Our criticism of the widespread trust in “forward earnings” has sometimes been harsh, but consider the following: the latest 12-month forward EPS estimate for the EAFE index is $122.71, virtually matching the forward estimate that was made in January 2006.
Stocks selected for inclusion in the MSCI ACWI have outperformed from the day of the announcement to the day of implementation, while the opposite is true for stocks which are removed. Long-term, however, stocks included in the index do not outperform compared to those that were removed.
Xenophobia continues to be a handsomely rewarded trait for U.S.-based equity investors, with the MSCI World Ex USA Index down 3.8% YTD through December 3rd—and now (incredibly) unchanged from its May 2011 high. Comparable period gains for the S&P 500 are +12.2% YTD and +50% from spring 2011 highs.
The Major Trend Index has been bullish throughout 2012, and the S&P 500 has delivered a total return of +12% through early August. Yet few managers have managed to match or exceed that benchmark, to do so, they would have had to be “fully invested and maximum defensive.”