New Mission, New Website coming soon! Learn more now.

Equities logo
Close this search box.

2018 Highs and Lows: Five Markets That Have Surged or Slumped

After surging in 2017, Wall Street came back to earth in 2018.

The Dow Jones industrial average

After surging in 2017, Wall Street came back to earth in 2018. The sugar rush of Donald Trump’s tax cuts were replaced by concerns that the US Federal Reserve was raising interest rates too quickly. Political instability in Washington helped to drive stocks down 9% in December on the Dow and its sister index the S&P, the worst December rout since 1931.

The FTSE 100

After hitting a record high in May, the blue-chip index of top London-listed shares weakened steadily to end the year down 12.5%. Worries about global growth hurt multinational companies such as miners, while domestic stocks including retailers and builders suffered from the Brexit deadlock in parliament.

The Shanghai composite

2018 was a torrid year for China’s investors. The Shanghai composite index fell by a quarter – the worst performance by a major index globally – amid fears that Chinese economic growth would be badly damaged by the trade war with the US. Traders also worried that Beijing’s crackdown on shadow banking could trigger a hard landing for its economy.

Brazil’s Bovespa index

Jair Bolsonaro’s rise to the Brazilian presidency has alarmed human rights groups but cheered investors. The far-right firebrand wants to create US-style free markets, sell government assets, reform the tax system and cut Brazil’s deficit. This drove São Paulo’s Bovespa index up 15%, making it the best-performing major stock market in 2018.

Brent crude

The oil price had a dizzying ride in 2018. Supply worries owing to Iranian sanctions and disruption in Venezuela sent Brent crude to a four-year high of $85/barrel in October. But prices then slumped as a result of fears that producers were pumping too much. Despite the Opec cartel’s best efforts, Brent hit a 16-month low below $50 last week.