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Silly chart of the day, data-fitting edition

40% Higher? You Gotta Be Kidding!

Okay, the chart was floating around earlier but I was sufficiently skeptical that I initially ignored it. Now it’s popping up at some of my favorite sites, so let’s examine it, starting with the Bloomberg article. – Ilene

S&P 500 May Surge 40% in Duplication of Japan: Chart of the Day, Bloomberg 

By Alexis Xydias

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks are behaving like Japanese equities in the 1990s, meaning the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may return 40 percent in the next year, according to Bank of America Corp.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the Nikkei 225 Stock Average since 1980 and the S&P 500 during the past two decades, when adjusted for currencies. The Nikkei doubled between October 1998 and April 2000 in dollar terms, as the chart illustrates. The S&P 500 has risen 34 percent since March when the Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar against currencies in six major U.S. trading partners, is factored in.

A “melt-up” rally in the U.S. may be triggered by central bankers keeping interest rates near record lows, an economic recovery or an undervalued dollar, Bank of America strategists wrote in an Aug. 26 report.

“Even in economies overcoming credit booms, rallies can be powerful and last much longer than you think,”…
 

japangraph.jpg

Continue reading S&P 500 May Surge 40% in Duplication of Japan here.

 

Silly chart of the day, data-fitting edition

By Felix Salmon at Reuters Blogs

Paul Kedrosky finds this chart in a Bloomberg story: it’s the kind of thing which really reinforces one’s belief in the wonders of data-fitting.  [My emphasis, bolded]

The story isn’t actually particularly clear on exactly what the graph is showing, and specifically what “adjusted for currencies” means:

The Nikkei doubled between October 1998 and April 2000 in dollar terms, as the chart illustrates. The S&P 500 has risen 34 percent since March when the Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar against currencies in six major U.S. trading partners, is factored in.

So it seems that the BofA analysts who came up with this chart first converted the Nikkei to dollars, only to then convert the S&P 500, which was in dollars all along, out of dollars. Hm. And they chose pretty random start points: what makes 1980 in Japan analagous to 1990 in the US?

But the most breathtaking claim of all is right there in the Bloomberg headline: “S&P 500 May Surge 40% in Duplication of Japan”.

In other words, the people who came up with this chart are not saying that the US is going basically nowhere over the long term. Instead, they’re saying that there could be a big further rally in the S&P 500 over the short term. On the basis of the fact that the Nikkei rose sharply, in dollar terms, at the tail end of the last decade.

I feel quite safe in saying that of all the years to compare 2009-2010 to, 1999-2000 are probably not the most useful. And looking at what Japanese stocks did ten years ago will tell us absolutely nothing whatsoever about what US stocks are going to do now. No matter how many clever charts you come up with, or ridiculous justifications for the conclusions of your silly exercise in data-fitting:

Continue here.>>

See also,

If US Is Japan, S&P Will Soar 40% Over The Next Year

Courtesy of Henry Blodget at Clusterstock


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