S&P Sees December as a Glimmer of Hope in an Otherwise Bad Year

January 6, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Global equity markets rebounded in December, according to Standard & Poor's Index Services monthly global stock market review, The World by Numbers.

An S&P press release said 19 of the 21 emerging markets and 22 of the 25 developed markets posted gains during December; however, the 46 global equity markets that comprise the S&P Global Broad Market Indices lost a combined $17 trillion for the year. Emerging markets fell 54.72% and developed markets dropped 42.72% in 2008, according to S&P data.

“A glimmer of hope – that is how we can define December,” said Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at Standard & Poor’s and author of the report, in the press release. “As central banks race to reduce rates, add liquidity and shore up their local economy, markets remain cautiously optimistic as we move into 2009.”

Emerging market decliners in 2008 included Brazil (-57.35%), Russia (-73.67%), India (-64.51%), and China (-53.21%). Morocco was the best performer among emerging market countries, declining by 15.85%, followed by Israel, with a loss of 34.68%.

Among developed markets, Ireland (-69.94%), Greece (-66.50%), and Norway (-66.07%) were the major decliners in 2008.  Japan posted the second best return during the year (-29.22%), followed by Switzerland at -30.60%. The United States came in as third best, declining 38.68%.

By sector, both Financials and Materials lost over half their value (-53.77% and -52.90%, respectively) during the year. Telecommunications, Utilities, and Consumer Staples declined 10.39%, 11.45%, and 13.84%, respectively.

The complete World by Numbers Report can be accessed at www.standardandpoors.com/indices under “Publications.”