23 - 30 May, 2001

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MSE equities see 12 month heavy decline
Today’s low prices provide for investment opportunities

All the equities listed on the Malta Stock Exchange, with the exception of Simonds Farsons Cisk, have seen, in most cases, drastic falls in their share prices over the last year. The falls have spelt out significant depreciations to the value of investments, leaving many hoping for a rebound in the market to at least see their investments brought back to par.

However, it must be noted that the current low prices could also provide for prime investment opportunities, if an investor were to choose equities with potential for appreciation.

While actual losses to investors’ portfolios are obviously dependent on share prices at the time of purchase, most equities have seen a steady decline over the last twelve months. Accordingly, those who have invested during the period have, more than likely, been disappointed.

MaltaToday takes a look at the performance of MSE equities between 18 May 2000 and 22 May 2001.

For starters, all banks listed on the MSE – Bank of Valletta, HSBC and Lombard - currently stand at, or very close to, their yearly lows, while Maltacom has seen the largest reduction, by per cent, in share price.

Malta’s only telecommunications equity, at least for the moment, has shed no less than 43 per cent off its share price, which has lost Lm1.252 in value during the period. The equity had begun the period under review at Lm2.902 and now stands at Lm1.65. The equity’s yearly low of Lm1.65 was reached yesterday, while its highest value for the period was of Lm3, which was attained on 22 June last year.

Bank of Valletta shares did not fare much better and declined in value by 37 per cent, or Lm1.80, over the time frame. The equity, which is currently just Lm0.006 below its yearly low, is today worth Lm3.106, which contrasts with the Lm4.91 it was worth last May. During the period, the equity had hit a high of Lm5.10 on 13 June – a peak it had rested at for two days before beginning its downward spiral.

HSBC, another of the MSE’s most watched equities, has fallen in price by a not unsubstantial amount of 31 per cent, or Lm2.24. The equity currently stands at its annual low of Lm4.902, in contrast to the Lm7.15 it had begun the period in question with – also the equity’s high for the period under review.

Lombard seems to have fared the best out of Maltese banks during the time frame and has only lost 13 per cent, or Lm0.602 in price. The equity also stands at a yearly low of Lm4.143, compared with its high of Lm5 reached in mid-October and the Lm4.745 it had started the period with.

On the other hand, Simonds Farsons Cisk shares have grown in value over the period by 16 per cent, or Lm0.125. The equity had started the period at Lm0.772 and now stands at Lm0.897. A prime selling opportunity presented itself at the beginning of December, when the equity reached a high of Lm1 and had hovered in the region for about two weeks.

Middle Sea Insurance, over the period, shrunk by 29 per cent, or Lm1.259 in value but at the moment stands at Lm3.091, well above its low for the period of Lm2.59 - reached on 22 January of this year. Meanwhile, the equity had reached a high just under the Lm5 mark on 6 and 7 September last year of Lm4.99.

Suncrest shares have fallen by 24 per cent, Lm0.149 and now stand at their low for the period of Lm0.471, while having reached a high of Lm0.70 for a long stretch – between mid September and the beginning of December of last year.

Meanwhile, since their launches, IHI, Plaza and Globe shares have all depreciated by 21 per cent, 16 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.


The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt