Argentina tops the 2014 share price index performers in 2014 followed by China while Denmark's stock market was the best performer among 24 developed country markets.
The MSCI World Index rose 2.93% in the year compared with 24.1% in 2013 while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ended the year almost exactly where it started. However, with the help of Bank of Japan "money printing," the Nikkei 225 gained 7.1%.
China's two stock market benchmarks, the Shanghai Composite and the China Securities Index 300, came second and third in the list of best world performing stock markets over the year with rises of 52.8% and 51.6%, respectively.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 finished the year up 1.1% while Asia's worst performer in 2014 was South Korea with the KOSPI dipping 4.8% - the dip has been partly attributed to the falling Japanese yen, which gives exporters a competitive advantage over their Asian rivals.
New Zealand's index rose 18% in 2014.
European shares rose for the third year, but the gain was the smallest since 1992.
Bloomberg News reports that the Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 4.4% in 2014 after rallying 14% in 2012 and 17% in 2013. The index lost 1.4% last month, its first December fall since 2008, amid a slump in oil prices and in Greek equities as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed to get enough backing for his presidential candidate, leading to early elections. Property companies, travel stocks and drugmakers increased the most in 2014, up more than 18%. Energy and commodity producers posted the biggest drops.
Greece’s ASE Index lost 29% in 2014, becoming the world’s worst-performing equity market after Russia, which dipped by 43%.
Germany’s DAX Index rose 2.7% in 2014; France’s CAC 40 Index slid 0.5% while the UK’s FTSE 100 Index dipped 2.7%.
Ireland's ISEQ Index rose by 14.5%.
The Spanish IBEX 35 climbed 3.7% for the year; Portugal's main index tumbled 27% and the Italian FTSE MIB was little changed.
With a 21% surge, Denmark’s OMX Copenhagen 20 Index posted the biggest rise among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.
The Wall Street Journal says that the Dow's 30 industrials closed at a record 38 times in 2014, while the S&P 500 did so 53 times.
The Dow rose 7.5% in 2014, its sixth-consecutive yearly gain. The S&P 500 added 11.4%, its third-straight annual gain. The Nasdaq Composite climbed13.4% in 2014, also marking its third-straight annual gain.
CNBC reported that despite battling a debt default and currency crisis, Argentina's stock market has won the unlikely accolade of the best performing global index of 2014.
The Buenos Aires Merval Index has logged an annual gain of 58.9% – this is the greatest percentage increase compared to other global benchmarks tracked by Reuters.
The index's gains have eased back since mid-September, however, when it had surged 133% year-to-date. The wider slump in emerging markets hitting the country's shares.
The cable news channel said that the index is classed as a frontier market by MSCI and is relatively small, with a market capitalisation of just $93.2bn, compared to the S&P 500's $19.32tn.
The bourse lists just 14 different stocks.