Standard & Poor's has proclaimed Ghana the champion of the 2010 Equity World Cup.
A deft move, we say! S&P — apparently recognizing simultaneously that the World Cup, (which started June 11 in South Africa) is a big deal, but that most Americans view soccer in the same realm as lacrosse, curling and even tiddlywinks — took soccer out of the FIFA World Cup and replaced it with stock returns for the first five months of 2010.
And what American doesn't like to see stock returns the size of Texas?
As it turns out, America's stock returns for the five months ended May 31 helped the U.S. get to the quarterfinals in S&P's Equity World Cup: Its -4.3% was crushed like a soggy apple pie by Ghana's 50.73%. (The one guy in your office who pays attention to these things will likely tell you that the U.S. might not make it out of the group stage of the real World Cup.)
Nigeria, the only other country to make the real World Cup and show positive stock returns in 2010, bowed out in the semifinals of the Equity World Cup with 19.97%. Japan lost in the final with a meager -3.36%.
“Football fans don't need to panic at the results of the Equity World Cup, but S&P's project will be of real interest to the investor community,” Marius Baumann, senior director custom indexes EMEA, said in a news release. “The excellent performance of Ghana and other frontier markets is a fascinating and emerging trend.” — Drew Carter