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What Happened in 2008 - The Numbers

What Happened in 2008 – The Numbers

by Roman on January 2, 2009

This is a detailed summary of what happened in finance in 2008.

2008 was one of the worst years in the financial markets after the Great Depression in the 1930-s.

Worst year for Dow Jones since 1931

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished its third worst year throughout history and the worst year since 1931.

In 2008 Dow Jones was down 35%. This tremendous fall is only a bit better than the 37.7% fall in 1907 or the 53% fall in 1931.

Dow Jones -35%

Only 2 companies finished the year up

Only 2 of the 30 companies belonging to Dow Jones managed to finish the year on the positive side.

Wal-mart +16%

McDonalds +2%

Biggest losers in Dow Jones

The biggest losers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average were:

General Motors -86%

Citigroup -78%

Alcoa -73%

Bank of America -69%

American Express -66%

All but 3 of the world’s indexes finished down

The only indexes that finished the year up were:

Ghana +60.06%

Tunisia SE +10.4%

Ecuador +6.03%

3 world indexes that dropped the most

Iceland OMX 15  -94.43%

Bulgaria Sofix -79.71%

Ukraine PFTS -74.33%

Other important US indexes

Nasdaq Composite -41.6%
Russell 2000   -37%

Noteworthy sectors in USA

Radio -86%
Casinos and Hotels -83%
Real Estate -92%
Biotechnology   -0.5%
Medicine   -32%
Aviation -30%
Retail -26%
Defense -29%
Oil and Natural Gas -30%
Banks -49%
Insurance -51%


Gold   +4%
Oil   -62%
Copper -58%
Coffee -20%
Natural Gas -22%
Orange Juice -50%
Wheat -25%
Silver -29%
Corn -14%

Notable world stock exchanges

Mexico BOLSA -24.09%

London FTSE 10031.23%

Sweden OMX 30 -38.75%

Germany DAX -40.37%

France CAC 40 -41.98%

Japan Nikkei 225 -42.12%

Denmark OMX -46.63%

Finland OMX 25 -49.65%

Hong Kong Hang Seng -48.27%

Estonia OMX -62.98%

China CSI 300 -65.95%

Russia RTS -72%

World Currency

Euro vs. British pound  +31%
Euro vs. Dollar -4.2%
British Pound vs. Dollar -26.7%
Dollar vs. Japanese Yen -19%


All in all 2008 was a really bad year for all kinds of investors. It did not matter whether you invested in the US, Europe, Asia, third world countries or whether you bought commodities and seeked to diversify your investment portfolio in order to keep the risks down.

2008 was equally bad for everyone – thanks to the credit crunch almost all the world markets were down. As usual – investors turned to gold for a safe haven.

It is difficult to say what 2009 will bring but investors are worried – it is expected that the financial crisis of 2008 will turn into the economic crisis of 2009.  Whatever you do – be very careful!

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Armen Shirvanian January 4, 2009 at 3:53 am

There is a lot of decrease shown in the various items of information you have presented here about 2008. Although these items did show up, one could say that the negative effects have been buffered by a wholesome economy that is more resilient than the one of many decades ago. The Dow Jones sure did head down a path it hadn’t been on in quite a while.

Raul January 4, 2009 at 6:24 am

“When there’s blood in the streets, buy property” (Baron Rothschild in 1871)
Yep, 2008 was a lousy year for investors, and probably 2009 will not be much better. But on the other hand, it may bring some good opportunities to buy something with a really good price.

Roman January 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

A famous quote by Warren Buffet says about the same thing: “We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

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