The Oslo Børs Benchmark Index ended the year at 610.26. It has risen 510% in total over the last twenty years, representing an average annual return of 9.5%.
China worries and differing performance abroad
Worries about China caused large share price movements, particularly in the second half of the year. The sharp fall in the Chinese stock market combined with lower growth in the Chinese economy contributed to August seeing the Oslo Børs Benchmark Index fall by the largest amount since 2012.
2015 was characterised by the differing performance of the world’s economies. While growth has weakened in China and the temperature of the European economy remains low, the American economy has been on the up.
The performance of the world’s stock markets has also differed. At one end of the spectrum are Germany’s DAX-30 and Japan’s Nikkei 225, both of which rose by more than 9% in 2015, while at the other end are Sweden’s OMX Stockholm and the FTSE 100, which fell by 1.4 and 4.6% respectively. In America, the S&P500 has fallen/risen by xx% with two trading days to go until the end of the year.
Consumer staples and consumer discretionary this year’s winners
The low oil price has held the Oslo Børs markets back the most. The price of Brent crude has fallen by 36% since the start of 2015, dragging the Energy Sector Index down by 7.5%.
The value of the Norwegian krone has pulled in the opposite direction to the low oil price. The weaker krone has been favourable for the Norwegian export industry, an example of which is seafood. The Consumer Staples Index, which includes seafood shares, rose by a sizeable 33.3% in 2015. The strong rise in the shares of Orkla also helped Consumer Staples become the winning sector on Oslo Børs in 2015.
The Consumer Discretionary sector also had a good year, with RCL, Schibsted and XXL helping to send the Consumer Discretionary Index up by 29.4%. The performance of utilities companies was also notable, with Scatec Solar and Hafslund helping the Utilities Sector Index to rise by 21.1%.
- Individual shares: this year’s winners and losers (click on ‘Profit % this year’ to sort the table)
Record year for the number of equity instrument transactions
In terms of the number of transactions, more equity instruments were traded on Oslo Børs in 2015 than ever before. There was an average of 102.000 trades per day, which is 4.9% higher than in 2014, and the average daily value was NOK 4.6 billion. In krone terms, this is 7% higher than in 2014.
The volume of issues in the share market was relatively high. Companies listed on Oslo Børs and Oslo Axess raised NOK 26.8 billion in new equity capital in 2015, as compared to NOK 28.8 billion in 2014. Private placements accounted for about half this amount. Norwegian investment firms are amongst the best in the world at raising capital, and private placements are a quick and efficient way in which to raise money.
In 2014 new listings were the main source of new capital raised.While 19 new companies were listed on the Oslo Børs marketplaces in 2014, ten new companies were admitted to listing in 2015.
Green bonds and municipalities
2015 was another good year for the fixed income market. During the first 11 months of the year companies raised NOK 260 billion through new issues and increases to existing issues. This amount is somewhat lower than in the corresponding period in 2014, which was a record year, but is higher than in 2013. Energy companies have reduced the scale of their borrowing on the Oslo Børs marketplaces over the course of the year, but this was offset by growth in other sectors.
Oslo Børs became the first stock exchange in the world to launch a separate list for green bonds. Eleven green bonds with an outstanding value of NOK 15.3 billion have been listed since the list started on 29 January 2015.
Municipal bonds are another growth sector. More and more municipalities are choosing to list their bonds on the Oslo Børs marketplaces. Stock exchange listing gives municipalities access to a broader base of investors. Many investors want the bonds they own to be stock exchange listed, and new issue managers are happy to recommend that municipalities list their bonds. 2015 saw 26 new issuers list bonds on the Oslo Børs marketplaces for the first time, and six of the new issuers were municipalities.