A total of 39 of the 48 markets that make up the S&P Global Broad Markets Index finished September in positive territory, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
It was a September to forget, as global markets pulled back in the face of a perceived weaker Europe and lower demand for commodities, and oil prices continued to be weak.
Geopolitical issues centred on the US-ISIS situation, as the US and its coalition of countries took their air strikes against ISIS to Syria, where a separate civil war has been under way for over three years.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict became more of a dialogue as both parties worked toward a longer truce, which appeared to permit Russia to indirectly control the Ukraine-Russia border area, while leaving most of Ukraine under its own control.
The European economy continued to look weak, as even more stimulus was expected. China appeared to be a similar scenario, as it seemed that the official 7.5 per cent growth rate might be redefined to permit the economy to achieve its goal. Month-end protests in Hong Kong from pro-democracy forces grew. At this point, the protests were met with limited and unsuccessful Chinese efforts to control them. This made markets very jittery (as they declined), since how far the protests would be permitted to go and by what means they might be controlled remained large unknown factors.
Emerging markets did poorly in September, even though eight of the 23 markets gained. As a group, the emerging markets were off 6.84 per cent for the month, but the year-to-date level was up 2.31 per cent. Newly admitted to the emerging markets from the frontier markets, UAE was up 1.60 per cent for the month (up 33.24 per cent year-to-date), with Qatar (also freshly added to that category) up 0.92 per cent (up 32.69 per cent year-to-date).
Egypt led the gainers as it continued to prosper, even as conflict continued in the Middle East; the country gained 4.21 per cent for the month, and is up 39.75 per cent year-to-date ̶ the best of any emerging or developed market. The Czech Republic did second best, up 2.77 per cent.
Brazil performed the worst, off 19.29 per cent for the month, as it declined into the red year-to-date with a 3.22 per cent loss.
Greece, which moved from the developed markets to the emerging markets in September, fell 14.51 per cent for the month and is off 17.01 per cent year-to-date. Turkey came third from the bottom of the emerging markets group with a double-digit loss of 11.93 per cent, as it remained positive year-to-date at up 3.43 per cent.
Developed markets were all down, with the exception of Israel being the only gainer, up 0.41 per cent. Developed markets fell 3.36 per cent, however, absent the 2.28 per cent decline from the US, developed markets would have been down 4.62 per cent for the month. Year-to-date results followed the same pattern, as global markets were up 1.69 per cent, but excluding the US gain of 5.40 per cent, they would have been off 2.46 per cent. Australia did the worst, off 12.03 per cent, resulting in its year-to-date return turning negative, with a 3.29 per cent loss. New Zealand was off 7.72 per cent for the month, but remains up 0.45 per cent year-to-date.