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The Nordic Region: Norway A concentrated equity market

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Norway's stock exchange, Oslo Børs, comprises of 203 issuers, of which 36 are foreign companies. The market-cap totals almost NOK1.5trn (€186bn) and the exchange saw six new listings in 2010.

Year-to-date to 14 Oct, the Oslo Børs Benchmark index returned 6.37% and 15.45% for the last 12 months, in Norwegian krone terms. Year-to-date performance is somewhat lower than that of other Nordic markets.

Year-to-date the MSCI World returned 4.59% and 7%, respectively, in US dollar terms. The MSCI Nordic Countries index has returned 18.68% this year (to 14 Oct) and 20% during the past 12 months, in local currency terms.

The disparity of returns in Norway compared with the other Nordic markets shows the relatively uncorrelated nature of the markets as a result of a wide range of industries and sectors in the different markets.

Energy companies dominate the Oslo index with over 50 companies listed within the sector, or over a quarter of the total companies on the exchange. Energy is also one of the largest sectors in terms of market cap. Within the energy sector, companies in the oil sector constitute a large proportion, as do shipping and maritime companies. Industrials is another large sector with over 40 companies listed.

At year-end 2009, the largest company on the Oslo exchange was Statoil which represented over 35% of the total market. The top five companies, Statoil, Telenor, DnBNOR, Yara International and Norsk Hydro made up more than 63% of the market.

In May 2001 Oslo Børs, which by then had existed for 182 years, changed its status from a self-financing foundation to become a limited company, which was then privatised. The new structure involved Oslo Børs Holding ASA as a holding company with the sole business objective of owning 100% of the share capital of Oslo Børs ASA, which is the company that operates the market.
 

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