In 2008, the Vienna Stock Exchange was also affected by the negative developments occurring in international capital markets. This was primarily the result of a lack of confidence in the future development of the CEE economies.
A large proportion of the companies listed in Vienna invest in this economic area. Investors’ fears were based on a belief that the economic crisis could also have long-term negative effects in this region. Higher loan default rates affecting bank balance sheets and currency devaluations are expected in the future. This differs from the opinion held by the companies operating in this region. Based on decades of experience gathered in economic times both good and bad, they believe the natural catch-up process will once again lead to a corresponding increase in growth in the near future.
The Viennese leading index, the ATX, clearly outperformed the European capital market during highly volatile trading in the first half of the year, recording a loss of only 12.6% versus a drop of 23.8% in the Eurostoxx 50 benchmark index. This was due to the outstanding corporate earnings of listed companies heavily involved in Eastern Europe.
As mentioned above, investor risk aversion increased once the effects of the capital market crisis began to be felt in the real economy, causing the ATX to fall by 61.2% over the year as a whole. However, the situation on the Vienna Stock Market eased up toward the end of the year, with the ATX rising almost 16% from its low for the year of 1,516.09 on 21 November 2008 to close the year at 1,750.83.