The eight world indexes in my weekly review dropped to seven in this update. The Shanghai Composite was closed all week for Spring Festival. The UK's FTSE 100 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng were outliers at the top with approximately one percent weekly gains (1.03% and 0.99% respectively). Four of the seven active indexes ended the week in a narrow range of closes from -0.09% to 0.30%. Germany's DAXK (the DAX ex dividends) was the worst performer with a 0.77% loss.
The on-holiday Shanghai remains the only index on the watch list in bear territory -- the traditional designation for a 20% decline from an interim high. See the table inset (lower right) in the chart below. The index is down 29.93% from its interim high of August 2009. At the other end of the inset, the S&P 500 is a mere 0.10% off its interim high set on Thursday.
Here is a table highlighting the 2013 year-to-date gains, sorted in that order, along with the 2013 interim highs for the eight indexes. This is the first week of 2013 that no index is sitting at its YTD high.
A Closer Look at the Last Four Weeks
The tables below provide a concise overview of performance comparisons over the past four weeks for these eight major indexes. I've also included the average for each week so that we can evaluate the performance of a specific index relative to the overall mean and better understand weekly volatility. The colors for each index name help us visualize the comparative performance over time.
The chart below illustrates the comparative performance of World Markets since March 9, 2009. The start date is arbitrary: The S&P 500, CAC 40 and BSE SENSEX hit their lows on March 9th, the Nikkei 225 on March 10th, the DAX on March 6th, the FTSE on March 3rd, the Shanghai Composite on November 4, 2008, and the Hang Seng even earlier on October 27, 2008. However, by aligning on the same day and measuring the percent change, we get a better sense of the relative performance than if we align the lows.
A Longer Look Back
Here is the same chart starting from the turn of 21st century. The relative over-performance of the emerging markets (Shanghai, Mumbai SENSEX, Hang Seng) is readily apparent, especially the SENSEX, but the trend over the past two years has not been their friend (make that three years for the Shanghai).
Check back next week for a new update.