This is the second consecutive month of positive returns despite increasing volatility, inflation fears, and rising commodity prices, S&P said in a press release (see April Began Path of Recovery for World Equity Markets).
Fourteen of the 26 emerging markets posted positive returns during the month. Performance was buoyed by the strong double-digit returns of Russia (+15.56%), Argentina (+13.17%), Czech Republic (+11.77%), and Brazil (+11.36%). However, S& P said much of the returns were negated by Pakistan which fell 25.99% during the month.
Among developed world markets, 18 gained ground and eight fell during the month. Luxembourg posted a double digit return of 10.94% in May, and is the best performing market over the past three- (+24%) and twelve month periods (+42.34%). Iceland continues to perform poorly, posting a 7.9% monthly decline while losing almost half of its value over the past year (49.59%).
Nine of the 10 sectors posted gains in May, with the financials sector the decliner at -3.50%. Energy was again on top, adding 6.12% to its April gain of 12.05%.
Over the past 12 months, energy has gained 25.27% while financials have fallen 20.29%. Information technology also performed well in May, especially in the U.S., posting a 5.27% gain (+3.49% excepting the U.S.).
The S&P/Citigroup World by Numbers report for May is available at www.worldbynumbers.standardandpoors.com.