Index reflects solid year for accountancy.

The previous year had been a bad one for all involved, but since April a degree of confidence in accountancy-related stocks has returned, and a trend of growth re-established. Overall, the index grew by nearly 50% during the last 12 months, outpacing the FTSE100 by nearly five times.

Particularly impressive this year has been the performance of recruitment firm Robert Walters. Starting at 58p in January, it has more than doubled its value to around 135p. Steady growth throughout the year accelerated in October, leaving the company as the most improved in the index.

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Financial services group LogicaCMG was another strong performer, growing by more than 80% during the last 12 months. A price of around 280p is a massive improvement on 150p in January, although short of its peak price for the year of 317p following the announcement that it was to acquire parts of Experian in the Netherlands. Despite strong growth, the company is still only valued at around a quarter of its 1,076p start price in the index on 23 March 2001.

Strong and steady rises were also experienced by recruitment company Michael Page – up 80% to around 200p, Misys – up more than 60% to nearly 290p, ITNet – a 50% rise to 300p and Xansa – also up more than 60% to around 90p. Xansa, however, has still not reached even a third of its value since the index started, when it stood at 297.5p.

Recruitment company Hays and Sage, the only software company left in the FTSE100, had smaller growths of just over a third, to around 125p and 180p respectively, while Capita ended the year in very much a similar position to the one in which it started.

The only company to show a fall in share price was new constituent BPP.

The professional education company replaced recruitment firm Reed Executive in August following Reed’s decision to de-list from the stock exchange, but experienced a 10% fall since its arrival.

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