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Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NMR), Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (SAN): Has Volatility Shaken Up the Dow?

It’s been shaky recently for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and markets around the world. From the mounting concerns over the scaling-back of quantitative easing to downbeat projections of China’s economic growth, a number of challenges to stocks’ 2013 surge have arisen lately. Investors have become used to triple-digit swings in either direction from the Dow, but has this dramatic spate of volatility really shaken up the Dow? After all, the index has gained more than 16% year to date — a number no one will turn down.

Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:^DJI)

Let’s compare the Dow against several major competitors around the world over the last month and a half to see just how well America’s blue-chip stock index has weathered the storm.

The Dow easily tops competitors
Despite its wild swings over the last few weeks, the Dow has performed well in the recent past. While not comparable to its year-to-date gains, the index’s nearly 3.7% rise since May 1 is a number that should look more familiar to most investors.

Even more surprisingly, the Dow has decisively beaten its competition — including one of the best-performing indexes of 2013.

^DJI Chart

^DJI data by YCharts.

Japan’s Nikkei has topped indexes around the world this year, but investors wouldn’t know it by looking at its recent performance. One need look no further than the yen’s fluctuations as the country’s central bank tries to weaken its currency through stimulus. Financial stocks are the kings of volatility across the Pacific: Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:NMR) has posted a whopping 129% gain over the past year, but over the last month the stock has performed horribly, losing more than 9%.

Japan’s Nikkei will undoubtedly see more volatility in the future as stimulus continues, but the index may not repeat its earlier gains. Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:NMR) investors and others in the Japanese financial sector will need to count on the markets to keep on rising. As with many in the sector, Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:NMR)’s revenue jumped sharply in early 2013 as the markets surged, and its business in Japan beat out international operations. Still, there are signs that the Nikkei is slowing: Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:NMR)’s vice president equity strategist Hisao Matsuura told Bloomberg in late May that much of the initial enthusiasm over Japan’s stimulus has wound down.

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