The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least in Britain, where money and beer remain as important at the end of the 20th century as they were at the century's beginning.
British banks, breweries, distilleries and utilities had broadly similar weightings in 1999's FTSE 100 index to those of 1900, according to research to be published in the first quarter of 2000 by the global equities division of ABN AMRO Bank NV, Amsterdam, and the London Business School.
Academics at the LBS put together an equity index, similar in construction to the FTSE 100, for the top 100 British companies from New Year's 1900 to New Year's 1955. They combined that index with the ABN Amro/LBS index covering the entire equity market since 1955, to track investment trends over the century.
Sectors that changed dramatically in importance to the British economy during the century included railways and pharmaceuticals.
In 1900 railways accounted for nearly 50% of the top 100 quoted companies, compared with just 0.3% in 1999.
Pharmaceutical and oil companies, however, were scarcely present in the stock market in 1900 but were both major sectors in the market at the end of the century. Telecommunications companies accounted for only 2.5% of Britain's top 100 quoted companies in 1900, but their share of the market stood at 18% by the end of 1999, according to the report's authors, professors Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton of the London Business School.