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.