According to Standard & Poor’s Index Services’ global stock market review, The World By Numbers, equity markets in developed economies posted a slight decline in February of 0.12% compared to January’s slide of 7.83%. In contrast, emerging equity markets returned to positive territory with a gain of 7.65%, a huge comeback from their loss of 12.44% in January.
Now, if that isn’t how your portfolio feels, there is a reason. “Although, most of the world’s markets rebounded last month, the United States, which represents approximately 40% of the global equity market, was the main exception,” says Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at Standard & Poor’s. “We believe its 2.87% decline for the month is mostly due to the decline of the dollar, fears over a perceived U.S. recession and a general belief that U.S. growth will be substantially lower than most emerging countries.”
In contrast from January, where all 26 developed markets were negative, 19 of the 26 markets returned to positive territory with an average gain of 2.43% in February. Double-digit gains were posted by Luxembourg (14.16%) and Norway (12.46%); Iceland posted the sole double-digit loss, slipping 11.43%. While the gains helped reduce the January losses, only Luxembourg (2.42%) and Canada (1.65%) posted three-month gains. Twelve-month returns were mixed with 17 developed markets in positive territory and nine in the red.
The rebound for the emerging equity markets was stronger than that of the developed markets, with 21 of the 26 markets gaining an average of 7.74%. China reversed January's decline of 21.41%, posting a gain of 9.39%. Other notable gains were from Taiwan (up 16.07%) and Brazil (ahead 12.41%). The three-month period continues to remain mixed with 13 markets increasing and 13 remaining in negative territory. Due to strong 2007 gains, however, all 26 markets remain positive, posting an average gain of 36.75%, according to S&P.
Four of the ten GICS sectors posted gains in February. Looking at the sectors excluding the U.S., eight of the ten posted gains, demonstrating the depth and impact of the U.S. declines, according to a press release on the results. Energy was the best performer with a 7.95% (ex/U.S. up 8.50%) monthly gain. Financials trailed with a 4.66% loss (ex/U.S. lost 1.40%). On the sub-industry level, there was significant negative news in the Financials sector, according to S&P. Thrifts & Mortgage Finance posted a 14.64% decline, followed by Diversified Consumer Services with an 11.41% decline and Consumer Financing with a 10.56% decline.
The S&P/Citigroup World by Numbers Report for February can be accessed in full by going to www.worldbynumbers.standardandpoors.com
align="center"> S&P/Citigroup BMI Total Returns*
align="center"> February - 08
*Country returns in $US
Source: Standard & Poor's
Data as of: 2/29/08
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