World stock markets lost $5.2 trillion in January thanks to the fallout from the US sub-prime crisis and fears of a global economic slowdown, Standard & Poor’s said at the weekend.
“If investors thought the market could only go up, January’s wake-up call pulled them back into reality,” Standard and Poor’s index division said. Standard & Poor’s said the world’s equity markets lost a combined $5.2 trillion as emerging markets fell 12.44% and developed markets lost 7.83% to register one of the worst starts to a new year. “There were few safe havens in January as 50 of the 52 global equity markets ended the month in negative territory, with 25 of them posting double-digit losses,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&Ps.
All 26 developed equity markets posted negative returns in January, with 16 losing at least 10% of their value. The January declines negated all previous market gains, leaving all of the developed markets in the red for the trailing three month period. In Paris, the stock exchange lost 12.27% over the course of January, 15.27% over the past three months, more than wiping out its gains over the last 12 months - down 0.74%. The situation was even worse in London - down 8.85% in January, down 16.54% for the past three months and down 2.22% over 12 months - and in the US, which was down 6.07% in January, down 10.78% over three months and down 2.42% over 12 months. The story was similar in Japan, where the market lost 4.47% in January, 10.31% over three months and down 10.44% over the past 12 months. In Germany, in contrast, although the stock exchange lost 13.72% in January and 13.84% over three months, it was up 13.43% over the year.
Equity markets in emerging countries also suffered heavy losses in January, apart from Morocco which gained 10.17% and Jordan, which was up by 3.11%. Turkey was the most affected with January losses reaching 22.7%, followed by China on 21.4%, Russia on 16.12% and India at 16%. But only Argentina and Taiwan slipped into negative territory for the 12-month period. (RTÉ Business)