Global Markets Fall Further in March

April 2, 2000 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - Global stock markets retreated again in March, dampened by earnings disappointments and concerns surrounding the breadth of a global slowdown.

China was the only market to post double-digit gains in U.S. dollar terms, according to figures compiled by FTSE, the index group. The country’s 20.6% return reflected the opening of the B share market, previously reserved for foreigners.

Elsewhere, though gains were modest, Finland, Argentina and Taiwan were the only other markets to post positive returns on a dollar-denominated basis, according to the FTSE World Markets Report. Only Finland managed better than a 1% return, however.

Europe, Asia Slump

Flagging global markets were further affected by ongoing profit warnings from the corporate sector. Bad news from Ericsson, Sweden’s technology and mobile telecom group, sent its component of the index down 21%, this month’s worst performing market.

In Asia, Singapore’s stock market retreated over 15%, dragged down by Singapore Telecom’s takeover by Optus, while elsewhere political instability continued to plague the Indonesian market, which slid nearly 19%.

Turkey, still suffering the effects of its recent liquidity crisis and devaluation, was down more than 17% in March.

In Europe, despite traditionally more defensive plays such as real estate, gas and water, outperforming their more cyclical peers, the European Central Bank decided against cutting interest rates at its last policy meeting.