Figures published by the benchmark indices provider showed that global markets gained 14.07% over the course of 2012. This compares with the 10.67% loss that was seen in 2011.
Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said: “The year was marked by persistent low interest rates, as central banks attempted to stimulate economies and postponed worrying about possible inflation.
“European debt issues received enough bandages (and bailouts) to sustain them, with the bulk of the pain yet to be felt by individuals; the translation is more discomfort for politicians and the market.”
Developed markets added 13.91% during 2012, taking their two-year return positive with a 4.58% gain. Emerging markets rose 15.27% last year although their two-year return remains in negative territory after falling 11.15%.
Silverblatt added that the last month of 2012 was broadly positive, with 43 of the 46 global markets recording gains in December. Strong performance was seen in the eurozone periphery as Portugal was up 10.55% over the month and Greece rose 9.12%.