Amsterdam: 400 years on, and still rich in promise

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange was established in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company to allow people to buy and sell its printed stocks and bonds. As such, it is considered the oldest stock exchange in the world.

Things have changed a lot since then, though, and the Amsterdam exchange now forms part of NYSE Euronext, which also includes exchanges in New York, Paris, Lisbon, Brussels and London.

Euronext became the leading European stock exchange company in the early 2000s, after buying up the exchanges in Amsterdam, Paris, Lisbon and Brussels.

Then came the merger between Euronext and the NYSE Group in 2007, after the American company beat off a rival offer from Germany’s Deutsche Borse.

Having recently added a London exchange – NYSE Euronext London, aimed at issuers from outside the UK – NYSE Euronext now manages seven equities and seven derivatives exchanges across five different countries.

The 8,000 or so companies listed on these exchanges – which include 70 of the world’s largest companies – have a total market capitalisation of €17.69 trillion (£15.24 trillion), based on figures from November 30, 2010.

Meanwhile, the average daily trading value of the transactions taking place on its exchanges is €62.18bn, representing about 33 per cent of the world’s cash equities trading.

NYSE Liffe also runs futures and options markets in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, London and Paris, where some €2 trillion worth of derivatives business is traded every day.

In fact, within Europe, the Euronext markets are second only in size to the London Stock Exchange.
NYSE Euronext’s Rineke Reitsma said: “Our markets allow trading of cash equities, bonds, options, futures, equities and investment funds.”

Looking more specifically at the Amsterdam exchange, the total market capitalisation of the 159 Euronext Amsterdam-listed companies was €544bn on the latest available figures from the end of June 2010.
Big names listed on the exchange include Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, ArcelorMittal, Philips, ING Group, Heineken and AkzoNobel.

Latest developments on the Amsterdam exchange include the listing of ArcelorMittal’s stainless steel division Aperam, which the company is hoping will enable it to boost profits due to surging emerging market demand – particularly from Asia.

Other companies to look out for on the Amsterdam exchange include civil engineering group Fugro, which was the top performing share on the AEX blue chip index last year.

Individual stocks are far from the only way into the market, though. As of 30 June 2010, 5,537 structured products, 1,407 bonds, 186 investment funds and 107 ETFs were also listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More are being added all the time.

The AEX-Index reflects the performance of the 25 most actively traded shares listed on Euronext Amsterdam and is the most widely used indicator of the Dutch stock market.

There is also a mid-cap index, the AMX, a small cap index, the AScX, and a range of related and derived indices, including net and gross total return versions.

Headquartered in the Hague, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has its main listing on the London Stock Exchange but also a secondary listing on Euronext Amsterdam.

The world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal has operations in more than 60 countries and produced 73.2m tonnes of crude steel in 2009. Its shares are also listed in Brussels, Luxembourg, Madrid, New York and Paris.

Dual-listed Anglo-Dutch consumer goods manufacturer Unilever is also listed as Unilever PLC in London. Its branded products, including Marmite, <a href=""; target="_blank">Lynx</a> and Persil, are used by billions of people around the world every day.

The Dutch financial services group is familiar to the City for investment banking and insurance, but best known to British consumers as the provider of the ING Direct savings account. It also offers retirement services.