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Stockholm stock market hits new all-time high

The Stockholm stock exchange closed at a record high on Wednesday, with the OMXS index climbing 1.4 percent to smash the previous record set in 2007.

Stockholm stock market hits new all-time high

The OMXS closed at 430.6, besting by more than three points the previous record of 427.2 set in July 2007.

"Finally, after more than five years, we've come up to the all-time high," Nordea stock strategist Martin Guri told the TT news agency.

The Stockholm stock market's advanced was in line with developments on other exchanges around the world, and can be attributed to a new World Bank forecast indicting advances in global economic growth. Strong retail sales statistics from the United States helped as well.

Guri rejected any notion that the Stockholm exchange's recent rise was any sort of bubble, but is simply a continuation of a strong 2013.

"We had the worst financial and economic crisis since the 1930s. Now we can say that we've left it behind and are moving on to the next chapter," he said.

"The market could rise somewhere between ten and 20 percent this year."

He added that there are many signs of economic improvements, and while economic growth may not be strong, risks have deteriorated, bolstering investor confidence. 

Guri cited central banks in the US, Japan, and the eurozone for stimulating stock market growth.

"They've promised financial markets they plan to keep interest rates low," he said.

Wednesday's OMXS rise was led by heavyweights such as retailer H&M and bank Nordea, which climbed 2.7 percent and three percent, respectively, as the Swedish fashion retailer reported better than expected sales results for December.

Other market winners on Wednesday included pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, telecom equipment maker Ericsson, and truck maker Scania, all of which rose by around two percent.

The Swedish krona weakened slightly against the dollar, which can now buy 6.48 kronor. The krona-euro exchange rate remain unchanged, at 8.80 kronor to the euro.

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ECONOMY

Swedish bank’s IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

A technical problem at Sweden's Swedbank on Thursday night gave customers a nasty surprise, with their account balances inexplicably going negative, payments impossible, and Swish payments no longer working.

Swedish bank's IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

By 11.30pm, more than 2,000 Swedbank customers had reported the fault to the site Downdetector, and the problem was still not solved by 17.00pm on Friday. 

“We have an ongoing IT disruption where certain customers see an incorrect balance on their accounts,” a message on the bank’s app read. “The reason is a planned update to our internal systems which went wrong. We apologise, of course, for that and are working as quickly as possible to fix the problem.” 

The Swish payment service has also been affected, with the service, which is owned collectively by Swedish banks, reporting on its site that there was a “technical disruption at Swedbank and Sparbank which might affect Swish payments from these banks”. 

Some Swedbank customers posted their negative account balances on Twitter, expressing shock at the incorrect figures. 

The disruption comes at the worst possible time for many Swedes. Many people are paid on the 25th of the month, meaning this Friday marks the start of the payday weekend. Many will have also scheduled their bill payments for this Friday. 

Marko Saric from Malmö saw his account balance drop by 1.2 million kronor, going half a million kronor into the red. 

“It’s just totally crazy,” he told SVT. “We were going to go out and shop for the weekend. It’s lovely weather and the kids want to go out, but we can’t use our card. We’ve got no cash. Everything is in the bank.” 

“You’re just completely blocked. Colleagues need to make emergency food parcels for you. It’s just crazy that something like this should happen.” 

In its statement, the bank assured customers that their money was “secure”, and that the bank still had the correct information on what their account balance should be. 

“Customers who feel that they have suffered economic damage as a result of the disruption should contact the bank,” the message said.

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