NEW YORK, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The BNY Mellon Classic ADR Index posted an 18% return last year, beating the 16% gain by the Standard & Poor's 500 Index of U.S. shares, and reversing a 2011 loss even as overall depositary receipt trading shrank, according to BNY Mellon's year-end report on the DR market. (1) "The outperformance of the Classic ADR Index is significant, given that overall DR trading value dropped in 2012 and U.S. stocks performed well during a year of political wrangling," said Christopher M. Kearns, deputy CEO of BNY Mellon's Depositary Receipts business. "International portfolio diversification through DRs has offered a viable option to many investors, even as geopolitics led to periods of unsettled markets and made companies cautious about committing capital." As the only real-time index to track all ADRs, New York shares and global registered shares traded on the NYSE, NYSE MKT, NASDAQ and over-the-counter, the BNY Mellon Classic ADR Index has become a widely followed international benchmark. Last year, the index gained 18%, reversing a 13% loss in 2011. More broadly, a total 157 billion DRs were traded on the world's markets and exchanges, 10% less than 2011, but higher than the previous two years, while the value of DRs traded shrank 26% to $2.79 trillion. Index GainsThe BNY Mellon Classic ADR Index returns for Europe were up more than 20% last year. Overall, the best-performing country indices were those for Germany, which gained 33%, Australia, which gained more than 25%, followed by China with a 25% rise, France returning 24%, and Switzerland with 22%. According to the year-end report, Oil & Gas sector issuers led all industries in terms of volume with 27 billion DRs traded, 44% more than 2011. In contrast, trading in the Semiconductor and Pharmaceutical sectors were down the most, 41% and 27%, respectively. In terms of trading value, Beverage sector companies outperformed all others with an 18% increase to $80 billion, while the Oil & Gas industry saw a slight increase of slightly more than 1% to $575 billion. According to the Classic ADR Index, the two sectors with the largest percentage returns last year were Financials and Consumer Goods, up 35% and 24%, respectively. The two lowest-performing sectors were Telecommunications and Oil & Gas, gaining less than 3% and less than 1%, respectively.