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Small stock markets top five-year returns

Halfway through the first decade of the new millennium, the five-year track records of world stock markets show the leading indices in Europe and America still way down on their highs before the tech bubble burst. Emerging markets, including some of the more obscure, have been the big gainers.

THE BIG STOCK market winners over the past five years are unlikely to have boosted the portfolios of any but the most adventurous of institutional investors.

Looking at purely local currency returns, Ghana leads the way with a gain of 836.37% during this period. Taking account of dollar weighted returns, Iran is the top five-year performer, with a 537.81% gain.

Euromoney looks at three of the most impressive performers of the past five years. Romania's BET Index recorded a local currency gain of 753% and 406% in dollars, while Kuwait's KSE Index gained 345% in dollar terms. We start with Iran which has gained 574% in local currency terms.

Iran: share price growth outpaces high inflation

The number of companies listed on Iran's Tehran Stock Exchange has grown from 297 in 2001 to 407 in 2004, and 500 are expected to be listed before the end of this year. The TSE hopes to delist around 50 of the most inactive stocks and replace them with more important companies, including two large steel companies, up to six state banks and six state-owned insurance companies. This will diversify the exchange and boost market capitalization by another $45 billion.