– The estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 for Q4 2008 currently stands at -1.2 percent. Six months ago, this was estimated at 59.3 percent.

– The price of oil was $37.71 at the close on December 26, the last formal price before Israel began its bombardment of Gaza. It has since risen close to 25 percent.

– A standout winner among investments last year was German stock volatility. The DAX New Volatility index rose more than 139 percent in 2008.

– From its all time high in November 2007 to its 2008 low, MSCI’s benchmark all-country world stock index lost 56.2 percent.

– Since hitting that low on November 21, 2008, the MSCI benchmark has risen around 25 percent.