For the fifth consecutive week, the average performance of the eight world indexes on my watch list has been positive -- this past week by 0.48%, down from the 1.2 plus percent averages of the two previous weeks. The top performer was Japan's Nikkei 225, up 2.08%. The S&P 500 was a distant second, up 1.17%, which was surprisingly strong given the political stalemate over the potentially traumatic financial impact of the year end expirations of tax cuts and deductions and the government's mandated spending cuts.
At the other end of the weekly performances, two Asian indexes on our watch list finished in the red. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.44% and India's SENSEX was close behind at 0.39%. China's Shanghai finished with a fractional gain of 0.13%, which is a major shift from the four percent plus gains of the two previous weeks.
The Shanghai remains the only index on the watch list in bear territory -- the traditional designation for a 20% decline from an interim high. See the table inset (lower right) in the chart below. Despite its huge upward move in recent weeks, the index is still down about 38% from its interim high of August 2009. At the other end of the inset, the S&P 500 has regained the top spot from the UK's FTSE 100 by a tiny five basis points.
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