By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The Irish stock exchange is in the doldrums and was one of the worst performers in the world last year, according to a new study from Davy Stockbrokers.
The dismal overall performance was despite spectacular gains by some technology and telecom-related stocks.
The Dublin market was down 16.4 percent in dollars terms, compared to the U.S., up 19.5; the UK, up 14.4, other Eurozone markets, up 16.4; Japan, up 51, and Hong Kong, up 68.8.
The overall poor performance was despite the booming economy and predictions of continued strong growth.
Analysts are blaming lack of investment from abroad amid fears the economy will overheat and a continued outflow of funds as institutional managers diversified their portfolios into other Euro-zone stocks.
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"Ireland was the second-poorest performing market in Europe after Belgium and one of the worst in the world," said Davy’s head of research, Robbie Kelleher.
"Moreover the performance in Irish pound terms of the index was further compounded by the depreciation of the Irish pound in line with the euro against most of the other major currencies."
He said there had been a 23 percent drop in financial stocks during the year.
However, industrial stocks were up 25 percent, led by a 95 percent gain in Smurfit, almost 90 percent in Independent News and Media, 74 percent in Ryanair, and 45 percent in Cement Roadstone Holdings.
Resource shares were also back in , with the index recovering by more than 55 percent after a 60 percent fall in 1988.
"Ireland also had its own version of the technology boom. Leading the way was Baltimore, whose price increased by more than tenfold during a year in which it merged with the UK company Zergo. At the end of the year, it had a market capitalization of 2.3 billion euro and, if it were listed on the Dublin exchange, it would rank number eight in size."
Other winners in the technology shares included SmartForce (up 157 percent), Esat Telecom (up 191) Trintech (up 330 since its launch in August) and Iona (up 69).