Best and Worst Performing Stock Markets in 2012

Laura Joszt

Although the American stock markets did well in 2012 (with double digit returns from the S&P 500), it doesn't compare to the huge returns from the hottest stock markets.

Although there is the persistent feeling among investors that the U.S. stock market didn’t do well, it actually did remarkably well in 2012. The Dow was up 5.9%, the S&P 500 up 11.5% and the Nasdaq up 13.6% in 2012.

However, investors shouldn’t have money in just the American markets. There’s plenty of money to be made overseas. Some markets around the world saw far greater gains than in the U.S. (one reported triple digit returns).

“Some obscure markets benefited from some world-class upgrades,” according to Business Insider. Others got juiced by inflation.”

Unfortunately, there’s also plenty to be lost if investments were made in the wrong markets. In particular, Europe probably wasn’t kind to investors.

“A few of these nations have banking sectors that are in terrible shape,” wrote BI. “Some exchanges have suffered due to low liquidity. Others have underperformed as foreign direct investment has plummeted. And an unlucky few have a combination of all of the above.”

Here are the five hottest and five worst stock markets around the world, according to Business Insider.

Best Performances

5. Kenya NSE

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: 39.3%

4. Pakistan KSE

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: 49.3%

3. Egypt EGX

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: 49.6%

2. Turkey XU100

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: 53.3%

1. Venezuela IBC

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: 302.8%

“Venezuela's abysmal inflation rate, which stood at 19.9%, is helping to juice stocks. A massive increase in government spending in the run-up to October's presidential elections spurred consumption.”

Worst Performances

5. Kazakhstan Stock Exchange

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: -12.9%

4. MSCI Bangladesh

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: -15.5%

3. Mongolia MSE

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: -18.8%

2. Ukraine PFTS

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: -41.5%

1. Cyprus CySE General

Returns through Dec. 28, 2012: -60.7%

“The budget situation in Cyprus has gotten so dire that the government has borrowed from public authority pension funds in order to meet other obligations.”

Read more:

The 10 Hottest Stock Markets in the World

The 10 Worst Performing Stock Markets in the World