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Capital Markets

Equity markets: A not so merry Christmas nor so happy New Year

But cheer up – things might get better later in 2008.

Last year it was the snow that was missing as Christmas and the New Year approached. This year it looks as if it will be the end-of-year equity market rally that misses the party and puts a damp note on things.

Developed equity markets fell by 4.39% in November, and emerging equity markets lost 6.18%. "World equity markets turned lower in November as the financial liquidity crunch, as well as the related earnings charges, continued to weigh down the markets," says Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at Standard & Poor’s. "While the last week of the month saw some advancement, the global damage remained widespread."

According to S&P, 24 out of 26 developed equity markets turned negative in November. erasing strong October returns, with only Portugal (+0.6%) and Spain (+0.68%) managing positive returns during the month. Iceland (–15.48%) and Canada (–11.17%) suffered the steepest drop in returns during the month.

Emerging markets performed slightly better on average than developed markets. Of 26 emerging markets, 19 posted negative returns, with China (–12.68%), Taiwan (–11.82%) and Peru (–11.56%) posting double-digit losses. Strong positive returns, however, were posted by Nigeria (+10.59%) and Jordan (+6.02%). Despite the rough month, all 26 emerging markets remain positive for the 12-month period, with Nigeria (+111%) now outpacing China (+101%).

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