Business Week – Accountancy index hits all-time low.

After starting the week slightly higher, shares for accountancy-related firms fell to 94.92 points, down from last week’s lows of 97.34 and far from the 110-point summit seen in May. The FTSE-100 also fell, dropping as low as 102.84 mid-week before picking up to close the period down slightly on last week at 104.37 points

Robert Walters, the index’s second most heavily weighted stock, plunged 19%, losing almost 20p last Tuesday and continuing its drop to end at 130.5p. Heavyweight QSP Group was also on offer, ending the week 7% lower.

The index’s top winner was Sage, which gained 6%. Shares jumped 20p last Wednesday after Germany’s Deutsche Bank announced it now had an 11.07% stake in the accountancy software firm.

Mysis was also a winner, gaining 4% on news it bought US clinical software systems provider Sunquest Information Systems for about $404m (#285m) in cash. Analysts welcomed the acquisition, which is expected to increase the software group’s business in the US.

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The Accountancy Age/ADVFN share index is based on a portfolio of ten accountancy-related shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. The companies are Capita (business services); Itnet (outsourcing); Hays, Reed and Robert Walters (recruitment); and Logica, Misys, QSP, Sage and Sema (software).

The index is based on a notional £100,000 invested in the companies on 23 March 2001 and reflects the percentage change in the value of the portfolio based on current prices at close each day. The FTSE has been rebased to 100 using its 23 March value of 5,402.3 points.

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