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Istanbul’s invisible IPO market

Turkey has grown by leaps and bounds for more than a decade. Yet its stock market remains dependent on foreign capital and successful IPOs are rare. Can the country finally succeed in adding depth to its capital markets?

Stock market performance is supposed to dovetail with industrial growth. When one does well so, in theory, does the other – witness the outperformance of US equities during the economically golden late 1990s. Likewise, stock market crashes are expected to stem from, or herald, broader economic recession.

That doesn’t always happen in practice, particularly in fast-growing emerging markets. India’s Sensex, a weighted index covering the largest 30 Mumbai-listed stocks, gained 28% in 2012, while the Indian economy sputtered. China’s red-hot economy masks a stock market stuck in first gear: the Shanghai Composite, an index of all A and B shares listed in the nation’s financial capital, is down 14% over the 24 months ending on February 8.

Even more strikingly contrarian figures can be found in Turkey, an economy that has performed magnificently since a crippling financial crisis around the turn of the century. Only over the past 12 months has this success story started to fray: Turkey’s economy expanded by just 2.5% in 2012, down from 8.5% the previous year, according to data from the CIA World Factbook.

Yet resisting all logic, the benchmark ISE Index, covering Turkey’s leading equities, had its best year in living memory.

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