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At the beginning of the year 2011, the stock markets followed the positive economic trend and started out with rising share prices. However, the development on the capital market slowed in March because of the tsunami on the Japanese coast. Except for some minor price corrections, the positive price trend continued in the following months. The markets were characterized by a high degree of volatility and reached their highest level at the end of April. Shortly thereafter, however, growing debt problems of some Southern European countries, especially Greece, triggered an increase in the overall uncertainty on the capital market. In addition, the U.S. uncertainty about raising the debt ceiling caused fluctuations on the stock exchanges. New fears of a recession surfaced, followed at the beginning of August by one of the most serious stock exchange crises in over 20 years: The DAX dropped by more than 30% within just a short time. The markets did recover later on from their lowest points, but only very gradually and without being able to return to their previous levels.

The DAX reached its peak of 7,528 points for the year at the beginning of May. Starting from a level that was just slightly below its peak, prices dropped significantly at the beginning of August. This caused the DAX to reach its lowest point for the year of 5,072 points, the lowest level since 2009. Over the course of the year, it fell by 15% and closed at 5,898 points at the end of 2011.

That was a weak performance in comparison with other European blue chip indices as well. The Euro Stoxx 50 lost 17% within the year. The European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index closed 2011 with a loss of 11%. The best performing sectors in this index were Health Care (12%), Food & Beverages (5%), and Oil & Gas (1%), while Automotives (-24%), Basic Resources (-30%), and Banks (-32%) were the worst three performers. The leading U.S. indices fared somewhat better: The S & P 500 closed 2011 on par with the previous year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 6%.

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