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Here's a year-end snapshot of seven major world indexes that illustrates the wide range of performance over the past year.

The Bombay Sensex finished in first place with the DAX as a close runner-up. The Shanghai Composite came in dead last — significantly lower than the other negative performer, the Nikkei 225. The FTSE's commendable ended the year in the middle of the pack with a 9.0% gain, which calls attention to the generally positive skew of the 2010 index closes.

The S&P 500 began a sustained rally at the end of August, immediately after Ben Bernanke's August 27th speech at the Jackson Hole Fed symposium. In fact, the major indexes all rallied following the speech. Coincidence? Or was the clear signal of Fed accommodation a trigger for market optimism?

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Disclosure: No positions

Source: World Markets in Review: The Bernanke Put?