Germany's DAX ends 2008 with a loss of 40.4 percent

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's benchmark stock market index DAX .GDAXI gained 2.2 percent on Tuesday to end 2008 at 4,810.20 points, a 40.4 percent plunge on the year, the index's second-worst annual performance in its 20-year history.

The DAX, which had risen 22 percent in 2007, tumbled along with stock markets around the world as turmoil in the financial sector spread to the real economy, triggering a sharp global downturn and forcing governments to bail out a number of troubled lenders.

The DAX, which includes global bellwethers such as Siemens SIEGn.DE, Bayer BAYG.DE and BMW BMWG.DE, had lost 44 percent in 2002.

Infineon IFXGn.DE was the DAX's biggest loser in 2008, down 88.1 percent, followed by Commerzbank CBKG.DE, down 74.7 percent, and Deutsche Postbank DPBGn.DE, down 74.5 percent.

Bucking the trend, Volkswagen VOWG.DE shot up 60.2 percent, propelled by Porsche's PSHG_p.DE plans to raise its stake in the carmaker, triggering a violent short selling squeeze from investors who had bet on a drop by the stock.

Five of the DAX’s 10 worst sessions on record took place in 2008, with the German benchmark index losing more than 7 percent on each of those days. However, the record one-day plunge of 13 percent recorded on Oct 16, 1989, still stands.

The Frankfurt stock exchange closed at 1300 GMT and will remain closed until Friday, January 2.

Reporting by Tyler Sitte