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Debt vs. Equity

weekly Chart In Focus

I came across this chart this week on FRED.  For the uninitiated, FRED is the Federal Reserve Economic Database, operated by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.  It is a genuine treasure trove for those who are into economic or financial data. 

Near-zero interest rates have led a lot of companies to issue debt at cheap interest rates, and to then use the proceeds to do share buybacks or other ventures to increase the value of their shares of stock.  Even Apple Corp. has issued debt, despite... Read More

Housing Starts - Lumber’s Message

weekly Chart In Focus

There are a lot of leading economic indicators in use these days, but the one I like the best is lumber futures prices.  Perhaps this is because almost no one else seems to pay attention to them as an economic gauge.  Lumber prices tell us pretty reliably and ahead of time about what is going to happen to real estate prices and activity, plus interest rates.  They can even tell us about what unemployment is going to do.

This week we got the latest update on U.S. housing starts, data which... Read More

Copper Priced in Japanese Yen

weekly Chart In Focus

A subscriber wrote this week with a great question: Does the long downtrend in copper prices portend a big collapse in China?

The truth is that copper prices as measured in dollars have been in a downtrend since the top in early 2011, so almost 5 years now.  The old belief in “Doctor Copper” being a reliable indicator of the future economy seems to have been abandoned a few years ago, since copper prices have continued lower but GDP has not turned down (yet).  If copper was really telling... Read More

Nasdaq’s Rapid Pop

weekly Chart In Focus

The stock market rebound which started from the Sep. 29, 2015 low has been a lot more robust than a lot of people expected (including me).  The big-cap Nasdaq-listed tech stocks have led the way, interestingly leaving behind the smaller cap stocks that comprise most of the Nasdaq list. 

Because the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPQ) is capitalization-weighted, those bigger companies have much more of an influence on driving the value of the index.  Their gains have pushed it up close to a new... Read More

COT Data For Gold At Topworthy Level

weekly Chart In Focus

There has been a rapid movement over the past few weeks by commercial traders of gold futures to increase their net short position as a group.  That is a development which has importance for the future of gold prices.  

The data for this week’s chart come from the weekly Commitment of Traders (COT) Report, published each week by the CFTC.  Within that report, the CFTC breaks down futures traders into 3 groups.  That agency provides a full page of wonky definitions of each category, but here... Read More

Tracking Data on Police Officer Deaths

weekly Chart In Focus

We are told by news reports that there is “an epidemic” of killings of police officers.  That sort of report surely gets attention, and seems to have merit based on the individual stories about the racially-motivated attacks on police.  But is there really a trend?

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund tabulates on-duty deaths of law enforcement officers.  The numbers in the chart above are raw numbers for all deaths from all causes, including accidents as well as assaults. ... Read More

Daily Timing Chart


11/25/2015 IssuesVolume(000s)
McC OSC 64.288 24492
Sum Index 1714.556 -237899

More Data

The McClellan Oscillator


OscillatorCreated 1969, the McClellan Oscillator is recognized by technical analysts as the essential tool for measuring acceleration in the stock market. Using advance-decline statistics, it gives overbought and oversold indications, divergences, and measurements of the power of a move.