(Corrects Philips’ market capitalisation in paragraph 7 to 44 bln euros (not 51 bln euros))
* Previous high was Sept. 5, 2000 amid internet bubble
* Technology, Asian-focused shares have led gains
* ASML, Adyen, Prosus now alongside Philips, Shell, ING
AMSTERDAM, March 31(Reuters) - Amsterdam’s blue chip AEX index hit an all-time high of 703.29 on Wednesday, surpassing its September 2000 peak, as technology and Asia-oriented shares gained after a long retreat of bank and insurer valuations.
The index, which is derived from the largest 25 companies on Euronext Amsterdam by market capitalization and float size, posted its previous record high, at 703.18, on Sept. 5, 2000, amid the telecommunications and internet bubble.
Though the milestone comes as Amsterdam is in partial lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city is undergoing a financial boom, attracting trading houses, financial technology companies, and companies seeking a headquarters in the European Union after Brexit.
The largest company in the index is now semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding NV with a market capitalisation of more than 200 billion euros ($235 billion), which sells equipment to Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung.
Newcomers such as fintech payments firm Adyen, online food ordering company Just Eat Takeaway.com, and technology investor Prosus, which holds a 31% stake in Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent, have altered the index’s profile.
Of the top shares in the year 2000 - Royal Dutch Shell, Philips, Unilever, ING, Fortis and ABN Amro - half were banks. Fortis collapsed in 2008, and the revamped ABN Amro was relegated to the midcap index this year.
Shell and Unilever are still major constituents, though Unilever has moved its headquarters to Britain. Philips gradually transformed itself into a healthcare technology company with a 44 billion euro market capitalization, surpassing ING.
Insurer Aegon and telecoms provider KPN have shrunk, while beer maker Heineken has outperformed. ($1 = 0.8528 euros) (Reporting by Toby Sterling, Editing by Andrew Heavens and Hugh Lawson)