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The WSJ Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter: From Big Macs to

The WSJ Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter: From Big Macs to "Zombie Banks," the Indicators Smart Investors Watch to Beat the Market

by Simon Constable, Robert E. Wright

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A wonderfully irreverent and endlessly entertaining guidewith more than 80,000 copies sold worldwide in multiple languagesabout the indicators most investors aren't following, but should be!

In order to make the best possible investment decisions, savvy investors know that they must pay close attention to economic indicators. But while most are looking at conventional barometers like unemployment rates and housing statistics, the smartest investors are following the curious and often ignored indicators that offer a true sense of where the economy is and where it's heading. These factors have been proven to provide the vital information needed to beat the market.

Dow Jones columnist Simon Constable and respected financial historian Robert E. Wright offer valuable tips and insight to help investors forecast and exploit sea changes in the global macroeconomic climate. Unlike other investment handbooks, Constable and Wright’s guide explores the little-known economic indicators that the smartest investors watch closely in order to beat the stock market—from “Big Macs” to “zombie banks.” This valuable and informative read entertains and enlightens while offering essential advice on navigating the global economic climate.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062091758
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Series: Wall Street Journal Guides
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 73,186
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Simon Constable is host of the News Hub, a live web show that airs weekdays on Wall Street Journal Online. He makes standalone videos for, MarketWatch, and He lives in New York City.

Robert E. Wright, PhD, is the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has authored or coauthored eleven books and has written for Barron's, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Times, and other prominent publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Consumption (C)

1 Automobile Sales 3

2 Chain Store Sales 8

3 Consumer Sentiment 13

4 Existing Home Sales 18

5 Underemployment or Slack 23

Investment (I)

6 Book-to-Bill Ratio 31

7 Copper Price 36

8 Durable Goods Orders 41

9 Housing Permits and Starts 46

10 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization 51

11 Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Survey 56

12 Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Survey 61

13 JoC-ECRI Industrial Price Index 66

14 London Metal Exchange Inventories 71

15 Personal Savings Rate 76

16 Unit Labor Costs 81

Government (G)

17 Federal Government Budget Deficits and the National Debt 89

Net Exports (NX)

18 Baltic Dry Index 97

19 Big Mac Index 102

20 Current Account Deficit 108

21 Oil Inventories 113

22 Tankan Survey 118

23 TIC Data 123

Multiple Components

24 Beige Book 131

25 Crack Spread 136

26 Credit Availability Oscillator 141

27 Federal Funds Rate 146

28 Fertility Rates 150

29 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per Capita 156

30 Libor 161

31 M2 Money Supply 166

32 New Home Sales 171

33 Philadelphia Fed: The Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index 176

34 Philadelphia Fed: Business Outlook Survey 181

35 Real Interest Rates 186

36 Short Interest 191

37 Russell 2000 196

38 Weekly Leading Index 201

39 Yield Curve 206

Inflation, Fear, and Uncertainty

40 GDP Deflator 213

41 Gold Price 218

42 Misery Index 223

43 Producer Price Index 227

44 Retail Investment Activity 231

45 Credit Spreads: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates 235

46 Ted Spread 241

47 Texas "Zombie Bank" Ratio 246

48 TIPS Spread 250

49 CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) 255

50 VIXEN Index 260

Conclusion: Putting It All Together 265

Appendix: Useful Economic Indicators Websites 275

Selected Bibliography 279

Acknowledgments 281

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