Strong gains registered by 6 equities lift index higher

The MSE Equity Total Return Index closed everyday of the week in positive territory, ending the week 1.648% higher at 8,653.735 points – fully erasing the last week’s 0.178% loss. Activity was spread across 17 equities, of which four fell and nine gained ground. Turnover fell to €1 million from €1.9 million traded in the previous week.

Malta International Airport plc (MIA) shares recouped last week's minimal 0.9% loss, having appreciated by 4.5%, closing at an all-time high of €5.80 – registering a 23.4% rally as at year-to-date, following strong results announcements. The local airport operator's shares were negotiated across 29 transactions of 43,435 shares. MIA will distribute a net dividend of €0.03 per share on September 14, 2018 to all shareholders on the register as at August 22, 2018.

MIA published its traffic results for the month of August, showing that the positive trend set throughout this year has persisted through August. An increase of 9.5% in passenger movements was registered compared to the same month last year, setting a new monthly traffic record of 759,547 passenger movements.

The rise was in line with a 9.7% increase in aircraft movements and a 10.5% increase in seat capacity. Seat load factor was down by 0.7 percentage points to 87.4%. The top markets for the airport were the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France and Spain, all of which experienced growth with the exception of Germany. One of the most improved destinations was Spain, which increased by 30% as a result of new routes being introduced to Bilbao, Malaga and Seville.

FIMBank plc shares headed the list of gainers, having advanced by $0.03  or 5.4% as 47,063 shares changed hands over seven trades, to close at a 24-week high of $0.59.

HSBC Bank Malta plc shares partially erased last week's 5% loss, having advanced by 4.1% across 12 deals of 22,843 shares, closing €0.07 higher at €1.78.

Bank of Valletta plc shares reversed last week's 0.7% increase, having slipped by 1% as 280,655 shares were executed over 71 transactions, to close at €1.495.

The insurance and investments services provider Mapfre Middlesea plc registered a 2.2% decrease in its share price – adding to the previous week's 1.6% loss. The equity was active on one trade of 500 shares, and closed €0.04 lower at €1.82.

In the same sector, GlobalCapital plc published the financial results for the six month period ending June 30, 2018, showing a loss after tax of €1.9 million. This contrasts sharply with the profit after tax of €1.4 million registered during the corresponding period last year.

The performance was mainly impacted by a loss registered by GlobalCapital Life Insurance Limited, as a result of a negative movement in the fair value of investments, coupled with an increase in technical provisions consequent to additional business being written during the period. GlobalCapital Financial Management Limited and the Health Insurance Agency both registered declines in income and increases in costs, thus also contributing to the overall loss. Operating profit was also down, from €0.76 million, to an operating loss of €1.8 million. The loss translates to a fall in earnings per shares, from €0.046, to a loss per share of €0.065. The directors did not recommend the payment of an interim dividend.

In the I.T. sector, Loqus Holdings plc shares extended their losing streak, having registered a loss for the third consecutive week. The equity fell by 3.4% as 5,300 shares changed hands over one deal, to close at €0.087 – recording a 50.6% drop as at year-to date.

RS2 Software plc shares increased by a minimal 0.8%, after having closed unchanged at €1.19 for four consecutive weeks, as one trade of 100 shares was executed, closing at €1.20.

Simonds Farsons Cisk plc (SFC) shares recouped the decline of 2% registered last week, having appreciated by 4.1%, to close €0.30 higher at €7.65 – a 32-week high.Activity in the food and beverage suppliers' shares was spread across five transactions of 3,463 shares.  The board of directors of SFC is scheduled to meet on September 19, 2018, to consider and approve the interim financial statements for the six-month period ending July 31, 2018. The board will also consider the declaration of an interim dividend to shareholders.

SFC's spin-off Trident Estates plc registered a 0.8% increase in its share price – following a 0.8% decline reported last week. Trident shares witnessed three trades totalling 2,294 shares and closed at €1.33.

The oil and gas logistics services provider Medserv plc, managed to recoup last week's 3.7% drop, having advanced by 3.8%. The equity was negotiated across five deals as 10,550 shares changed hands and closed €0.04 higher at €1.09 – registering a 13.4% loss as at year-to-date.

PG plc shares closed unchanged at €1.38 as seven trades of 17,446 shares were negotiated. The retail and supermarkets owner distributed a net interim dividend of €0.023611 per share last Wednesday, to all registered shareholders as at August 24, 2018.

MaltaPost plc shares traded flat at €1.61 on one deal of 806 shares. The postal services provider registered a 24.1% decline as at year-to-date.

The telecommunications services provider GO plc recorded a 1.2% increase in its share price – after having slipped by 1.2% in the previous week. The equity witnessed eight transactions of 13,633 shares and closed €0.04 higher at €3.44 – down by 3.1% as at year-to-date.

Malta Properties Company plc shares also recouped from last week's 4.3% decline – having advanced by 4.5% across five trades of 11,266 shares, closing at €0.51 – up by 6.3% as at year-to-date.

Malita Investments plc shares erased the 2.3% increase registered last week, having slipped by 2.3%, to close at €0.87. Activity in the property management equity was spread over four deals amounting to 6,500 shares. The companydistributed a net interim dividend of €0.023611 per share last Wednesday, to all registered shareholders as at August 24, 2018.

In the same sector, MIDI plc shares closed unchanged at their all-time high of €0.57 as 143,258 shares changed hands on 11 transactions. The equity has rallied by a significant 62.9% as at year-to-date.

International Hotel Investments plc shares remained unchanged at €0.63 as four trades of 102,500 shares were executed.

In the corporate bond market,turnover increased to €3 million from the €2 million registered last week. A total of 49 issues were active, of which 18 appreciated and 15 fell. The 5.1% 6PM Holdings plc Unsecured € 2025 was the best performer, having increased by 4.7%, to close at €100.50. Meanwhile, the 5% GlobalCapital plc Unsecured € 2021 headed the list of fallers, having declined by 2.8%, closing at €98.20.

In the sovereign debt market, 21 issues were negotiated, of which 13 gained ground and seven closed in the red, as most long dated issues closing higher. Turnover amounted to €3.6 million – up from last week's €2.4 million. The 4.3% MGS 2033 (I) was the most liquid issue, having witnessed a turnover of €643,098, closing 0.2% higher at €130.20.