Which country's stock market has been the best performer in the world — not just over the past year or decade, but over the last 110 years?
It's Australia, which stands above all others in its combination of higher returns and lower volatility.
While they speak our language, and we have some common origins, they have hitched their wagon to the dynamic growth of Asia. And it's paid off, as Australia has had the best performing stock market in the world from 1900 to 2009.
Australia posted 7.5% after-inflation returns per year during that time, with a standard deviation of 18.2%, according to a study from Credit Suisse. Those returns are the highest and the volatility the second lowest of the 19 major markets the researchers studied.
During that time, U.S. stocks made a 6.2% return, with a standard deviation of 20.4%. That means investors would have made more money in Australian stocks with less volatility than in the U.S. or any other major market over that long stretch.
Question: does this mean that Australia is really good, economically speaking, or simply not thought very much of by others?