Stock Market Archive:

I first posted about this awesome graph back in 2010, but it is now available from HistoryShots as print. Besides all the rare economic info, what’s fascinating to me is that this was orginally created as a piece of wall advertising. The most commonly circulated version had it as an ad for an envelope company, though I’ve seen others.



For fairly intelligent discussion of whether this means anything, check out the comments over at The Big Picture.

The 2012 Fortune 500 is out (which basically rates companies by revenue). I like this presentation of sales vs profits:image

There in also a charting of the Top 10 that let’s you take a look at revenue vs profits:

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Updated for November: one of my favorite economic dashboards. It highlights major macro indicators, what direction they are trending, and what the typical ranges are. It also lets you drill down to explanations of why you should care, and historical values.


A series of 30+ charts on unemployment, wages, corporate profits, income inequality, debt, taxes, and bailouts from the Business Insider. It’s actually quite an accurate compendium, and the narrative annotation spices up what are otherwise pretty dry charts from the St. Louis Fed (note: if you’ve never used the FRED data/graphing system, you should really go play with it – they even have an APP now). I particularly like the sequence where they illustrate that banks are borrowing money from the FED at basically zero interest rates, and using it to buy treasuries. Hilarious.


An interesting chart on different benchmarks that are required by the Bill. At closer inspection though, you realize all it does is describe the sections and count the requirements. It would have been nice if you could drill down and see the details of each of the colored lines, for example. The main impression remains, however: the Bill’s implementation is very complicated – which I suppose is in contrast to the wide agreement that it doesn’t actually solve any of our financial systems’ problems.


My favorite economic status tool. Point and/or click on anything and everything to learn something new about the economy, and why you should care.


In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion […] The total is up 5.7% from $128 billion in combined compensation and benefits by the same companies in 2009.

The interactive tree-map has a nice introduction of how it works, but it would have been nice to be able to drill down further to firm level data. On the two bottom graphs, they could have combined them using the same scale so it was easier to view the revenue/profit/compensation ratios. (related article)


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Building on my criticism in yesterday’s post, half of the people in this NPR experiment were asked to view three animals and pick the cutest; the other half were asked to pick which one they thought everyone else would think is the cutest. The results are below. The authors point out that this isn’t a new analogy, with Keynes having observed in 1936 that the stock market runs like a beauty contest. It’s an interesting example of how individual preferences can differ so much from social choices.

In the market, Keynes argued, it doesn’t make sense to invest in the company you think is best. It makes sense to invest in the company that you think other people will think is best. Because if everyone else invests in a company, the price of its stock will rise.

Of course, when everyone does this, it leads to a slippery investment world. “We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be,” Keynes wrote.

Pietra Rivoli, a professor at Georgetown’s business school, explains the problem with a market like this: “The key danger is that nobody’s really thinking.”


This graphic illustrates a stock’s rise and fall, created by stock analysis tool site Alphascanner. Part of me hates the effect these quant/tech trend analyses have on the financial markets (as oppose to going by, say, what the company actually does) – but such is the world we’ve created. (via)


Five-part interactive explanation of quantitative easing. My favorite part: “The Fed will likely buy $100s of billions of Treasury bonds using money that it creates out of thin air”

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Explore what percentage of revenue at Wall Street firms goes to compensation. Updated with 2010 data.


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An addictive collection of beautiful charts, graphs, maps, and interactive data visualization toys -- on topics from around the world.

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