WASHINGTON, D.C. – Big events, such as the outbreak of war, prompt scribblers such as ourselves to prognosticate. Some of our calls are better than others. Take this gem of an observation, made at the outset of the Iraq War three years ago: “With Iraq out of the way,” we wrote, “the Bush Administration will be more likely to prioritize resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Iraq, alas, has hardly fallen out of the way, and the Israelis and Palestinians sure don’t seem any closer to living in harmony than they did three years ago.
Better, however, were our calls on stocks in Iraq’s neighborhood–stocks which we thought would benefit from the still-elusive peace dividend. On average, those picks have risen 47% annualized since March 20, 2003, compared with a 16% gain for the S&P 500.