Expatica news

Stocks at record high after crisis years

17 January 2006

BRUSSELS — The Belgian stock exchange, Bel-20, closed at a record high on Monday, ending the day at 3,691 points.

It represents a crowning achievement for the stock market, which rose 20 percent in the past year, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported on Tuesday.

The record close comes on the heels of the stock market crisis that ranged from the end of 1999 to 2002. The strong performance was spurred by the economic recovery which started in 2003.

In comparison, London is still 16 percent under the level recorded at the start of 1999, France 30 percent and the Netherlands 37 percent.

“Belgians have confidence again in the stock market,” chief ING economist Peter Vanden Houte said.

“That was partly forced, because the classic savings account is yielding very little. Also, big businesses are recording huge profits and are thus paying out nice dividends to the shareholders.”
The shares of financial firms KBC, Fortis and Dexia were primarily responsible for Monday’s record close.

However, analysts have issued a warning to those people who now want to invest in the stock market, stressing that 2006 cannot emulate the feats of 2005.
The general expectation is that the Bel-20 index will continue to rise in the first six months of this year, at least for financial and telecoms shares. However, that trend will have had its better day by the end of 2006.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news