Irish and Greek banks fared worst, but Sri Lanka had the world's fastest rising market as its post-war economy boomed, UK’s Guardian said in a recent report titled ‘the best and worst investments of 2010’.
‘In 2009, the little-known Colombo Stock Exchange rose a remarkable 128% after the Sri Lankan government formally declared an end to the 25-year civil war’.
This year, the market has soared again, rising by 101% (in sterling terms) in the year to 20 December, according to figures compiled for Guardian Money by Vanguard, which operates a wide range of index funds. Argentina, once a by-word for economic default, is also back in fashion among investors. The Buenos Aires Bourse advanced 82%, closely followed by the Thai exchange (up 70%) and the Ukraine (up 68%, and no, we didn't know there was a stock market there, either), the report said.
The Sri Lanka stock market is reported to be one of the most modern exchanges in South Asia, with a fully automated trading platform. The value of the companies traded on the market is now more than $20bn (£13bn), and 2011 will see companies such as SriLankan Airlines listing its shares.
The island's economy is expected to grow 8% in 2010 and 9% in 2011 – rates usually seen in China. Tourism is booming, with 750,000 visitors anticipated in 2011, while tea exporters are also enjoying strong gains.
At the bottom end of the world indices were Ireland and Greece. The FTSE Ireland Banks index fell 67% in 2010, while the FTSE Greece Financials index was down 57%. Ironically, the country which did default, Argentina (albeit back in 2002), enjoyed huge gains in 2010, led by its banking sector. BBVA Banco Francés rose more than 90%, while Grupo Financiero Galicia leapt by an extraordinary 185%, Guardian further said.