Shanghai Composite Tops World's Stock Gains For 2014

MarketWatch Pulse

After finishing dead last in Asia the previous year, Shanghai stocks looked set to end the year as the world's top-performing major equity market. Ahead of the open Wednesday, the last trading day of the year, the Shanghai Composite Index was up just shy of 50% for 2014, with most of the gains coming in the past six weeks. Factors lifting the index included the launch of the Stock Connect scheme allowing non-Chinese retail investors to buy Shanghai shares for the first time, as well as some buying by Chinese pensions and other government interests, and a bit of catch-up after closing 2013 with a 6.8% annual loss. According to Reuters data, only the much smaller Argentinian Merval index was likely to have outperformed Shanghai, having gained about 57% as of Tuesday. Among other major East Asia indexes, Taipei's Taiex was up 7.6% for the year as of Wednesday, while Tokyo's Nikkei Average ended 2014 with a 7.1% gain, Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 6.3%, Sydney's S&P/ASX was up 1.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.8%, and Seoul's Kospi was down 4.8%. Further west, Mumbai's Sensex had risen 29.4% since last Jan. 1. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 8.5% higher for the year as of Tuesday's close, while the S&P 500 was up 12.6%.

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