October 16, 2019

2013: Stock markets at highs but can they do it again next year?

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Nasdaq-Stock-MarketBy Jamie Robertson Presenter, BBC World News

Many share indexes around the world are at record highs. Will this continue next year?

Well, it all seems fine and dandy when you look at the numbers: the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 22%, the S&P 500 gained 25% and the Nasdaq up 33%.

In , the FTSE was up 10% and the Dax 22% higher. Even Greece rose 27%.

And just take a look at : a 58% rise in the Nikkei. From the major share indexes, it looks like we can draw a line under the global financial crisis and say it started in 2008 and ended in 2013. Five bad years we can say goodbye to.

Well, maybe.

_71919716_71919708Japan and Europe

Let’s start with that rise in the Nikkei. Take a closer look. In dollar terms, the stock market rise was less than half the local currency rise.

The reason was, in short, Abenomics, the economic policies of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, in power now for a year and responsible for the biggest quantitative easing () programme in the world.

It has slashed the value of the yen against the dollar by a fifth and flooded the economy with cheap money. The result has been a boom for the stock market, specifically exporting stocks such as Mazda, Softbank and Fuji Heavy Industries, all of them up between 170-200% in yen terms

But according to Jane Foley, senior foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank, “There is still a massive battle ahead and the rises we are seeing in consumption may not stay.”

In contrast, the strong currency of the year has been the euro, which “has been surprisingly resilient”.

She says: “The eurozone has moved from crisis to a politically cohesive response and has also created a massive current account surplus, generated largely by Germany. All that has strengthened the euro. At the beginning of the year most analysts thought the dollar/euro rate would be around 1.27. Today it’s closer to 1.37.”

So why has the euro been so resilient?

 

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