This volatility was particularly driven by European sovereign concerns - and fears on the sustainability of the Eurozone, as well as US solvency / leverage concerns, leading to worldwide recession fears.
As a result, the main European equity indices all showed negative performance: the UK's FTSE 100 was the most resilient with a 5.6% decrease, while the French CAC 40, the German DAX and the Spanish Ibex-35 were down 17.0%, 14.7% and 13.1% respectively. The Eurostoxx 50 (benchmark index for the European equity market) finished the year down 17.1%. The US markets however managed to end the year in flat or positive territory, with a strong over performance in the second half of the year that managed to recover the heavy losses that had been registered worldwide during the summer. The Dow Jones and the Nasdaq were up 5.5% and 2.7% respectively, whilst the S&P 500 was flat on the year.