In a previous article, I discussed the fact that the oldest 'modern day' widely traded stock certificate, Dutch Vereinigte Oostindische Compaignie, is from the Netherlands. However, the oldest known [post cuneiform] share certificate is from the Swedish mining company, Stora Kopparberg, dated 1288. You can see a picture of the Stora stock certificate at the Augustana College website, although it's an upside down picture!
The company is still in business, and now is known as Stora Enso, a pulp and paper manufacturing business currently based in Finland.
Sweden is known for a lot more than issuing the oldest stock certificate:
Sweden is the third largest country in Western Europe in terms of area. It's a major exporter of iron, copper and timber. It has a significant amount of water power for electrical generation. The country's engineering sector accounts for 50% of exports. It has an inflation target of 2%. It has the oldest central bank in the world, the Riksbank, which was founded in 1668. It's the first country in the world to open an embassy in the virtual world Second Life. It is number one on The Economist Magazine's Intelligence Unit's democracy index.
Here is a list of Swedish stocks which trade in the United States:
Volvo AB (VOLV),manufactures trucks, buses, and construction equipment. The stock has a P/E of 17.7, and a PEG of 9.66. It also pays a yield of 3.5%.
Atlas Copco AB Series A (OTCPK:ATLKY), makes and sells industrial tools, and equipment. For the quarter ending March 31, the company achieved 24% organic order growth, and had its 20th consecutive quarter with organic growth. Its profits from continuing operations increased 21%.
Billerud AB (OTC:BLRDF) , manufactures and markets paper. Its operating income increased by 177% over the same quarter last year. Its profit per share also went up by 19%.
Diamyd Medical ADR (OTC:DMYDY), develops treatments for diabetes, and its complications. Its loss per share for the nine month period before dilution was US$0.60 versus US$0.40, for the same period of the previous fiscal year.
A B Electrolux S ADR (OTCPK:ELUXY), makes and markets home, and professional appliances. Its net sales for continuing operations increased by 1.5%, while its operating income rose by 26.2%.
Husqvarna AB SP ADR (OTCPK:HSQVY), makes chainsaws, as well as lawn and garden equipment. Its operating income for the first quarter increased, and the profit margin improved to 10.7%.
Sandvik AB SPONS ADR (OTCPK:SDVKY) makes cutting tools, mining, and construction equipment. It is also involved in materials technology. For the latest quarter, its sales increased 21%. Its net profit also went up by 26% for the quarter.
SKF AB (OTCPK:SKFRY), makes and markets rolling bearings, and elastomeric seals. Its operating profit increased by 17.2%, and sales were up 8.1%. Its basic earnings per share also increased by 4.9%.
Svenska Cellulosa B (OTCPK:SVCBY), is a manufacturer of pulp, paper, and consumer goods. Its earnings per share increased by 23% for the last reported quarter.
Swedbank AB SP ADR (OTCPK:SWDBY), is a banking company which serves customers in Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Both its operating profit, and earnings per share were down in 2006 versus 2005.
LM Ericsson Telephone Co. (NASDAQ:ERIC), provides telecommunications, and technology. It has a P/E of 16.28, and a PEG of 1.46.
Disclosure: The author does not own any of the above.