Officials at the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE) announced on Friday that even though trading almost came to a halt during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer 20 years ago, it was as lively as ever during the recent Olympic action in Sochi, Russia. The lack of an “OL lull,” they think, reflects the larger numbers of non-Nowegian investors now active on the OSE, who aren’t distracted by Norwegian sports.
Trading was brisk even during some of the most exciting Olympic events, reported the OSE’s communications manager Geir Harald Aase. Foreign investors now own nearly 40 percent of the shares traded on the OSE and account for 80 percent of trading volume. They don’t disappear like Norwegian investors have when they stop working to watch major Norwegian sports events.
The exchange sent out a report Friday afternoon noting that share volume actually increased during the last two weeks, when the Winter Olympics have played out in Sochi. The value of daily trading has averaged NOK 4.75 billion spread over 94,800 transactions, OSE reported, and that was actually up 33.4 percent in kroner terms and 20.1 percent measured in terms of shares changing hands.
That’s a marked contrast from 1994, when trading volume fell dramatically, from an average daily value of NOK 500 million at the time to just NOK 176 million during the Olympics in Lillehammer. Trading was especially quiet when the women’s cross-country ski team won silver in the relay behind the Russian women, and when skiing star at the time Bjørn Dæhlie lost the gold to Silvio Fauner in the men’s relay.
This year, when Maiken Caspersen Falla and Ole Vigen Hattestad won sprint gold between 2pm and 3pm on Tuesday, trading value hit NOK 395 million. During the team sprint on Wednesday, which also fell in the middle of Norway’s traditional winter holiday week, trading value varied beween NOK 230 millon and NOK 280 million.
The numbers show how trading during just one hour this past week was nearly three times as much as trading during an entire day in February 1994. That can be explained, OSE reported, by the increase in international interest in Norway’s stock market.