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This past week saw a massive rebound in global markets with double-digit gains in France and Germany. The S&P 500 had its best performance since the first week after the market low in March of 2009, but even with a 7.39% gain, it was in the bottom half of our gang of eight. The Shanghai Composite was the solitary index with a loss for the week.

As I pointed out over the past few weeks, we're nearing the time of year when investment companies are pondering the odds of a year-end rally. Perhaps last week was the beginning of just such a rally. After all, there are only four weeks left in 2011. Of our International gang of eight, none is showing a year-to-date gain. The S&P 500, which was fractionally positive three weeks ago last week, is still best YTD performer, off 1.06%, with the FTSE a distant second, down 5.89%. All the other markets are sporting double-digit losses thus far in 2011.

The eurozone will continue to be a major focus next week, with all eyes on the December 9th European summit in Brussels. Whether we have a year-end rally will likely depend on the outcome of next Friday's big event.

The tables below (click to enlarge) 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, Hang Seng) is readily apparent.

Check back next weekend for a new update.

Source: World Markets Review: Beginning Of A Year-End Rally?