Markets (Data compiled by TOMD)
Major global indices closed in December in positive territory. Despite escalating virus cases, stocks were supported by hopes that the Omicron variant is milder, potentially limiting fiscal impact as vaccines have allowed many economies to remain open.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 ended the year up 14.3%, registering its best annual gain for five years, as it continued to recover from its pandemic-induced lows of 2020. The FTSE 250, dominated by more domestically focused stocks, rose by 14.6%, while the AIM closed the year up just over 5%.
Wall Street led the way, with the Dow close to a record high at the end of December, rising over 5% in the month and by 18.72% in 2021, while the NASDAQ closed the year up over 21%. The US economy has proven resilient in the face of pandemic-related challenges. As with other global economies, inflation will be a focal point for investors going into 2022. Meanwhile, the Nikkei 225 ended the year on 28,791.71, up over 4.9%, its highest year-end level since 1989, and the Euro Stoxx 50 closed the year up just over 20% on 4,298.41.
On the foreign exchanges, sterling closed the year at $1.35 against the US dollar. The euro closed at €1.18 against sterling and at $1.13 against the US dollar.
Brent crude closed the year trading at around $78 a barrel, an annual gain of over 51%, its largest in 12 years. The price was lifted by higher demand as investors bet that surging virus cases would not derail the global economic recovery. Cautious production increases by OPEC+, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus allies, also helped to support the price. Gold is trading at around $1,805 a troy ounce, a loss of over 4.8% on the year. The price has been dampened by a stronger US dollar and the threat of a pullback in stimulus by major central banks, deterring many investors who favoured equities.
Index Value (31/12/21) Arrow up or down Movement since 30/11/21
FTSE 100 7,384.54 up 4.61%
FTSE 250 23,480.81 up 4.27%
FTSE AIM 1,216.91 up 2.47%
Euro Stoxx 50 4,298.41 up 5.79%
NASDAQ Composite 15,644.97 up 0.69%
Dow Jones 36,338.30 up 5.38%
Nikkei 225 28,791.71 up 3.49%