Global stocks rise as financial risks dissipate
Global financial risks dissipated last year as fears faded that the euro currency would collapse and China’s economy avoided the sharp slowdown that many had feared. That’s made investors more optimistic, boosting stock markets around the world.
Even Greece, where unemployment ended the year at 26 per cent, saw stocks rise. Its benchmark stock index jumped 33 per cent, though that came after it fell by half in 2011.
But leading US economist Barry Eichengreen warns that the debt crisis that has shaken Europe to its core could easily erupt agathis year unless European leaders move faster to solve their problems.
Here are the last year returns for major stock indexes in 29 leading economies:
Stock index return, last year (%)
South Africa 22.7
United States 13.4
South Korea 9.4
United Kingdom 5.8