Page last updated at 21:19 GMT, Friday, 2 January 2009

Markets start year on upbeat note

Man watches screen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Stock markets worldwide saw heavy losses last year

World stock markets have started the year on a positive note, gaining ground after shares saw record falls in 2008.

In London, the FTSE 100 index was up by 2.88% at close and in France and Germany the major indexes had risen by 4.09% and 3.39% respectively.

At close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones ended the day 2.94% ahead.

However, analysts said gains might not be sustainable, with many market participants still on holiday and low trading volumes.

'Distant horizons'

"It is customary to greet the New Year with a surge of optimism," said Stephen Lewis, an analyst at Monument Securities.

"Past cares are buried as eyes are raised to more distant horizons."

New York - down 33.84%
London - down 31.3%
Paris - down 42.7%
Frankfurt - down 40.4%
Mumbai - down 51.9%
Singapore - down 49.2%
Sydney - down 41.3%
Hong Kong - down 48.3%
Shanghai - down 65.2%
Tokyo - down 42.1%

The FTSE 100 had suffered its worst year on record in 2008 - a fall of 31.3%.

In Asia, South Korea's main stock index closed up 2.9% at 1,157.40 points. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 4.6% and Indian shares climbed 0.6%.

Markets in Japan and China were closed for a public holiday.

At close in the US, the Nasdaq was also ahead, by 3.50%, and the S&P 500 was up 3.16%.

Record falls

Global markets saw record falls in 2008 as the financial turmoil and economic slowdown ended the stock market boom.

Shanghai was one of the worst-hit major markets, ending the year 65% lower, which was also a record loss.

In New York, the Dow Jones lost almost 34% of its value in 2008, its worst year since 1931.

The year saw the credit crisis push several major economies into recession, with banks particularly badly hit - many requiring government bail-outs.

Whether the stock markets fall further in 2009 is a matter of debate.

Many investment strategists have written off any chance of a major rebound in at least the first six months of the new year, when company earnings could prove especially bleak.

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FTSE 100
23.70 0.44%
19.54 0.34%
Cac 40
14.48 0.38%
Dow Jones
78.53 0.76%
35.31 1.58%
BBC Global 30
20.65 0.36%
Data delayed by at least 15 minutes

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