How did markets perform in 2013?

<p>The Nikkei had a great year, rising by 58 per cent.</p>

Stock markets around the world have performed admirably during 2013, with the Nikkei seeing particularly strong growth over the course of the year.

The Japanese index is currently 58 per cent up for the year and has been able to put the global financial crash firmly behind it, though some of its sessions have been choppy for investors.

It is not only the Nikkei that has seen good levels of growth in the last 12 months, as US markets the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 22 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, showing the American economy is getting stronger again.

In Europe the story was much the same during 2013 with even Greece's main stock market recording growth of 27 per cent in 2013. The Dax is 22 per cent higher and in the UK, the FTSE 100 has increased its value by ten per cent. A 30 per cent rise in Ireland's main index has been recorded too, along with a 17 per cent rise in Spain's Ibex and a 13 per cent gain for Portugal.

Speaking to BBC News, senior foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank Jane Foley stated that there is still going to be a "massive battle" ahead for stock markets all over the world.

"The rises we are seeing in consumption may not stay," she said, adding that the strong currency of the year has been the euro, which "has been surprisingly resilient" in 2013 so far.

Currency gains

Holger Schmieding, the chief economist at Berenberg Bank, stated that the resilience of the euro can be explained by there previously being no lender of last resort, which meant issues with economies such as Greece soon spread across the eurozone.

"Ever since the European Central Bank has established itself as a lender of last resort, everything has gone right. Spain is growing, Germany is growing, Ireland and Portugal are growing," he said.

Looking ahead to 2014, investors will be confident stock markets around the world will continue to rise, while the euro is worth keeping an eye on as the eurozone recovers from recession.

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