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Posted in Charts, Food by teslik on September 23, 2009

A fantastic graph mapping every McDonald’s in the United States:


(Put together by Stephen von Worley, and noted by Felix Salmon and Mark Perry.) As Perry points out, you can go to a place in between the towns of Glad Valley and Meadow, both in South Dakota, that is 107 miles from the nearest Mickey D’s!

Has Bubbly Bottomed Out?

Posted in Charts, Luxury Goods by teslik on September 2, 2009

Conflicting headlines! A new article from the Wall Street Journal — “Champagne’s Bubble Burst” — notes that champagne bottlers picked 32% fewer grapes this year and will produce 44% fewer bottles overall, due to expected cutbacks in consumer spending. FT Alphaville, by contrast, put a positive spin on the wine industry’s fortunes in a post this morning entitled “Wine Doing Fine.” After getting slammed in late 2008, the piece notes, the Liv-ex 100 Fine Wine Index is up 10 percent year to date and jumped 5 percent in August alone. See the chart below.


Of course, these two facts are perfectly reconcilable. Indeed, the fact that some wine/champagne producers are scaling back production might have something to do with their stock bounce. Still, I found it interesting that the FT put a positive gloss on things while the Journal did precisely the opposite.

Workplace Suicides

Posted in Charts by teslik on September 1, 2009

Workplace suicides, i.e. those which occur physically in the workplace, spiked last year to their highest level since 1992, when the BLS started keeping track. The New York Times posts the following chart and notes some interesting related statistics on its Economix blog.


The State of Subprime

Posted in Charts, Debt Markets, Real Estate Markets by teslik on August 24, 2009

Both of the following are from the NY Fed. Here, first, is a state-by-state look, as of May 2009, at how many subprime mortgage loans have been made per 1,000 housing units. The darker the red, the more subprime loans (Florida is the highest at 27.0 loans per 1,000 homes).


Here, next, is a chart mapping the change in the same statistic over the past six months (through May). Darker green means a sharper reduction in the number of subprime loans per 1,000 homes.


Mostly it tracks that the states with the highest percentage of subprime loans have had the highest pullbacks. But notice also the discrepancies. The subprime markets in California and Nevada, which are smaller than the market in Florida, are nonetheless receding at a faster rate. Virginia’s relatively modest subprime market is receding quite quickly. Same with Wyoming’s. And Texas’s relatively broad subprime market, like Florida’s, isn’t receding as fast as you might expect.

America’s Uninsured

Posted in Charts, Healthcare by teslik on August 20, 2009

This from Gallup, on the percentage of uninsured Americans by state. The state with the highest percentage of uninsured persons is Texas, at 26.9%. The lowest is Massachusetts, at 5.5%.

2009 -08-04-consumer-confidence-better

ETF Benchmarks

Posted in Charts, ETFs by teslik on August 19, 2009

Yesterday Izabella Kaminska wrote an excellent blog post for FT Alphaville on some of the not-so-visible risks associated with ETFs. Many ETFs, and particularly those trying to track commodity indexes or leveraged or inverse investments, have drawn heat of late for failing to effectively track their respective benchmarks. I had actually been looking at related charts a few days ago. I’m posting one below:


The red line is the S&P 500 index. The blue line is the ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF, which seeks to replicate the inverse of the S&P (before fees and expenses). The ETF has an expense ratio of 0.95%, so you can reasonably expect that it will lag the exact inverse of the S&P by about 1% per year, or perhaps a little more once you factor in the firm’s administrative expenses as it deals with dividend payments, taxes, etc. In fact, over the past year, the ETF has underperformed its benchmark by 36.1% (the S&P has fallen 23.26%, so its inverse has risen 23.26 percent; the ETF, meanwhile, has fallen 12.84%). If I bought an ETF seeking to track the inverse of the S&P, and the S&P lost over 23% in a year, I would be pretty annoyed if I also lost money (and significant money at that).

Chart via Google Finance

Economists v. Everybody Else as Forecasters

Posted in Charts, Prediction Markets by teslik on August 14, 2009

The Journal’s Real Time Economics blog reports that the Philadelphia Fed has released the results of a survey it conducted of professional economic forecasters–and that 75% now expect the United States to emerge from recession in Q3 2009 (up from 54.5% three months ago). Well I checked in over at Intrade, and it turns out the general public has seen an even more dramatic swing of faith in the U.S. economy’s prospects for the quarter. Whereas three months ago, Intrade’s contract priced in a 40% chance of positive U.S. growth in Q3, now the market is pricing in a 90% chance. See the chart below.


A Bumpy Ride Down for the LDP

Posted in Charts, Elections, Japan by teslik on August 13, 2009

Five decades of Liberal Democratic Party dominance in Japan might be coming to an end this year. Courtesy of a nice interactive from the FT, here’s a chart of Japan’s annual GDP growth since the party first took power in 1952.


Predicting the Next Fed Chairman

Posted in Charts, Prediction Markets by teslik on August 6, 2009

Intrade’s prediction market, which a month ago put Ben Bernanke’s probability of holding onto his Fed chairmanship in 2010 at less than 50%, now puts it over 80%. See chart below:


Intrade’s market guesses that the most likely candidates to replace Bernanke, were he not to keep his post, are Janet Yellen and Larry Summers.

Chart Candy, 08/05/09

Posted in Charts, Credit Cards by teslik on August 5, 2009

From Synovate, a market research firm, via TIME’s “Curious Capitalist” blog, here is a chart showing the volume of mailings from credit card companies, by quarter, since Q4 2005. The author of the post notes that the precipitous decline of mailings seems to have tapered off. The question for everybody annoyed about their cluttered mailbox is: will recovery be U-shaped or V-shaped or L-shaped?

credit card mailings2

Source: TIME, Curious Capitalist blog, “Are Credit Card Companies Getting their Groove Back?” August 5, 2009 (LINK)