New reality at Neuer Markt By Shaun Brown
|& Steve Edelson
Staff Writers

The first reports are surfacing in Europe that the bloom my be off Germany's Neuer Markt exchange for growth stocks. But despite a 15.5 percent decline in share prices on the exchange so far this year, it may be too early to conclude that investors have lost interest in trading on the leader of the Continent's New Market exchanges.

The NEMAX All Share Index, a measure of Neuer Markt value, fell 601 points from Dec. 31 to close at 3277 on Friday. However, average trading volume per company has actually increased, from 748,000 shares last December to 884,000 in July.

"Investor interest is not waning, but instead German investors are maturing", said CFO Peer Schatz of Qiagen (NMarkt:QIA; QGENF), the nucleic acid products company. "There's a one-to-one correlation between size and performance of companies."

Oliver Maier, pharma analyst with Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, provided a similar view. If volume is any indicator of investor interest, this maturation is directly reflected by the increased trading volumes in large cap companies at the expense of smaller cap companies, he noted. "Investors are moving their money into less volatile large cap companies valued over
E200 million ($215 million)," said Maier. This is good news for QIA, which has a market cap