Posts filed under “Data Analysis”
Many years ago, when I was a poor and humble graduate student, I taught the prep course for students taking the GMATs and LSATs. I understood the internal logic and game theory needed to succeed on standardized tests, and could explain techniques used to do well on them.
One of the keys to succeeding on these tests was to have strong reading comprehension skills. Toward that end, I taught what I like to call active reading. It required the reader to approach text in a rigorous and logical way, challenging each sentence to find assumptions, false statements and deductive errors. Think of it as logical skepticism.
I still use these muscles everyday. I can randomly pick up any newspaper article or analyst report, and find holes and flaws merely by asking questions the author left unanswered. Active reading often leads to the conclusion that the vast majority of news is at best incomplete and uninformative, while a majority of research reports are full of biases and logical errors.
That is a pretty bold statement, and to demonstrate this, I am going to take a random article and dissect it using logical skepticism. When I am finished, you will have a better understanding of why I often say “Lose the News.” I hope you never look at media noise in the same way.
Yesterday, an article decided to take stock of investors’ concerns, quoting many strategists and managers. I chose it because it was well-written and researched, and offered the perspectives of many strategists. However, this exercise can be done with any article or research piece written by anyone anywhere.
Source: RealtyTrac Each quarter, RealtyTrac releases its “Home Equity and Underwater Report.” According to RealtyTrac’s data, “9.1 million U.S. residential properties were seriously underwater.” Mortgages that are “seriously underwater” exceed a property’s value by at least 25 percent. They also account for 17.2 percent of all properties with a mortgage. That number decreased slightly…Read More
Home sales, at least in the U.S., seem to be rising. Existing home sales in June increased to 5.04 million annualized. That number may be affected by the weather, as June sales most likely come from contracts signed after the depths of winter.
To find out if this is a global improvement, we can take a look at the International Monetary Fund’s Global House Price Index. Its data and lovely infographics give us a few interesting things to digest. (You can also use the BIS data or OECD statistics).
The first chart shows the annual percentage change in housing prices. The U.S. is 10th, and housing prices in the country are still far below (35 percent, or so) their 2006 peak.
click for ginormous chart Source: FRED This morning’s column on Inflation truthers led to some emailers insisting inflation numbers are much higher post crisis than pre. Sorry, but the data says that is simply not true. Play with the attached FRED XL spread sheets all you want, the data is hard to argue…Read More
This is an absolutely fascinating — hypnotic even — depiction of what the daily metrics of a New York City Taxi looks like, overlaid on top of a map. You can track passengers, distance traveled, revenue, even tips. Bravo! I wish we could make the data from our business (Financial planning/asset management) look this compelling!…Read More
Regular readers of mine know I spend lots of time debunking bias and cognitive errors. With the markets up as much as they have been, it has been easier to find examples of that error in the bearish camp than the bullish one (See this as an example of cognitive bias in action). The bulls…Read More