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Which country topped the pile? Top ten index returns of 2013

Anna Fedorova
Written By:
Anna Fedorova

Mainstream emerging markets may have remained thoroughly out of favour this year, with developed nations driving global equity returns, but surprises can still be found in the top ten markets of 2013.

Admittedly, few would be surprised to see the Japanese market among the top ten peformers this year, given the impact Abenomics has had in reversing investors’ long-bearish sentiment.

More notable, perhaps, is that the top-performing single country market this year is Venezuela – for the second year in a row.

The Venezuelan stock market is up a staggering 452% year to date in sterling terms, according to Morningstar, despite a year of political uncertainty for the country – most notably through a devaluation of its currency in February and the death of president Hugo Chavez in March.

Equity market rises and economic improvement do not always go hand in hand, but a look at the rest of the top ten may point to changing fortunes for the global economy.

Though Greece, for example, remains mired in a deep recession, the three European countries in the list are those that arguably suffered most in the crisis: Iceland, Ireland, and Greece itself.

Fund managers are also beginning to move back into these nations: whether it be Greek banks or the Irish stocks which comprise the biggest country overweight in the top-performing Ignis European Smaller Companies fund.

Elsewhere, the underperformance of Apple has not stopped the tech-focused Nasdaq from returning over 30% this year as US markets continue to surge ahead.

Below is the list of ten best performing country indices year-to-date, based on figures compiled by Morningstar.

Country  Stock exchange  Total return YTD (GBP) 
 Venezuela Bolsa de Valores de Caracas  452%
 Japan Jasdaq Composite   51.1%
 Iceland OMXI All Share PR ISK   38.4%
 Zambia Lusaka Stock Exchange  37.2%
 Ireland Irish Stock Exchange  35.2%
 Nigeria Nigerian Stock Exchange   34.9%
 Greece Athens Exchange  34.5%
 Argentina  Mercado de Valores S.A.  33.9%
 US  Nasdaq Index  33.7%
 Pakistan  Karachi Stock Exchange  31.8%

 Source: Morningstar