For shareholders of Volkswagen AG, 2008 was probably the most compelling year in the Company’s history. The performance of ordinary shares and preferred shares diverged widely. And for a short while, Volkswagen was even the most valuable company in the world.
GLOBAL EQUITY MARKETS
For investors, 2008 was a year marked by major fluctuations and in some cases steep plunges in share prices in the international equity markets. At the beginning of the year, prices slid significantly within a short period of time, leading to one of the weakest starts to a year in history. Global economic performance was overshadowed all year by the crisis stemming from the US mortgage and credit markets, with uncertainty in global capital markets growing significantly in the second half of the year.
After share prices bounced back for a short while in the second and third quarters, prices again dropped considerably in each case. The strength of the euro and high oil prices had a dampening effect mid-year. Both trends weakened again in the fourth quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, additional negative news from the financial and business sectors again caused share prices to plunge, a trend that could not be stopped initially even by government intervention attempts. It was not until mid-quarter that a sideways movement took hold and then continued until the end of the year.
The DAX closed 2008 at 4,810 points, 40.4% below the previous year’s figure. The DJ Euro STOXX Automobile closed at 198 points on December 31, 2008 for a decline of 44.2% compared with end-2007.