the second most traded equity accounting for 21.99%.

BOV was the best performer of the week increasing by 5.39% and closing at Lm3.85 in contrast to last Friday’s closing price of Lm3.653. The equity gained 9c7 on Monday, 4c on Wednesday and a further 7c on Thursday, only to lose 1c in today’s session.

Malta International Airport was the second best performer and gained 5c on a week-on-week basis to close at Lm1.40, representing a 3.70% rise.

HSBC was also a weekly gainer and closed 1.46% higher. HSBC share price increased by 3c on Monday and ended the week unchanged at Lm2.08. A total number of 95,454 shares changed hands in this equity, accounting for 32% of the total volume of shares traded this week.

International Hotels Investments plc rose by Eur0.02c or 2.11% in the last session of the week to close at Eur0.97.

Lombard and Plaza were also gainers and increased by 0.64% and 0.75% on a week-on-week basis.

Following four negative sessions in which the Maltacom share price lost 12c, the equity managed to recover 11c in the last session of the week and close at Lm1.70, just 0.58% lower when compared on a week-on-week basis. The decreases which resulted in the first four sessions might have been instigated following an article on last Monday’s edition of the local newspaper ‘The Times’,  which reported that Maltacom had been given a Lm10,000 administrative fine and a daily penalty of Lm200 for failing to conclude an interconnection agreement with Melita Cable. The article added on that Melita Cable had sought to interconnect with Maltacom plc but despite the lapse of set time-frames, this had not happened. The article went on to say that the Malta Communications Authority was seriously concerned about this breach of the law and the seeming unwillingness of Maltacom to recognize, and operate within, the confines of the regulatory framework.

Notwithstanding this, on Wednesday Maltacom announced that it will be appealing against this decision in the appropriate fora.

Middlesea Insurance on the other hand was the worst performer of the week, declining by 4.61%. During the week Middlesea announced and approved the half yearly financial statements, in which pre-tax profits resulted to be 42.16% less than last years profit, for the same period. The Board of Directors also announced that they have not proposed any dividends for the year ending 30th June 2006.

Simonds Farsons Cisk closed 2.78% lower following a 2c drop on Wednesday to close at Lm0.70. The interim financial results are expected to be published following a Board of Directors meeting scheduled for 4 October.

FIMBank also registered two trades during the week, bringing the share price down to US$1.81; equivalent to a 1.58% decline. The value of the shares traded amounted to only 0.36% of the total value traded on the entire equity market for the week.

The remaining equities share prices, GlobalCapital and Datatrak Holdings all remained unchanged.

This week, the Central Bank of Malta decided to leave the central intervention rate unchanged at 3.50%. The decision was taken by the Governor at the end of the Monetary Policy Advisory Council meeting Thursday morning.

This decision was based on the fact that the Governor observed that domestic financial market conditions remained broadly unchanged since the previous Council meeting, such that the current monetary policy stance continued to be appropriate.

After increasing in August, the Bank’s external reserves rose further in September. At the same time, the short-term interest rate differential in favour of the Maltese lira narrowed further in September, as a result of higher euro interest rates. In light of these developments, and of the expected further increase in official euro interest rates, the Governor anticipated the need for a reappraisal of the Bank’s monetary policy stance in the near term.

The Monetary Policy Advisory Council is due to meet again on 31 October 2006.