Standard & Poor's (S&P) on Wednesday crowned Ghana as the winner of the 2010 Equity World Cup.
"S&P Indices data charting equity performance between January to May 2010 have been used to simulate an 'Equity World Cup' that compares the relative performance of equity markets in the countries that have qualified for the football World Cup," the ratings agency said in a statement.
Nations were pitted against each other in accordance with the World Cup draw and the country with the better equity performance moved to the next round.
"Even before the first ball is kicked in South Africa, S&P Indices has crowned Ghana as the winner of the 2010 World Cup."
S&P said Ghana’s victory underlined a strong showing from a number of nations classed as emerging or frontier markets.
"Ghana heads the field with a rise in its equity performance of 50.73 percent in the first five months of 2010.
"Nigeria, beaten by Ghana in an all-African semifinal, also performed strongly with a growth of 19.97 percent."
S&P said that the Chilean market was down 5.48 percent but the country still made the semifinals was a testament to the weak average return across markets in Europe and North America.
"S&P Indices' Equity World Cup shows a string of results that stands in sharp contrast to the expectations for South Africa 2010.
"Spain remains the bookmakers’ favourite for the competition, but with its equity performance retracting by 37.49 percent in 2010, it was vanquished in the group stage of the equity simulation."
S&P said traditional football powerhouses Brazil and Argentina fared little better; Argentina (-6.93 percent) succumbed to Nigeria in the quarter-finals, while Brazil (-23.38 percent) was eliminated by Chile.
"A number of European markets have had disappointing returns in equity markets in 2010, reflected by the fact that Denmark was the only nation (-10.46 percent) to reach the last four."
Italy performed weakly in the S&P simulation and with an equity performance of -33.07 percent, the current World Cup holders were eliminated by Japan in the last 16.
S&P said England fans would also hope that the Equity World Cup was not a bad omen for the main event: "a poorly performing equity market (-19.67 percent) ensured defeat at the hands of the United States (-4.30 percent) and a crushing defeat to Ghana in the last 16".
"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," said Marius Baumann, senior director Custom Indices EMEA.
"The excellent performance of Ghana and other frontier markets is a fascinating and emerging trend," he added. - Sapa