wow, I thought MFI was struggling before, but it seems to be exacerbated recently. SDA's MD diligence site pretty much says it all, he is trailing the S&P 500 by 1.4 points AND only 29% of his picks (which are generally insightful and well-reserached) are beating the index.
My automated approaches are trailing by a bit more, I think between 2 and 3 points. That being said, I still have optimism about the future. Companies with strong balance sheets and a steady cash flow will surivive this downturn and likely be the stronger for it as weaker competitors are acquired or go bankrupt.
I encouage everyone to read John Hussman's post this week (The Stock Market is Not in "Uncharted Territory"). He makes a tremendous point when he discusses the impotance for investors not to confuse short-term earnings risks with long-term valuations. He empasizes the point saying when you buy a stock, you are not buying next quarter's earnings, but rather an indefinite stream of earnings into the future. We will get past the rough waters, as he mentions the economy has had problems before and to say we're in uncharted waters is to say you know nothing anout history before 1990. Good stuff.
To illustrate, I pulled a list of the top 50 companies over $2b. There are some fabulous companies out there right now, that will be giving investors that stream of earnings way, way into the future. Here are some: ACN, BA, COH, DELL, XOM, GD, HPQ, INTC, MSFT, NOV, NUE, VIA and EBAY. Wow. Remember Warren Buffet has said that he would want to buy stock in a company where he would not mind if the markets stopped trading for 5 years. The implication being that he is investing in the company.