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Onwards and upwards for training market

... but the big bucks are being made by education firms with interests in e-commerce.

HOW have shares in education and training companies fared in the Stock Market gyrations of the past six months? Last year this column reported on the performance of the Capital Strategies education and training index. This index tracks the performance of shares in companies with significant parts of their income derived from the education and training sectors. At that time it had outperformed the FTSE 100 index.

Over the seven months between last June and the end of January 2000, the Education and Training Index has improved its performance dramatically. During this period it rose by 160 points - a staggering 85 per cent increase in value. Much of the rise cae between November and January when it increased by 50 per cent. It did better than both the broader-based FTSE 100 and FTSE All Share indices.

According to Capital Strategies who developed the index, its leading performers during this period included companies with "dot.com" initiatives. Poor performers in the index included a publishing company that issued a profits warning in January due to poor sales of some of its titles.

With schools receiving a pound;1 billion boost from the Chancellor, some of this money will probably find its way into the pockets of companies in the index. The question, as always in investment, will be which ones?

John Howson is a visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University. E-mail: Int.edu@lineone.net

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