Investors would have made the most money in the first quarter by putting their cash in Egypt or Kazakhstan, according to MSCI indices.
Egypt returned more than 40% in the first three months of the year as the country's stock market recovered from a disastrous 2011 in which the value of the MSCI Egypt index nearly halved due to political turmoil.
The Kazakhstan index returned more than 35% in the first quarter as rising commodity prices gave a boost to companies extracting oil, gas, minerals and metals from the country.
The best-performing developed market was Germany, which returned more than 20% in the three months, followed closely by Singapore and Belgium.
MSCI said the first quarter was one of the best starts to a year since 2000 with only a handful of countries, such as Spain and Ukraine, returning negative growth. The MSCI World index returned nearly 11% and the MSCI Emerging Markets index, which includes Egypt, nearly 14%.
The MSCI Frontier Markets index, which includes Kazakhstan, did less well with 4%.
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