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This map of global stock index searches teaches some interesting lessons about world finance

The good people at Google Trends put together a map showing the most-searched-for stock index in each country. It's a bit of an odd thing to research, but it shows some pretty interesting aspects of our financial universe.

America is dominant

There are a handful of countries whose own local stock exchange is the most important one. Then there's another handful of countries that follow the German or French or even Spanish stock market. Then there's the huge dark green sea of countries where people follow America's Dow Jones Industrial Average, the clear global kind of stock indexes.

Germany is No. 2

In terms of global influence, the No. 2 stock index in the world isn't something out of Tokyo or Shanghai — it's Germany's DAX. The German economy is smaller than China's or Japan's, but it's more tied in to cross-border trade, and it's the most-searched-for index in Finland, Turkey, several small central European countries, Namibia, and even Uzbekistan.

Pity the S&P 500

Fussy pedants (like yours truly) don't really like to cite the Dow since it's constructed with an unsound methodology and the S&P 500 index is just sitting there ready to measure the same thing (the performance of big US-listed companies) in a much better way. This map shows that a lot of people agree with me about this in Estonia. And nowhere else. Well, Estonia is great!

The French Empire lives

The UK's FTSE 100 index is more significant than France's CAC 30 by most measures I can think of, but the French stock market seems to have had more staying power in France's former African colonies than the FTSE has in the old British Empire.

Mercator projections are misleading

Countries like Italy and Brazil have their national stock indexes relegated to "other" status on this map, while tiny Denmark gets an attractive light purple shade. Why? Well, because the Danish stock exchange is important in Greenland, and Mercator Projection maps make Greenland look enormous.

People in Oman are really into the Indian stock market

Strange but apparently true.