Topping the list again was China , whose stock market posted a 91.6% rise for the 12 months which ended December 31. A year ago, that same market’s 137% gain also topped the chart.
Russia’s 81.5% gain earned it a second-place ranking, as it rebounded from 2000’s 5% loss. Turkey , which had led the list in 1999 with a 485% increase, came in third in 2001 with a 46.1% return.
The number of markets registering positive returns was more than double the six that did so in 2000. Other markets recording gains were Korea (37.5%), South Africa (25.4%), Taiwan (17%), Mexico (13%), Thailand (12.9%), Chile (9.1%), New Zealand (8.0%), Australia (6.5%), Austria (6.3%), Malaysia (2.4%) and Israel (0.9%).
The greatest drop over the year was reported by Finland’s bourse, which slid 32%. Not surprisingly in view of recent events, Argentina fared only a bit better, adding a 29.1% loss to the 24% tumble recorded in 2000.
The United States market, which fell 12.4% as measured by the S&P 500, finished in the middle of the pack ? number 20 of the 38 national markets ranked by Merrill Lynch.
Ireland , whose 14% gain was good enough for a second place ranking in 2000, tumbled to the number 15 slot with a loss of 1.6%.
The Merrill Lynch World Stock Market Performance ranking is based on the major index for each country in terms of local currency (i.e. S&P for the U.S., FTSE for England, DAX for Germany and the All Ordinaries for Australia, etc.).