Posts filed under “Research”

A Correlation Worth Noting?

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The folks at the St. Louis Fed – about whom I can’t say enough good things — produce a proprietary Financial Stress Index, a full explanation of which can be found here [PDF].

A full deconstruction of the Index is, frankly, a bit above my pay grade.  What’s not, though, is exploring the correlation of the Index to the S&P500 and discovering that while it’s generally well-correlated, that correlation has increased dramatically since the recession began at the end of 2007, as can easily be seen in the chart above.  (I’ve inverted the S&P500 to better display the correlation.)

The question I need to explore, of course, is whether — or how — this information might be useful in the context of equity exposure.

Note that the Index can dip below zero, and that it is still well off its lows.  Should “financial stress” continue to ease — the Index is updated weekly — it would suggest to me more S&P upside.  The biggest caveat, of course, is that all correlations work — until they don’t.

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BR: I would add that peaks in economic activity precede recessions — they start with economic stress rather low. So if we extrapolate from the (very limited data) above, we still have 12-24 months before the real heavy stuff starts coming down.

That said, 2 is not a statistically significant sample

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Investing, Markets, Research

Setting the Record Straight

A chart made the rounds last week that purported to prove Nouriel Roubini and David Rosenberg are excellent contrary indicators as relates to the stock market.  The chart was simply the S&P500 annotated with alleged market commentary by the pair — bearish at the lows, bullish at the highs.  It eventually made its way over to the estimable Doug Kass, who posted it.  (Mr. Kass had no part in the chart’s creation, and this is not a quibble with his decision to post it. Further, I’m a big fan of his contrarian style.)

The truth — at least as it relates to Rosie — tells a bit of a different story.  In March of 2009 — on the 4th, to be precise — Dave was “looking for reasons to turn bullish” and “believe[d] the stage [was] being set for sentiment to become completely washed out, which is what it takes for contrarians to become constructive.”

Below is a page from his report that day (highlights were made by me three years ago and not for this post):

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Category: Really, really bad calls, Research

Nobel Laureates and Economic Prosperity

> The graphic above, via Jon Bruner of Forbes, reflects the enormous American contribution to Arts & Sciences over the past century. What is intriguing is not just that the US has won so many prizes, but that the a third of American Nobels have gone to immigrants to the US: “The United States has…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Research, Science, Technology

Weekend Smorgasbord from Invictus

Herewith a potpourri of unrelated items I’ve found on my never-ending voyage through the internet. Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair. Seen This Movie Before First up, an excerpt from a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt in December 1906. I was taken by the opening line and the third paragraph. Indeed,…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Politics, Research, Taxes and Policy

The Census Bureau released its annual report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage: 2010 (full PDF)  this morning.  Barry has posted the slide presentation that staff went through during the conference call over in the Think Tank (please have a look).  The (very ugly) bullet points from the release can be found here, and the…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Research, Wages & Income

Save the Statistical Abstract

Via Paul Krugman, I’m led to this WaPo piece about the imminent demise of the Statistical Abstract of the United States, which is an invaluable resource for all manner of at-a-glance data.  Regardless of one’s ideology or political leanings, I think we can all agree that more information is better, less information not as good,…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Research

The Punditry Chronicles

Forecasting is a rough gig that often confounds even those who do it for a living and generally do it well. Situational awareness (see e.g., this and this), on the other hand, is all about knowing “what you need to know not to be surprised,” and having “the ability to maintain a constant, clear mental…Read More

Category: Analysts, Contrary Indicators, Really, really bad calls, Research

FRED Gets Even Better: Excel Add-in

The St. Louis Fed’s huge data repository, FRED, now has an incredible new feature:  an Excel Add-in, which is available here.  I’ve been test-driving the add-in for a month or so, and am very impressed with its capabilities.  If you’re a user of the FRED database, you may want to check it out for yourself….Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Research

Bob Farrell’s Rule #9 in Action

I think it’s likely that I introduced Bob Farrell’s Market Rules to Remember to the blogosphere (albeit to a smaller audience), as they’d been an integral part of my upbringing in the business and I was eager to share them when I started blogging.  (BR posted them here in August 2008.) That said, let’s have…Read More

Category: Analysts, Data Analysis, Economy, Really, really bad calls, Research

Not Too Stimulative

Obama had one shot at a stimulus package when the economy was reeling from the near economic collapse of 2008.  Some members of his team argued it needed to be bigger (it did), but for whatever reasons they did not prevail.  What was needed then — as now — was to put money to work…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Research