While historical stock market returns are no guarantee of future results, it is instructive to evaluate which stock markets are holding up in the current economic downturn/hobbled recovery close to the mid-point of 2009 (UPDATE: See Full-Year 2009 Market Returns). We certainly saw our share of shocking 2008 market events and 2009 portends to be no different. In this mid-year (almost) update, you’ll find the 2009 stock market returns for all major industrialized and emerging market economies. Feel free to also visit the 2008 stock market returns by country as well for comparison/progress. As a reference for the stated return for each country, I’ve listed out a predominant ETF representing the requisite exchange, region, basket of stocks or whatever best represents the particular country’s equity markets. This list was refreshing, in that I wasn’t even aware ETFs for some of these frontier markets and emerging markets existed until I sought them out (did you know there was a “Chindia ETF” and a Gulf States ETF?). Sorted in order of highest performing first, here are the 2009 stock market returns by country YTD:
2009 Stock Market Returns – Single Country ETFs
**US S&P500 falls here!3%
Emerging Market ETFs / Regional Multi-Market ETFs
Note that Emerging Markets have staged quite a resurgence given the tumultuous 2008 and you can invest in a basket of such stocks via the following high performing ETFs as well. Beware though; the 3x triple return ETFs like EDC below carry particular risks that aren’t immediately evident to new retail investors and you should review this background/performance primer first to understand why these are best suited for trading and not investing.
Is is interesting of course to note that in the 2008 stock market returns by country and sector, virtually every country fared worse than the US. During the recovery this year, the US has been practically flat, while the likes of Russia coming back from the verge of a currency collapse returns 83% and emerging markets/BRIC ETFs are hovering around 50% 2009 YTD returns. The romantic notion of “de-coupling” that was purported last year is virtually dead and it’s back to risk/reward. If you’re looking for high powered returns and can stomach the risk, then perhaps some of the frontier markets, emerging markets and joint regional ETFs are your cup of tea. If your appetite for risk is not overwhelming, than the US and Western European ETFs continue to provide lower Beta returns.
(UPDATE: See Full-Year 2009 Market Returns)
Disclosure: Long EEM for several months now.
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