2002: worst year on the stock market since WW II, but real estate and bonds were profitable

Last year was the worse year for Dutch shareholders since the Second World War. Figures from Statistics Netherlands show that the total return on shares was negative for the third year in a row. There were profits for investors in Dutch bonds and real estate trusts in 2002.

Largest fall in share prices since Second World War
The total return on Dutch shares, including dividend, was â€"32.8 percent last year. Share prices (excluding dividend payments) fell by an average 34.7 percent. The total loss for investors in 2002 amounted to 190 billion euro, making 2002 the worst year on the Amsterdam stock market since the Second World War. The last record loss was in 1974, during the oil crisis, when prices fell by an average 26.9 percent.

Amsterdam stock exchange negative for third successive year
The fall in share prices last year made 2002 the third year in a row that the Amsterdam stock exchange closed at a loss. In 2000 and 2001 the CBS all share index fell by 3.9 and 21.1 percent respectively. The total loss on shares has been more than 50 percent in the last three years.

The last time Amsterdam share prices fell three years in a row was in the period 1969-1971, although the damage then was limited to 25 percent. The fall in the last three years is beginning to resemble the crisis on the stock exchange in the twenties and thirties of the last century. In the period 1920-1922 share prices in Amsterdam fell by 54 percent in three years. The absolute low was in 1929-1932 with four years of loss in a row. Shares in Amsterdam lost 64 percent of their value in these crisis years.

Real estate and bonds were profitable
Investors in Dutch bonds and in investment trusts investing in real estate did better last year. Trusts investing directly in office buildings, homes and shopping centres realised a return of 16.0 percent. The total return on bonds was 8.7 percent, higher than the average yield of bonds since the start of the CBS total return index for bonds nineteen years ago (7.7 percent). In spite of falls in share prices in the last three years, though, shares have yielded substantially more in this period (12.4 percent).

Losses across the board
All sectors of industry for which Statistics Netherlands calculates an index suffered losses on share prices in 2002. The trade sector was hit worst, with a negative return of 57.8 percent. Investors in transport, storage and communications companies (-13.3 percent) and in companies making consumer goods (-13.9 percent) suffered least.

Amsterdam lagging behind global average
The total return on Dutch shares was â€"32.8 percent last year. Amsterdam performed slightly worse than the global average. The MSCI global total return index (in euros) fell by 31.7 percent in the same period.

Share investment trusts also slump
Indirect investment in Dutch shares via an investment trust would not have yielded better results for investors in 2002. Investment trusts investing in Dutch shares lost 33.3 percent in 2002, slightly more than the average for all Dutch shares (-32.8 percent). Investment trusts investing world-wide lost 37.8 percent, also more than average (the MSCI global total return index fell by 31.7 percent).

(source: CBS)

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