Shares and Bonds
Volkswagen AG’s ordinary and preferred shares underperformed the market as a whole in fiscal 2014 in a volatile market environment. Volkswagen further strengthened its liquidity and capital base through the issuance of hybrid notes and through a capital increase in connection with the acquisition of all outstanding Scania shares.
Prices on the international equity markets experienced volatility in fiscal 2014. The DAX rose slightly overall. Recurring uncertainties about economic growth in key industrialized nations in particular, as well as central banks’ monetary policies and geopolitical tensions led to large price fluctuations in the markets.
The DAX moved sideways amid slight price swings during the first quarter. Share prices rose briefly, buoyed in particular by the World Bank’s increased growth forecast for the economy as a whole, positive economic data and corporate news from the eurozone. Nevertheless, investors were rattled by expectations that the US Federal Reserve would pursue a more restrictive monetary policy, concerns about a weak phase in the Chinese economy, fears that emerging economies’ exchange rates would fall further and doubts about the global economic recovery. Rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine also depressed prices.
The share price volatility continued into the beginning of the second quarter. Better-than-expected economic data from China and hopes that the Fed would continue its expansionary monetary policy temporarily stabilized prices in an environment marked by anxiety over the effects of the crisis in Ukraine, weak quarterly figures from the USA and concerns about continued volatile exchange rates in developing countries. However, the European Central Bank’s decision to continue its loose monetary policy, healthy corporate results in the eurozone and positive economic data from the USA led to price increases later on in the quarter; the DAX passed the 10,000 point mark in mid-June 2014.
The price gains at the end of the second quarter were followed by a turnaround. While positive labor market and corporate data from the USA and hopes that the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve would continue their expansionary monetary policy initially led to an uptrend, prices came under pressure once again as a result of escalating political tensions in the Middle East and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Investors were also unsettled by concerns about payment problems at Portuguese banks and negative economic indicators from Europe.
The downward trend continued into the final quarter. Capital market participants were unnerved by weak economic data from Germany, among other countries, as well as concerns about ongoing economic developments in key industrialized nations and emerging markets. This led to a clear drop in the DAX, which recorded its low for the year of 8,572 points on October 15, 2014. The equity markets then rallied significantly as the fourth quarter progressed on the back of unexpectedly strong economic data from the USA and Germany and a slump in oil prices. The DAX reached 10,087 points on December 5, 2014, its highest closing price for the year, before softening slightly in the last few weeks of trading for 2014.
At the end of 2014, the DAX had reached 9,806 points, a slight increase on the previous year’s figure (+2.7%). The EURO STOXX Automobiles & Parts closed the year at 479 points, 4.2% higher than on the last day of trading in 2013.