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Ten best stock markets in the world in 2015

The US stock market typically dominates financial news, but there are others out there. This globally-minded list recounts the top ten best stock markets in the world in 2015. 

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    Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 5, 2015.
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It seems sensible to invest primarily in U.S. stocks, because of their generally reliable returns, familiarity, and a sense of patriotism. But sometimes, getting big investment gains requires thinking more globally.

Despite global economic problems, the stock markets of many countries have been on a tear. Which markets are seeing the biggest gains? Here are 10 to examine, along with a couple of honorable mentions.

(Note that there are many countries that would have been on this list were it not for a large global selloff in August, triggered by concerns over the growth of China's economy.)

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1. Argentina

It's a little strange, because Argentina's economy is not in particularly good shape, but the stock market in Buenos Aires is up more than 30% this year, in part due to optimism that October elections will help the country with its economic woes.

2. Hungary

This European nation has been in the headlines recently due to its response to the refugee crisis, but a series of economic reforms and some tax changes have helped spur the Hungarian economy faster than any other nation in the European Union. The Budapest Stock Exchange is up 27% since the start of 2015.

3. Jamaica

The small island is home to some of the fastest sprinters — and one of the fastest-growing economies, after years of tepid growth and debt problems. The nation has also been helped by a campaign to urge Jamaicans living elsewhere in the world to invest in the Jamaican stock market. The Jamaica Stock Exchange Market Index is up more than 27% this year.

4. Iceland

It's been hailed as one of the better economic turnaround stories in recent memory. The nation that was burned by the financial crisis is now back, with a 26% rise in its stock market this year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the devaluing of currency during the financial crisis actually helped Iceland recover faster.

5. Denmark

The Danish currency has fallen in value, so stocks are up due to the ease of selling Danish products abroad. The Copenhagen 20 Index, which tracks the top Danish blue chip stocks, is up 25% this year.

6. Ireland

The Irish Stock Market Overall Index has seen a 22% bump in 2015, thanks to a surging economy that has seen more than 6% growth in gross domestic product in each of the first two quarters of the year.

7. Botswana

This landlocked African country has been hailed as a model of economic growth, with money coming from diamonds, minerals, tourism, and now even retail. The Botswana Gaborone Index, which tracks companies based in Botswana, is up 13% in 2015.

8. France

The CAC 40 Index, which tracks top French stocks, was doing tremendously up until the middle of August, when the most recent global downturn took place. The Index was up nearly 40% but fell back to its current level of about 9% growth in 2015.

9. Russia

Despite sanctions and war, the Russian economy has grown in 2015, and investors have made out well. The nation's MICEX Index showed a 23% rise since a low point at the start of the year.

10. Pakistan

If you like roller coaster rides, you'll enjoy the performance of the Karachi KSE100 Stock Exchange. The market lost 20% of its value in February and March, but rebounded to give investors a solid 5% return on the year.

Honorable Mentions

These two markets didn't quite make the cut, but they've done well, too.

Portugal

If you began investing in Portuguese stocks at the start of 2015, you got in at a good time. The PSI 20, which tracks the main Portugal-based companies, hit a trough in January and was up 30% by April. It's come back to Earth a bit since, but is up 4% this year.

Vietnam

The Ho Chi Minh Stock Index has been up and down in 2015, rising 18% in the first half of the year before dropping in the last two months. It's still up 4% this year.

This article is from Tim Lemke of Wise Bread, an award-winning personal finance and credit card comparison website.

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