Share Index up 4.75% to a 12-month high

The positive sentiment in the local equity market was maintained today with the MSE Share Index closing in positive territory for the fifth successive session. The Index advanced by a further 0.6% today to close the week 4.75% higher at 3,869.771 points – the highest level since 26 January 2010. On the other hand the Rizzo Farrugia MGS Index shed 0.3% this week to 990.996 points reflecting the downturn in bond prices.

The sharp rally in the local equity market was accompanied by an increase in trading activity as €1.72 million worth of shares changed hands this week.

The main contributor to the gains registered in the equity market today was the 3.1% rise in the share price of International Hotel Investments plc to a new 19-month high of €0.98 on activity amounting to 40,684 shares. This equity ended the second week of 2011 with a weekly rise of 8.9% as it remains in demand following the recent announcement revealing a private placement of shares at a price above the nominal value of €1.00.

HSBC Bank Malta plc remained well supported at the €3.50 level as a further 64,312 shares changed hands at this price during this morning’s session. HSBC ranks as the best performing equity this week with an increase of 9.4%. Meanwhile Bank of Valletta plc edged minimally lower today to close at €3.15 on volumes of over 27,300 shares. BOV’s overall gain this week was more contained at +2.2%.

Another banking equity saw high trading activity today. Over 150,000 FIMBank plc shares traded with the equity failing to hold on to yesterday’s gains slipping 2.1% lower to its multi-year low of US$0.92. The trade finance specialist is scheduled to publish its 2010 full-year results on 3 March.

Meanwhile, the share price of Malta International Airport plc edged 1.2% higher to a fresh 32-month of €1.67. MIA is shortly expected to announce its December passenger number. During the first eleven months of 2010, MIA reported a 13% rise in passenger numbers, significantly above its estimate of an 8% growth.

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