A monthly stock exchange index for Ireland, 1864-1930
Information on the performance of equities during the latter part of the globalized long nineteenth century is scarce, particularly for smaller European economies such as Ireland.� Using a dataset of over 35,000 price-year observations from the Investor's Monthly Manual, this paper constructs new monthly Irish stock market price indices for the period 1864-1930, encompassing periods of significant economic and political turmoil in Irish history.� In addition to a total market index covering all 118 equity securities issued by 94 companies, sector-specific indices are presented for railways, financial services companies, and miscellaneous industrial and retail companies.� Weighted by market capitalization, nominal equity prices were largely static in the 1860s, before increasing by almost 60% in nominal terms between 1870 and 1878.� Between 1878 and 1879, equity prices fell by one sixth in the space of a year, after which there was a secular rise in equity prices for two decades, with equity prices in 1899 twice what they had been in 1864.� Between the turn of the century and the outbreak of the Great War, though, prices fell by 25%, a pattern that stands in stark contrast to returns on the London exchange, which were greater during 1894-1913 than during the preceding two decades.� The period from 1914 until 1929 saw a number of boom-bust cycles, concurrent with war and other political events affecting Ireland, including its independence movement.� Railway equities, which had trebled between the mid-1860s and the turn of the century, fell sharply during the 1910s and 1920s.� In contrast, financial equity prices - which were just 20% higher in 1920 than in 1864 - rose strongly during the 1920s.� Overall, the average annual gain in equity prices over the period was just 0.9%, well below levels associated with an equity premium puzzle.
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