The MSE Share Index this morning edged minimally higher to 3,045.103 points to end the week in positive territory for the third consecutive week at a 4-month high. This week’s upturn in the local equity benchmark is mainly due to the gains registered in the share prices of HSBC Bank Malta plc and GO plc.
In contrast to the declines registered in the previous three weeks, the equity of HSBC Bank Malta edged 1.6% higher during the four trading sessions of this week to regain the €2.52 level. Meanwhile, further demand for GO’s equity emerged this week to lift its share price by a further 5.4%, representing the fifth consecutive weekly increase. GO’s equity has recovered most of this year’s declines as it lies just €0.01 below its 2012 high of €0.98 following a turnaround in investor sentiment possibly due to the Group’s plans announced during the May 2012 Annual General Meeting with respect to its property portfolio.
The only other positive performing equity this week was Malta International Airport plc with a 0.6% rise to the €1.74 level. Earlier this week, the airport operator announced a 5.8% increase in passenger departures to 344,008 movements – a record for the month of May. Moreover, MIA revealed that the increases in passenger movements during the months of April and May mostly offset the declines in the first quarter of the year resulting in a minimal decline of 0.4% in passenger movements since the start of 2012. These results were achieved on the back of a 5.2% drop in seat capacity which in turn was mitigated by a 3.6 percentage point increase in the seat load factor.
On the other hand, FIMBank plc (-1.2%), Lombard Bank Malta plc (-0.4%), Middlesea Insurance plc (-0.8%) and RS2 Software plc all closed the week in negative territory.
On the bond market, the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index dropped 0.2% this morning to 988.163 points reflecting yesterday’s rebound in Eurozone yields which touched a high of 1.416% after Spain successfully conducted a €2.1 billion bond auction. However, fears returned in the markets today after Fitch downgraded Spain’s credit rating last night by three notches to ‘BBB’ and increased speculation of a possible request by Spain to the European Union for financial aid to shore up the country’s banks. Fitch estimates that Spain requires up to €100 billion to re-capitalise their balance sheets. As a result, Eurozone yields have dropped back below the 1.30% level this afternoon.