Households sell shares

Households are showing less interest in buying shares. In the first quarter of 2010 households net sold shares registered with the Norwegian Central Securities Depository. The last time households were net sellers of shares was in the second quarter of 2008.

Throughout the global financial crisis in the second half of 2008 and through the whole of 2009, households were positive to investing in shares. During this period, households net purchased shares registered with VPS for more than NOK 8 billion. Figures for the first quarter of 2010 indicate reduced interest from households to invest in shares. Particularly towards the end of the quarter, households net sold shares and ended up as net sellers for the quarter as a whole, for almost NOK 33 million. A major part of the net sale took place in foreign companies registered with VPS and in other financial companies.

After two quarters as net purchasers of shares in the third and fourth quarter of 2009 totalling nearly NOK 26 billion, foreign investors were again net sellers of shares. In the first quarter of 2010, foreign investors net sold shares for more than NOK 5 billion.

The stock market moves sideways

The sharp growth in the stock market throughout 2009, with the share values of the VPS-registered companies increasing by more than 36 per cent, did not continue into 2010. During the first quarter of this year, share values increased by only 2 per cent to NOK 1 839 billion. After a negative start in January and February with falling share values, the stock market recovered considerably in March with almost a 6 per cent increase in the share values. The main cause of the increased values was rising stock prices at Oslo Stock Exchange. At the end of the first quarter of 2010, the share values of the VPS-registered companies were divided into NOK 1 474 billion of quoted shares and NOK 365 billion of unquoted shares. Foreign investors were the largest owner group, with nearly 33 per cent ownership of the total share values, followed by the government, with an ownership of almost 29 per cent.

Stocks of debt securities

The stock of bonds registered with the Norwegian Central Securities Depository increased by almost 2 per cent in the first quarter to NOK 1 219 billion, and the stock of short-term debt securities decreased by almost 1 per cent, to NOK 342 billion in the same period. The sharp growth in the stocks of debt securities throughout 2009 is mainly caused by the increase in issuing activity due to government measures established in October 2008 to improve the liquidity in Norwegian banks.

Source: Statistics Norway

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