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How much are stocks down? A tally of 25 countries

May 25, 2010 |  6:57 pm

For all the turmoil in global financial markets this month, many major stock markets have given back only a modest portion of last year’s big rebound. Only a handful are in bear markets by the classic definition of a drop of at least 20%; most are in "corrections," meaning declines of 10% to 20%.

Bulls might say that’s the good news. Bears might say it’s a warning that stocks may have much more to fall if Europe’s financial crisis spreads and the global economy begins to tilt back into recession.

Below is a compilation of how much key market indexes in 25 countries have declined from their 52-week highs, which in most cases were reached in recent months. The numbers show the declines as measured in each country’s local currency.

Note that losses experienced by U.S. investors in foreign markets will be worse than the declines as measured in local currencies if those currencies have plunged against the dollar. The German market, for example, is down 10.4% from its 52-week high on April 26 measured in euros, but the loss in dollar terms is 17.5% because the euro has fallen so sharply.

Declines in key markets from their 52-week highs through Tuesday:

--- What market plunge? Chile, -3.6%; Colombia, -6.1%; Canada, -6.2%; Malaysia, -7.2%.

--- A “correction,” but barely:  Mexico, -10.3%; Germany, -10.4%; U.S. (Dow industrials), -10.4%; India, -10.8%; South Korea, -10.9%; Pakistan, -11.7%; U.S. (S&P 500), -11.8%.

--- Feeling real pain, but still not in a bear market: U.S. (Nasdaq), -12.6%; U.S. (Russell 2,000), -13.7%; Argentina, -14.6%; Australia, -14.7%; Britain, -15.2%; Taiwan, -15.2%; Japan (Nikkei), -16.6%; Saudi Arabia, -16.9%; Hong Kong, -17.3%; Brazil, -17.6%; France, -18.1%.

--- In the bear’s lair: Portugal, -21.7%; Russia, -21.8%; China (Shanghai), -24.4%; Italy, -24.7%; Spain, -26.3%; Greece, -46.8%.

-- Tom Petruno