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Markets suffer their worst run for generations

The final week of 2008 passed with many markets recording their worst annual performance for generations. Equities finished above their lows, but still finished down by at least 30%. The S&P 500 closed 2008 down 38%, while the Nikkei closed down over 40%. The ‘lost decade’ rolls on ever more for the Japanese stock market. Perhaps the most remarkable performance came from commodities; at one stage, oil and copper were up 47% and 23% respectively, only to finish the year down 46% and 48%. Despite being at the epicentre of the financial crisis and approaching zero interest rates, the dollar had a good year against the Euro and an exceptional year against the pound. Sterling collapsed against most currencies, nearing parity with Euro and earning the nickname “The British Krona” as a reference to the doomed Icelandic currency.

Stocks started 2009 on the right foot, with a broad based rally that took the Dow Jones within above the psychologically important 9000 level. The Dow hasn’t managed to successfully hold this level since the first few days of November. Commodities looked to be willing to make good some of the losses generated throughout 2008, with oil continuing to move above the $40 a barrel level.

The coming week is dominated by the UK interest rate decision, which comes on the back of Halifax’s announcement that house prices dropped 16.2% last year. This was the worst annual fall on record, bringing prices back to 2004 levels. The Bank of England also warned that the impact of the credit crunch was likely to intensify in the next few months. The MPC is expected to cut yet again to 1.5%, bringing UK rates closer to near zero US levels, and widening the gap between Sterling and the Euro. Friday also brings the all important US Non Farm Payroll figures which are expected to show another drop in the region of 500,000 jobs.

Jason Goepfert of the SentimenTrader.com, points out that the latest AAII (American Association of Individual Investors) Sentiment Survey puts US investors as having the lowest allocation of stocks in their portfolios since 1991. The level of cash hoarding has reached record levels. According to Goepfert, the only two times when cash allocations and stock allocations reached similar levels (around 40%) was 1991 and 2002. Both occasions were good contrarian indicators.

While it is unlikely to be a smooth ride, there are indications that markets are moving past the bad news to what lies beyond. A Bull trade predicting that the Dow Jones (Wall Street) will be above 9500 in 2 months time could return 103% over the next 60 days at BetOnMarkets.com.

BetOnMarkets.com is the world's leading Fixed Odds Financial Trading website. Fully licensed and regulated globally, BetOnMarkets.com handles around 18,000 trades a day, from over 130,000 registered clients. Over 15 million trades have been processed since inception in 2000. The multi-award winning BetOnMarkets.com allows traders to speculate on the movement of the worlds' major financial markets, up down or sideways without actually owning the market, stock or currency you are buying.

Name / Pen Name: Mike Wright

Address:
Regent Markets (IOM) Limited
3rd Floor, 1-5 Church Street,
Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 2AG,
British Isles.

Phone: 448003762737

Email: editor@regentmarkets.com

URL: http://www.betonmarkets.com

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