Below we highlight the year-to-date percentage change (local currency) for the major equity indices of 82 countries. So far this year, 71 of the 82 countries are in positive territory, and the average change of all countries is 33.27%. With a gain of 20.76%, the S&P 500 is 13 percentage points below the average, yet it’s the second best G-7 performer behind Canada so far in 2009.
The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) have been standouts this year. Russia is up the most out of all countries with a gain of 126.71%. Brazil, China, and India are all up more than 70%. Along with Russia, the Ukraine, Argentina, and Peru are up more than 100% year to date.
Eleven countries are down so far in 2009. Ghana is down the most at -48.26%, followed by Puerto Rico (-40.56%), Bermuda (-38.36%), and Costa Rica (-35.37%).
Warren Buffett, the US investor, has expanded his reinsurance holdings by becoming one of the largest shareholders in industry giant Munich Re. Buffett has built a stake worth €660m ($934m) in the German reinsurer, according to a market announcement triggered when his stake rose above 3%. It makes him the second-largest investor in Munich Re, after US asset manager BlackRock with almost 4.6%.