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STOCK MARKET

Stock exchange in flying start to 2009

The Stockholm stock exchange had a flying to start to 2009 after last year's historic crash. The exchange closed almost 5 percent up on Friday on the back of gains worldwide.

Stock exchange in flying start to 2009

The hard-hit Scandinavian airline SAS was among the winners.

The OMXS index shot up during early trading, on the back of overnight gains in Asian markets. The steep climb gathered pace during the day, despite weak USA statistics which filtered through in the afternoon. By close the index had climbed 4.8 percent to 214.0. Turnover on Friday was however very low.

The winner list was topped by environmental technology firm Morphic, which shot up 48.5 percent to 1.93 kronor ($0.25) for no apparent reason other than the stock had been one of the hardest hit in 2008.

Scandinavian airline SAS also began the year on a positive note after it emerged that German airline Lufthansa is considering a bid for the debt-ridden firm. SAS stock climbed 15.3 percent to 43.70 kronor.

Elsewhere energy and raw materials firms had a strong day with Vostok Gas up 17.8 percent to 8 kronor, PA Resources up 13.9 percent to 13.10 kronor and Lundin Petroleum up 11.5 percent to 45.70 kronor. The finance sector also made gains after a tough autumn with Nordea up 7.9 percent to 59 kronor and SEB 7 percent to 65 kronor.

Confirmation of emergency loans from the US government to bail out car giant GM had knock on effects in the Swedish car industry with Autoliv up 7 percent to 169 kronor.

The Stockholm exchange followed the positive trend across Scandinavia and Europe. Indices in Copenhagen and Oslo saw gains of close to 5 percent. London’s FTSE 100-index climbed 2.4 percent to 4,539.8, Frankfurt’s Dax index was up 3.2 percent to 4,962.0 and the Paris CAC 40 closed 4.1 percent up at 3,349.7.

ECONOMY

Cautious optimism for the Swedish economy

Like several of its counterparts, the Swedish stock exchange went in to the holiday season slightly up, despite business in general being slow.

Cautious optimism for the Swedish economy

When the stock market closed on Friday, the OMXS Index had risen by 1.1 percent.

The construction giant Peab ended on a high, having announced a huge commission to build a new shopping centre.

Shares in Peab rose by 9.4 percent after revealing it had won the the commission to build the Mall of Scandinavia shopping centre, next to the new National Arena in Solna in Stockholm, in a deal worth around 3.5 billion kronor ($0.5 bn).

Another firm ending on a bright note was Eniro. The directory assistance company which bought parts of the recently bankrupt Yellow Pages in Denmark for 27 million kronor, saw shares increase by 7.2 percent.

Meanwhile, more encouraging news from the US, notably the lowest unemployment statistics for over three years, had a knock-on effect for the major currencies in Europe.

In other business news, the number of new companies registered in Sweden in 2011 was up seven percent on 2011. According to a survey carried out by software company Visma, some 63,000 new organisations were registered.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, most were limited company or sole proprietorship and the areas seeing the biggest growth in new start ups were Jämtland, Halland and Värmland.

The municipalities registering the fewest new companies were Kronoberg and Kalmar.

In terms of age, the largest increase of new company owners were in the age groups of those under 25 and over 65.

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