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Global Markets: Signs of Recovery?

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Who will lead the next bull market?

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Has an avalanche of policy actions and bank guarantees backstopped the global economy? If stock markets are a gauge of better tidings, it would seem that a bottoming phase might have started. But the jury is still out on whether the bear is simply offering a temporary reprieve.

Meanwhile, bouncing off 12-year lows, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+7.7%) in March produced the strongest monthly gain in more than six years. This followed the Average's worst January (-8.8%) on record and its third worst February (-11.7%).

Coming off the March 9 lows, the S&P 500 Index has advanced 20.6% in the first 14 trading days of the nascent rally, the most since 1938, based on data compiled by New York-based S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt and reported by Bloomberg. The rapidity with which the price increases have happened is cause for concern, at least in the short term.

The ebb and flow of occurrences has affected stock markets around the word as shown by the charts below, illustrating the turnaround in bourses since the lows of November 20, the subsequent January/February pullback (in some cases breaching the November lows) and then the rally that commenced on March 10. The charts of the S&P 500, the MSCI EAFF Index (representing Europe, Australasia and the Far East - the main benchmark for non-US stocks) and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index show how the drama has been unfolding.



Zeroing in on the numbers, the performances in the table below are given in local currency terms for different measurement terms ended March 31.

GLOBAL STOCK MARKETS: INDEX MOVEMENTS (IN LOCAL CURRENCY TERMS)


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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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