Stock markets

Stock markets started off the year with sharp setbacks against the backdrop of the global financial market crisis, combined with concerns over the need for still greater capital injections and the possibility of further nationalizations in the banking sector. Equity markets managed to steady, bolstered by a number of huge rescue packages by central banks and governments. At the same time, investors increasingly came to realize that the financial system would not collapse and that a world economic turnaround was possible. Together with the

optimism felt by many investors, this led to a broad market swing and, apart from minor corrections, the ensuing upward trend continued through to the end of 2009, with shares and indices posting strong gains. The DAX reached its low for the year of 3,666 points at the beginning of March 2009. Starting out from a level that was well below that at the beginning of the year, the DAX then gained strongly in the second half of the year, reaching a year high of 6,112 points in December 2009. The DAX closed the year at 5,957 points, a gain of 24 % over the year. The DAX also did quite well in comparison with other European blue chip indices. The Euro Stoxx 50 gained 21 % in 2009. The European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index closed 2009 with a gain of 28 %. The best performing sectors in this index were Basic Resources (101 %), Banks
(47 %), and Chemicals (44 %), while Insurance (13 %), Telecommunications (11 %), and Utilities (1 %) were the worst three performers. The leading US indices also posted strong gains. The S & P 500 closed 2009 with a gain of
23 %, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 19 %.

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