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World Markets Weekend Update: Another Modest Improvement

May 21, 2016

by Doug Short

Five of the eight indexes on our world watch list posted gains over the past week, the same as the week before, although the average of the eight at 0.34% was a modest improvement over the -0.17% average the previous week. Japan's Nikkei was the top performer for the second week, up 1.97%, a tad higher than its 1.90% gain the previous week. India's SENSEX suffered the biggest drop, down 0.74%.

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. We'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.

Four Weeks

A Closer Look at the Year-to-Date Performance

Here is an overlay of the eight illustrating their comparative performance so far in 2016.

Here is a table of the 2016 performance, sorted from high to low, along with the interim highs for the eight indexes. The top performing S&P 500 is the only index with a year-to-date gain, unchanged from last week. China's Shanghai Composite continues to merit the dubious distinction of biggest loser last week, down over 20 percent.

The Global Bear Market Perspective

The column chart is sorted by the least to worst declines from previous peaks as of the week's end. Seven of our eight watch list indexes had dropped into bear territory (a 20% decline), the S&P 500 being the sole exception. As of the latest close, three of the eight have remain in the bear zone, up from four from last week, with the Nikkei inching fractionally above the -20% bear benchmark.

Global Bear Markets

A Longer Perspective

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 using a log scale vertical axis, we get an excellent visualization of the relative performance. We've indexed each of the eight to 800 on the March 9th start date. The callout in the upper left corner shows the percent change from the start date to the latest weekly close.

World Markets since March 2009

Here is the same visualization, this time starting on October 9, 2007, the closing high for the S&P 500, a date the is approximately the mid-point of the range of market peaks, which started on June 1st for the CAC 40 and ended on January 8, 2008 for the SENSEX.

World Markets since October 2007

For a longer look at the relative performance, our final chart starts at the turn of the century, again indexing each at 800 for the start date.

World Markets since 2000

Check back next week for a new update.


Note: We track Germany's DAXK a price-only index, instead of the more familiar DAX index (which includes dividends), for consistency with the other indexes, which do not include dividends.

All the indexes are calculated in their local currencies.