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Global equity markets end 2008 on a positive note

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Global equity markets rebounded in December, with 19 of the 21 emerging markets and 22 of the 25 developed markets posting gains during the month, according to Standard & Poor’s Ind

Global equity markets rebounded in December, with 19 of the 21 emerging markets and 22 of the 25 developed markets posting gains during the month, according to Standard & Poor’s Index Services monthly global stock market review.

For 2008, however, the 46 global equity markets that comprise the S&P Global Broad Market Indices lost a combined USD17trn as emerging markets fell 54.72 per cent and developed markets dropped 42.72 per cent for the year.

‘A glimmer of hope – that is how we can define December,’ says Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at Standard & Poor’s and author of the report. ‘As central banks race to reduce rates, add liquidity and shore up their local economy, markets remain cautiously optimistic as we move into 2009. However, as evident by the huge stock piles of cash still on the side lines, many world markets are taking a wait-and-see approach. The result is a continuance of extreme market volatility.’

Among the more notable emerging market decliners in 2008 were the Bric countries: Brazil (-57.35 per cent), Russia (-73.67 per cent), India (-64.51 per cent), and China (-53.21 per cent).

The report found that Morocco was the best performer among emerging market countries declining 15.85 per cent. The second best performer was Israel, nearly 20 percentage points away, with a loss of 34.68 per cent.

As for the developed markets, Ireland (-69.94 per cent), Greece (-66.50 per cent) and Norway (-66.07 per cent) were the major declines in 2008. 

Japan posted the second best return during the year (-29.22 per cent), with Switzerland close behind at -30.60 per cent.

The US declined 38.68 per cent during the year placing it as the third ‘best’ performer among developed markets and fifth best among all global equity markets.

Sector membership differentiated market performance in 2008, with both the financials and materials sectors losing over half their value (-53.77 per cent and -52.90 per cent) respectively.

Telecommunications, utilities, and consumer staples performed relatively well for the year declining 10.39 per cent, 11.45 per cent and 13.84 per cent respectively.

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