THE GERMAN public welcomed the Neuer Markt, Germany’s Nasdaq equivalent, with open arms, driving the exchange steadily higher since its inception a few years ago. Until quite recently the Neuer Markt succeeded in attracting investors and, thus, helped to support start-up companies in new-economy sectors, from multimedia to the Internet and genomics.

But since last fall the something has started to go wrong. The euphoric mood has rapidly turned downtrodden and now borders on depressed.

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