A Mixed Year for Equity Markets

There were mixed results from the world’s main share markets in 2014, with the US coming up trumps.

Index 2014 Change
FTSE 100 – 2.7%
FTSE All-Share –  2.1%
Dow Jones Industrial +  7.5%
Standard & Poor’s 500 +11.3%
Nikkei 225 + 7.3%
Euro Stoxx 50 + 1.2%
Hang Seng +  1.3%
MSCI Emerging Markets (£) + 1.3%

As ever, the raw numbers do not tell the whole story:

  • Once dividends are taken into account, the UK market achieved a small positive overall return.
  • In a change from 2013, there was little difference between the performance of the large company dominated FTSE 100, the FTSE 250 containing medium-sized companies and the FTSE Small Cap, which covers the smallest companies.
  • Sterling had a good year, which reduced the returns for UK investors in many foreign markets. The pound was up 7.4% against the Japanese Yen and 7.2% against the Euro. However the dollar was even stronger than the pound: the greenback rose by 6.2% against sterling.
  • Emerging markets had a better year than might have been expected, given the problems with plummeting commodity prices and the R in BRICs.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investing in shares should be regarded as a long-term investment and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.

16th January 2015