On this first lockdown Sunday of Advent we’ve got the DAX, the AfD and die Partei for you!
Jörg & Axel
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1. The DAX gets a facelift
The DAX stock index, which bundles the top publicly-traded companies on the Deutsche Börse, is getting a facelift.
But when the index expands next year from 30 to 40 companies it will unfortunately not include the shooting stars of the vaccine scene, Curevac or Biontech, as they are listed on the Nasdaq. No disrespect to new entrants such as Hannover Rück or Knorr-Bremse, but they don’t do much to modernize the industrial museum that is the DAX.
Joking aside, the DAX is an important barometer of the health of German public markets and is in desperate need of modernization. When Wirecard kicked Commerzbank out of the index in 2018 it sent shockwaves through the establishment. When the company two years later went belly up, the first DAX company ever to do so, it took a large chunk of trust in the public markets with it. The public row about whether Wirecard’s replacement in the club, Delivery Hero, actually belongs there was understandable, but it didn’t do the reputation of the DAX any good.
The Deutsche Börse has learned from both Wirecard and Delivery Hero. DAX companies that (like Wirecard) do not publicize their financial reports in time will be kicked out, and companies which (like Delivery Hero) aren’t profitable, won’t be let in.
Which ten companies will get to join the club next year will mainly depend on their market capitalization but also on the so-called public float, the portion of shares of a corporation that are in the hands of public investors as opposed to locked-in stock held by promoters.
We’re rooting for two contenders in particular - Zalando would lead to much-needed modernization, and Carl Zeiss Meditec would be the first and only East German company.
2. Die Partei enter the Bundestag
That was fast - a month after we wrote about the jokers of Die Partei and their new ambitions, the party has entered the Bundestag. And there hasn’t even been an election.
Party chairman Martin Sonneborn was able to convince the independent politician Marco Bülow, who two years ago left the SPD but retained his seat in parliament, to join his clown-gang and become their first ever Bundestagsabgeordneter.
No one knows what to expect of Bülow, a troublemaker whom the SPD were all too happy to be rid of after bizarre verbal attacks on party colleagues. But we’re sure to find out soon. Even as a one-man show, Bülow will get a bit of speaking time in the Bundestag.
The previously boring German parliament is getting spicier by the day. On Thursday, CDU/CSU faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus launched an unprecedented attack against the government and Angela Merkel for bypassing parliament with their corona policies.
3 . Informants inside the AfD
Germany’s domestic intelligence agencies have started grooming informants inside the Alternative for Germany. We know this because both the populist party and at least two state security agencies have confirmed that it is happening. AfD insiders told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that at least five people have been approached by spies to work for them as so-called V-Männer.
The legality of such use of informants inside the far-right party is not clear; some chapters of the party are considered “cases of suspicion” while other chapters aren’t. At any rate, it reminds us of the attempt to ban the neo-Nazi NPD two decades ago. That ended in farce after it turned out that there were so many V-Männer at the top of the party that it was unclear whether the radicals were acting independently or in cooperation with German spooks.
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Who we are:
Jörg Luyken: Journalist based in Berlin since 2014. His work has been published by German and English outlets including der Spiegel, die Welt, the Daily Telegraph and the Times. Formerly in the Middle East.
Axel Bard Bringéus: Started his career as a journalist for the leading Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet and has spent the last decade in senior roles at Spotify and as a venture capital investor. In Berlin since 2011.