According to Kauphöll Íslands, the Iceland Stock Exchange, all but three companies listed in securities trading group Kauphöll Íslands have gone up in the first quarter of 2005. FL Group (formerly Flugleiðir), Bakkavör and Þormóði ramma – Sæberg went up by about 30% in the first three months. Jarðboranir, Flaga Group and SÍF were the only companies which went down in value.
In 2004, the turn-around on stocks from Icelandair was more than 125%. In other words, the Icelandic Stock Exchange is pretty hot right now.
If you want to get in on the action, there are a few things you should know about trading in Iceland. The website for the Iceland Stock Exchange (www.icex.is) spells out the ground rules.
You can trade securities through any number of banks and securities offices (verðbréfastofan), but they generally keep that quiet. They prefer to attract the business of larger companies and corporations, although they won’t refuse your money if you want to trade as a private investor.
There are two markets to choose from in Iceland: the Main List and the Alternative Market. Between them, the Alternative Market is less stringent. Rules and regulations for trading in Iceland follow those outlined in the European Economic Area (the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein).
The market day starts at 9:45, with a fifteen-minute “precall,” followed by continuous equity from 10:00 until 15:55, when a closing call is made. The market day closes at 16:00.
As commissions and fees vary from place to place, shop the different banks and securities offices for a while before choosing your investment house. For more information, contact the Iceland Stock Exchange by phone at 525 2800 or by email at email@example.com.
(Next issue: Grapevine’s Stock Picks—or “How to make enough money to stop reading free newspapers.”)