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S&P Dow Jones Indices recaps 2012 financial market performance in Europe and Asia

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S&P Dow Jones Indices has analysed the performance and trends of the equity and commodity markets over the past year, with a focus on Europe and Asia.



Global equity markets bounced back in 2012, as the S&P Global BMI gained 11.4 per cent through November, following a dismal 2011 in which the index lost about 10 per cent.

Developed markets (+11.6 per cent) have modestly outpaced emerging markets (+9.9 per cent) in 2012, driven by strength in the US, where the DJIA and the S&P 500 were respectively up by 6.6 per cent and 12.6 per cent year-to-date.
 
After losing nearly 23 per cent in 2011, the S&P Emerging BMI recovered some of its losses in 2012, ending November up 9.9 per cent as investors cautiously moved back into riskier equity markets. Performance among the BRICs has been highly divergent: India (+22.6 per cent), China (+11.1 per cent), Russia (+1.7 per cent) and Brazil (-7.3 per cent).
 
Despite relatively flat returns in 2012, the year in commodities was far from calm. The S&P GSCI opened the year with a big rally, gaining 8.4 per cent by the end of February. As the weather has cooled, so has risk appetite amid global economic concerns which, in conjunction with increasing North Americas supplies, has driven down industrial metals and energy, causing the S&P GSCI to be basically back to where it started at the beginning of 2012, 0.73 per cent YTD through November.

The key index investment themes in 2012 include the quest for diversification beyond equities, the search for income, and the increased adoption of alternative beta and low risk index strategies.
 
Issuances of equity ETFs in Asia have been generally slow this year and have mostly focused on broad-based domestic equity indices. However, inflows in broad-based fixed income and/or international equities products have increased. In Europe, in addition to interest in enhanced beta indices, inflows into emerging markets indices have also garnered much enthusiasm. In the commodities space, investor inflow in both Europe and Asia have picked up in the last quarter despite a lethargic start to 2012.

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