World Markets Watchlist: 2023 Wrap-Up | ETF Trends

Six of the eight indexes on our world watch list posted gains in 2023. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 finished in the top spot with a gain of 28.24%. The U.S.’s S&P 500 finished in second with a gain of 24.73% while India’s BSE SENSEX finished in third with a gain of 17.86%.

Year-to-date Table

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng posted the biggest losses in 2023, finishing down 15.38%. China’s Shanghai index also posted losses for the year, finishing down 4.54%.

World Indexes 2023

World Indexes and Recent Recessions

Let’s start with a very recent chart with the latest recession. We’ve used February 3, 2020 for our start date (this is the official NBER recession start).

World Indexes Since 2020

The chart below illustrates the comparative performance of world markets since March 9, 2009. The start date is arbitrary: The S&P 500, CAC 40 and BSE SENSEX hit their lows on March 9th, the Nikkei 225 on March 10th, the DAXK on March 6th, the FTSE on March 3rd, the Shanghai Composite on November 4, 2008, and the Hang Seng even earlier on October 27, 2008. However, by aligning on the same day and using a log-scale vertical axis, we get an excellent visualization of the relative performance. I’ve indexed each of the eight to 800 on the March 9th start date. The callout in the upper left corner shows the percent change from the start date to the latest weekly close.

World Indexes Since March 9 2009

Here is the same visualization, this time starting on October 9, 2007, a previous closing high for the S&P 500. This date is also approximately the mid-point of the range of market peaks, which started on June 1st for the CAC 40 and ended on January 8, 2008 for the SENSEX.

World Indexes Since Oct. 9, 2007

For a longer look at the relative performance, our final chart starts at the turn of the century, again indexing each at 800 for the start date.

World Indexes Since 2000

Examples of single-country ETFs:

Note: I track Germany’s DAXK a price-only index, instead of the more familiar DAX index (which includes dividends), for consistency with the other indexes, which do not include dividends.

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