Stock Market Predictions

One website that I particularly enjoy reading is FiveThirtyEight.com. It is run by Nate Silver, a freak statistician that applies his considerable numbers genius (normally applied to baseball) to politics. He’s probably biased to the left, but he also always discloses his methodologies in an open and clear manner. In the following article he muses about the predictability of the stock market (motivated by its use to credit or discredit the current president).

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/03/manic-depressive-market.html

In essence, the norm used to be that if the market rose on any day, it was more likely to rise the next day too as the rally played out. That effect was mostly canceled out in the 80s and 90s as information was relayed and used at a faster clip.

In a completely boggling twist, Nate’s data shows that since 2000, the market is has a tendency toward inverse serial correlation. This means that if the market rises one day, it is more likely to fall the next. He puts out a few reasons for why this might be, but at least we now have proof that the roller coaster ride that those of us who

A million, a billion, and a trillion walk into a bar…

First, some credit. The article that provoked this post can be found here: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/19343.html

The article explores the fact that it is conceptually difficult for any human brain to discern the difference between large sums such as a million, a billion, and a trillion. I’m always up for a challenge, so here goes:

One million pennies (in addition to being $10,000) would make a coin roll just under a mile long or about the distance from our offices to go watch the Cats play at Rupp Arena.

One billion pennies would make a coin roll 870 miles long, enough to get from Lexington to just short of Dallas, TX (in addition to making you close to $10 million richer)

One trillion pennies is $10 billion dollars, never mind the distance. Ok, if you are curious, that is a coin roll from Lexington around the Earth back to Lexington 25 times.

You’ll never look at a penny the same again.

Good News on a Warm Day

As us Lexingtonians slowly wait for winter to go away for another year so we can get back to enjoying the natural beauty of the Bluegrass – a couple nuggets of positive nature were in the news this morning:

First, J.M. Smucker posted solid profits for their fiscal 3rd quarter. For those of you unaware, they own the Jif plant here in Lexington, which makes a heck of a lot of peanut butter. Though company officials caution that the salmonella scare will decrease demand for peanut butter overall and may have an effect on their fiscal 4th quarter earnings, there is a large notice on the Jif website that they don’t use the tainted supplier that has received so much bad press of late.

http://www.kentucky.com/103/story/706316.html

Second, a (mostly) positive story on Lexington’s local economy. Budget revenues have slowed but still show growth in January 2009 compared to January 2008. I like to think that the current economic situation allows us to claim a lack of a current budget crisis as a victory, even though tougher days are projected for the next fiscal year. Keep your fingers crossed, but Lexington continues to be strong in the face of the current economic storm.

http://bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com/2009/02/24/lexingtons-january-revenues-decline/

New Ranking: College Sports Town

One of the best things about compiling rankings and accolades for a great place like Lexington is that there are always an abundance to choose from. I recently finished my update to our ever-famous Bluegrass Rankings document and the next day a new ranking gets published.

Lexington is officially (according to Forbes) the #5 college sports town in America.

Though our sporting traditions are certainly legendary, the ranking also takes into account quality of life, public school quality, and crime. The article also mentions the great real estate return on investment as well as the attractiveness of college towns for business, especially among information and start-up companies.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/12/college-sports-towns-lifestyle-sports_0212_college_towns.html