There Is A Stock Market There?

Iceland.

Yes, Iceland has a stock market. I stumbled across this article at the Index Universe site. Apparently the ICEX-15 has been on fire for the last two years. They recently created an ETF based on the ICEX-15 that appear to only be available in Iceland. In fact I can’t find any way for Americans to easily access that market.

I looked through the listings of companies (the information is available in English for those of you that are not fluent in Icelandic) and two types of companies seem to dominate the roster; financials and companies one way or another associated with the fishing industry.

Iceland had GDP growth in 2004 of 5.2%, prices rose by 4.7% over the trailing twelve months (TTM), incomes rose by 6.7% TTM, unemployment is running at 2.5%, the value of fish caught rose by 11% (no joke this is in the stats). The other thing that caught my eye is that they have a very small trade deficit. The reason I think this is noteworthy is other than fish what else do they have? Either more than I think or they are selling a lot of fish, whatever the case there is demand for their goods which may mean good things can continue to happen economically which may domino to good things for the ICEX-15.

As you look at the five year chart posted above it seems to me that Iceland has a low correlation to the US, if I am right I think it is because the economy of Iceland is basically one giant food stock with little controversy. Food stocks are thought to be defensive plays. The last six years have not been great for the US but have been good for the ICEX-15. The food stock concept loses some steam because Iceland has such a small market and very little global capital would likely seek refuge there during major market downturns.

Just something interesting.

3 Comments

  1. Just read your blurb on Iceland’s markets. Are there any Icelandic companies that trade as ADR’s and don’t they also have some alternative energy companies?

    Reply
  2. Sorry I wasn’t clear, here are some specifics. ADR.com doesn’t know any Icelandic ADR’s. While financials and fisheries dominate the listings all the sectors seem to be represented. I spoke to someone at the Schwab global desk and they have no way to access ordinary shares. I was told Citi might have access but my only contact there is a fraternity brother in retail. I get a lot of traffic from Citi, so anyone knows whether Citi has exposure….

    One very savvy reader emailed me to say that Kaupthing Bank has a branch in NYC. US citizens can open an account, the reader tells me, and buy shares. BTW Kaupthing is who offers the lone ETF.

    I have had a lot of email about the Iceland post. Good stuff!

    Reply
  3. Well, this is a good article but I see at least one wrong thing there. We are not just exporting fish and other food, we also produce a lot of energy which we use for the making of aluminum. We are pretty big in that stage.

    Icelander

    Reply

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