MIA share price down 5.9% to 8-month low

The equity of Malta International Airport plc was active for the first time in six sessions. The share price dropped by 5.9% to a new 8-month low of €1.60 across nine trades totalling 9,200 shares placing MIA shares as the worst performers of the week. Demand for MIA shares at the previous level of €1.70 had waned following the recent news that the union representing Air Malta pilots claimed that it is looking into the possibility of challenging the monopoly of MIA over the country’s only runway and also threatening industrial action which would ground all Air Malta flights for a full day on 15 July. Meanwhile, MIA issued a detailed advert last Sunday seeking to rectify the misleading information and address the various allegations directed at it regarding the current restructuring of the national airline. MIA is shortly expected to publish its June traffic statistics and also provide the market with a revised 2011 passenger forecast. The airport operator will also be publishing its half-year financial results on 27 July.

In the banking sector, the share prices of the two large banks again moved in opposite directions. The equity of HSBC Bank Malta plc failed to maintain yesterday’s gain as the share price dropped 1% to the €2.92 level. Bank of Valletta plc also ended this week unchanged as the equity recovered by 1.9% to regain the €2.70 level across eight trades totalling just under 7,500 shares.

Similarly, GO plc recovered by 3% during this morning’s session to also end the week unchanged at the €1.38 level.

Simonds Farsons Cisk plc edged 1.2% higher to close at the €1.70 level on very low volumes of 500 shares. Farsons’ equity ranks as the best performer in a week characterised by continued low volumes.

Following the 1.5% decline during Monday’s session to €1.00, MaltaPost plc’s share price closed minimally below the €1.00 level for the first time in 6 months. The equity traded at a new 2011 intra-day low of €0.98 before recovering to €0.999. The postal operator is shortly expected to publish its Interim Statement updating the market on its performance since the financial half-year which closed on 31 March 2011. The interim financial statements had shown a marginal decline in profitability to €1.1 million as the growth in revenue from parcels was offset by an increase in costs including wages and utility bills.

Overall, the MSE Share Index closed the week 0.3% lower at 3,323.537 points. Meanwhile the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index ended the week 0.2% higher at 973.784 points despite a partial recovery in yields following yesterday’s interest rate hike by the European Central Bank. For the second time this year, the ECB yesterday announced a 25 basis point increase in rates to 1.5% to further combat inflation in the region despite the sovereign debt crisis among some of the eurozone members.