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Tuesday, 2 January, 2001, 17:14 GMT
A gloomy year for stock markets
Chart showing the global stock market gains and losses during 2000
A selection of global stock market winners and losers
What a difference a year makes...

Twelve months ago stock markets across the world were steaming ahead.

America's Nasdaq stock market, dominated by technology companies, doubled in little more than a year, while the main markets in Singapore, Japan, Sweden and France all registered rises of at least 40% during 1999.

Investors - both specialists and the growing army of novices - were able to congratulate themselves on their share picking abilities as it appeared that everything they bought turned to gold.

That millennium boom, fuelled by the 'bubble' in the value of technology companies, came to a crushing halt in March and April this year.

The share value of technology companies tumbled, then tumbled again and again, bringing stock markets down as they went.

The Nasdaq, one of the spectacular gainers in 1999, more than halved in the last eight months of 2000.

Where it led, others followed, with Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Nasdaq and Tokyo losing upwards of a quarter of their value during 2000.

Stock market rises in 1999 (to 18 Dec)
Malaysia - 90%
Singapore - 82%
Nasdaq - 80%
S Korea - 69%
Indonesia - 60%
Hong Kong - 59%
Sweden - 57%
Japan - 50%
France - 40%
Germany - 27%
Holland - 21%
UK - 17.8%
Spain - 16%
New York (Dow Jones) - 15.6%
Italy 13%

Indeed, 2000 was the worst in a decade for many stock market investors, with all the world's leading share indexes ending the year with hefty losses.

The past 12 months are likely to go down as one of the markets' most volatile times on record, and the biggest losers of the year are technology shares.

The main US technology index, the Nasdaq, registered a 39.3% drop during the year.

Its more staid rival, the New York Stock Exchange's Dow Jones index, closed about 6.2% lower on the year.

In London, the FTSE 100 share index closed at 6,222.5 points - a loss of 10.2% over the past 12 months.

It is the first time since 1994 the index has ended the year with a loss, and only the third time since it was first compiled in 1984.

Germany's Dax index dropped 7.5% over the year.

Another poor performer was Tokyo's Nikkei index, which closed with a 27.2% loss on the year - and a massive 34% drop from the highs reached in March.

The last time that the Tokyo stock exchange recorded an annual loss was 1990, the year Japan's economic bubble burst and property prices collapsed.

France's Cac-40 index was a rare exception - still losing on the year, but just half a percent.

The winners

But there are a few surprise winners. The best performer was in China where the Shenzhen stock market gained 62%.

The number two, with close to a 12% gain, was the Swiss stock market, followed by the Irish Stock Exchange with 11% .

Long-term investment

However, the dramatic losses of the year 2000 compare with equally astounding gains a year earlier.

The Nasdaq, for example, added 85% in value during 1999.

Investors who bought shares two years ago are likely to have come out ahead.

Those who jumped into the markets just before they peaked during the first quarter of this year must decide whether they want to cut their losses and bail out, or whether they hope to make them up in the long-term.

Telecoms, media and technology

In general it has not been a steady slide, as there have been wild swings in the index in one of the London Stock Exchange's most volatile trading years yet recorded.

For the year 2000, investors would have been better off putting their money in a savings account, but financial advisors say they should not panic.

They say shares should be seen as a long-term investment, and investment banks are already predicting that 2001 will be a much more lucrative year on the markets.

The BBC's Rebecca Pike
"It was the end- not the begining, of the Hi-Tech honeymoon"
View market data
Launch marketwatch
The Markets: 9:29 UK
FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
Top business stories of 2000 from UK and abroad

Top UK stories

Stories from abroad

World stock markets
See also:

02 Jan 01 | Business
05 Dec 00 | Business
30 Dec 99 | Business
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