Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 Stock Market Review

With no shortage of drama, 2009 has been a much more pleasant year than the eventful yet dreadful 2008. Year to date, the S&P500 has returned about 22%, in contrast to a 38% decline in 2008. Although there has been no formal announcement, the consensus is the US finally exited one of the longest recessions in its history over summer, with 3rd quarter GDP growing at an annualized 2.8%. Just as important, financial institutions are no longer on the brink of collapse and investors are not in panic mode any more. Appetite for risk is back, evidenced by Junk bonds (JNK) returning nearly 20% year to date, just 10% below its pre-Lehman collapse level. According to EPFR Global, year-to-date money market fund outflows as of Nov 18, amounted to $452 billion, as investors reallocated assets to equity and bond markets. 2009 has not been exactly a smooth journey, however, and investors have been showered with some most extraordinary events. This month we summarize some of the key events that have led us to where the markets stand today.

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