Stock markets

Stock markets started off the year with setbacks against the backdrop of a debt crisis and concerns over even higher borrowing requirements in some countries in Europe. The mounting uncertainty and resultant depreciation of the euro was mitigated by discussions over an EU safety net, which was set up in mid-June. Thereafter, the sentiment on the capital market brightened appreciably. Instead of the widely expected market correction in the autumn, share prices continued to climb and brought some of the developed equity markets their strongest performance in many years. In Germany especially, the upward trend continued – with smallish corrections – until just before the end of the year.

The DAX reached its low for the year of 5,434 points at the beginning of February 2010. Starting out from a level that was just below that at the beginning of the year, the DAX rallied strongly from the end of August onwards, reaching its high for the year of 7,078 points – its highest level since 2008 – in December 2010. The DAX closed the year at 6,914 points, a gain of 16% over the year.

That was an outstanding performance in comparison with other European blue chip indices. The Euro Stoxx 50 lost 6%. The European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index closed 2010 with a gain of 9%. The best performing sectors in this index were Automobiles (44%), Industrials (33%), and Consumer Goods (27%), while Oil and Gas (0%), Utilities (-9%), and Banks (-12%) were the worst three performers. The leading U.S. indices also posted substantial gains. The S & P 500 closed 2010 up 13%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11%.

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