Global Markets in Review: Will Emerging Markets Lead the Way Down?

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 |  Includes: DIA, DXJ, EDD, EDF, EEM, EWJ, IYT, QQQ, SPY
by: Prieur du Plessis

In the absence of the usual weekly “Words from the Wise” review (see Gone A.W.O.L – to Uruguay and San Diego), this week I will only provide a summary of the movements of major global stock markets for the past week and various other measurement periods.

With sovereign debt concerns taking center stage, the cyclical bull market that commenced on March 9, 2009 showed some hesitancy during the past week. Performances were mixed as seen from the MSCI World Index gaining a meager 0.2% and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index losing 0.5%.

Among mature markets, Japan recorded a seven-week winning streak and marched to an 18-month peak, benefitting from the weaker yen that boosted exporters.

Emerging markets were mixed with China (-0.3), Hong Kong (-1.5%), Brazil (-0.2%) and Russia (-0.6%) all ending in the red. Emerging markets (+0.4%) have underperformed mature markets (+2.1%) since the beginning of the year, and raises the question whether these markets (and notably China) could lead global markets down in the same way that emerging markets were the first ones to turn higher at the start of the nascent bull market. The Shanghai Composite Index is also the only major index trading below its key 200-day moving average, albeit by only 13 points.

Notwithstanding the huge rally since the March lows, only the Chile Stock Market General Index and the Mexico Bolsa Index have been able to reclaim their 2007 pre-crisis peaks and are now respectively trading 7.1% and 0.9% higher. Israel could be the next country to eliminate its bear market losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Index and the S&P 500 Index still need to rise 30.5% and 34.2% respectively to reach their October 2007 bull market peaks.

Among the major U.S. indices, the Dow Jones Transportation Index (NYSEARCA:IYT) (-0.8%) ended the week under water. The Dow Jones Industrial Index (NYSEARCA:DIA), S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) and Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQQ) registered a fourth consecutive week of gains, although only just.

Click here or on the table below for a larger image.

Click to enlarge

Top performers among the entire spectrum of stock markets this week were Turkey (+6.6%), Tanzania (+6.1%), Ukraine (+4.9%), Uganda (+4.8%) and Bangladesh (+3.8%). At the bottom end of the performance rankings, countries included Bermuda (-8.6%), Nepal (-2.8%), Cyprus (-2.8%), Jordan (-2.7%) and Vietnam (-2.1%).

Of the 96 stock markets I keep on my radar screen, 63% (last week 64%) recorded gains, 34% (33%) showed losses and 3% (3%) remained unchanged. The performance map below tells the past week’s mostly bullish story.

Emerginvest world markets heat map (Click to enlarge)

Source: Emerginvest (Click here to access a complete list of global stock market movements.)

The performance of the economic sectors of the S&P 500 ended mixed for the week, with six sectors closing higher and four lower. Consumer Discretionary (+2.4%) and Financials (+2.1%) led the pack and Energy (-1.9%), Utilities (-1.7%) and Health Care (-1.1%) formed the rear guard.

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Source: US Global Investors – Weekly Investor Alert, March 26, 2010.