16 March 2005

The Web

Malta Stock Exchange sees explosive growth
By David Lindsay

The Malta Stock Exchange has seen explosive year on year growth, coupled by equally large growth margins since joining the European Union on 1 May last year and since the beginning of the current year.
Despite the fact that the country’s economic feel good factor has left something to be desired so far this year, the MSE share index has nevertheless surged ahead by 13 per cent since the year’s inception.
The year on year growth at the Exchange has been more pronounced, with the index climbing by close to 34 per cent, while growth since Malta took on EU membership last year has amounted to nearly 32 per cent.
Malta’s year to date growth of 13 per cent has only been outstripped by three niche indices among the larger European indices. Helsinki’s OMXH25 index is 19 per cent up on the year, while Frankfurt’s TecDAX and the MidCAC of Paris are at 14 per cent each. Other indices within these same bourses, however, stand far below Malta’s growth rate for the year. The CAC 40, for example, has only grown 5.95 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX by 4.4 per cent and Helsinki’s All Share by just 3.25.
In contrast to the MSE’s growth, major bourses such as the Euronext 100 has grown 5.6 per cent, Amsterdam’s AEX has risen 6.9 per cent, Brussels’ BEL20 at just over five per cent, and Milan’s MIB30 of 3.59 per cent.
Underpinning the MSE index’s growth are a number of equities that have seen substantial growth this year. Percentage-wise, HSBC comes out on top, with growth this year of 22.7 per cent, followed by Middlesea Insurance, which has risen by 20 per cent. These are followed by First International Merchant Bank at 16.2 per cent and Lombard Bank at 11.7 per cent. Bank of Valletta shares have grown in value by 10.5 per cent and Maltacom shares have increased by seven per cent, followed by Plaza Centres at 6.3 per cent.


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