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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 (Wall Street Journal Guides) Paperback – May 3, 2011
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If you're in the phase of your life and your career as an investor where you'd like to better understand the economic news ... I'd strongly recommend you pick up, peruse and frequently revisit this book. --Inman News
"A short, sweet, savvy introduction to economics, indicators, and investing." -- Nouriel Roubini, Chairman and Co-Founder, Roubini Global Economics. --From the front cover
"I can't believe Simon and Robert have revealed the secret tricks that I've been using for years to make money on the markets. All of the hedge funds will go out of business!" -- James Altucher. --From the back cover
"Someone should have written this years ago," Brett Arends, WSJ -- --Customer review
From the Back Cover
An entertaining, must-have guide to the indicators most investors aren't following—but should be!
To make the best possible investment decisions, savvy investors know that they should pay close attention to economic indicators. But while most are looking at conventional barometers like unemployment rates and housing starts, the smartest investors are following the often ignored, sometimes curious, but always interesting indicators that offer a true sense of where the economy is and where it's going. They provide the vital information needed to beat the market.
In The Wall Street Journal Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter, Simon Constable and Robert E. Wright offer investors powerful new tools to guide them through the markets. Whether it's the VIX index (which tracks the level of anxiety among investors) or the Vixen index (which tracks the number of attractive waitresses in your hometown), this essential guide includes in-depth analyses of 50 valuable economic indicators, as well as what to watch for, what to do when movement happens, and the risk level involved in taking action. This must-have guide entertains and enlightens while offering essential advice on navigating the global economic climate.
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Simon Constable writes for the Wall Street Journal and hosts their afternoon "NewsHub" recap of the markets. Anyone who follows the NewHub will be familiar with his witty -- actually, kind of snarky -- commentary. He's sort of the Simon Cowell of the Wall Street crowd. His distinctive voice is evident in this book. His co-author, Robert Wright, has written extensively on business history and used to be associated with the Stern School at NYU and the Museum of Financial History in Manhattan's financial district, although he apparently now teaches at a college in South Dakota.
The book consists of 50 short chapters devoted to the indicators. Each chapter has a brief description of the indicator -- usually accompanied by a quote from an investment analysts on the indicator's importance -- a time series graph of the indicator, and a discussion of possible investment opportunities that might occur when the indicator is unusually high or low. Each chapter ends with an "Executive Summary" box that explains when data on the indicator are released, where to go to find the data, what to watch for, and so on. To anyone who follows the financial news even casually, many of the indicators will be familiar, such as automobile sales, durable goods orders, or M2. To most people, though, other indicators are likely to be less familiar, such as book-to-bill ratio, the Baltic dry index, and the Tankan survey. I'm a little skeptical about how useful some of the more obscure indicators will be to the average investor, but they make for interesting reading. The final (tongue-in-cheek) indicator, the "Vixen index," measures how attractive the waitresses are in your local restaurant. The more attractive the waitresses, the worse the labor market, because in a strong labor market these attractive women would be working at better jobs elsewhere.
All-in-all, leaving aside the somewhat overstated claims the authors make for investment strategies based on these indicators, this is a valuable little reference tool and should be, at the very least, a fun read for most personal investors.
I believe this book is a worthy read for new or experienced investors.