NIS News Bulletin
 AEX Index Breaks Through Magic 500 Threshold

AMSTERDAM, 03/01/07 - Yesterday, on the first trading day of the New Year, the AEX Index broke through the magic 500-point threshold.

After three quarters of an hour of trading, the index of the most active companies in Amsterdam stood at 500.51 points, up 5.17 points or 1 percent from Friday's close. The AEX closed at 500.10.

Investors last saw a level of 500 points for the AEX in May 2002. The index flirted three times last year with the 500 points level, but did not manage to break through this psychological barrier.

The highest level ever recorded was 703.18, in September 2000. In March 2003, the leading bourse indicator dropped to a low of 217.80 points following the bursting of the Internet bubble - the lowest level for the previous 11 years.

Bourse experts are unsure whether the AEX will manage to stay above the 500 level. "This breakthrough still has to be confirmed," said analyst Jaap Barendregt of FBS Bankiers. He considers the price potential of the AEX companies limited, but he does think the index will move up to 534 points this year.

CornČ van Zeijl of SNS Asset Management: "There is a bit too much optimism among investors. This is generally followed by a correction." SNS is projecting a final level of 550 points for the AEX index in 2007, mainly due to strong profit trends for companies.

Investors were mainly inspired yesterday by advances on Asian bourses, as there was no important company news to give direction to the market. On the macro-economic level as well, the calendar was empty.