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Updated by Zack Miller on Nov 01, 2016
Zack Miller Zack Miller
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What are the best market indicators?

The best signals to help investors know which way the market is headed.


Big Mac index

Jan 14th 2012 | from the print edition The Economist's Big Mac index is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity: that, in the long run, exchange rates should adjust to equal the price of a basket of goods and services in different countries.


Is This The Best Stock Market Indicator Ever? As we all know, the key to successful investing is very simple: However, you enter a chaotic, fun-house world of uncertainty once you ponder the logical follow-up question: Investors desperate to solve this riddle have come up with solutions as varied as Fibonacci Analysis or the length of women's hemlines.

Skyscraper Height and the Business Cycle

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23 Keywords: skyscraper height, business cycle, Granger causality, cointegration Barr, Jason, Mizrach, Bruce and Mundra, Kusum, Skyscraper Height and the Business Cycle: International Time Series Evidence (December 8, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Auto Sales

Segment totals, ranked by Jan unit sales Top 20 vehicles, current month's sales -- per the Wall Street Journal

Retail Chain Stores Sales

as per the Redbook Research, Inc. data in the WSJ

Existing-Home Sales

Per the National Association of Realtors at

Pending Home Sales Index

Pending home sales via the National Association of Realtors (

TED Spread

Index performance for Ted Spread (.TEDSP) including value, chart, profile & other market data.

3 month LIBOR rates - 3 month T-bill rates = TED Spread

Book to Bill Ratio

Historical Billings from 1976 to present. Represents 3-month moving average dollar amounts of shipments.
From the Semiconductor Industry Association
If it's >1, positive as orders are greater than industry is able to fulfill

The United States Misery Index

misery index = unemployment rate + inflation rate

S&P | Oscillator

Standard & Poor's Short-Range Oscillator (Oscillator) is a market measure tool that seeks to determine whether the U.S. domestic equity market has been oversold or overbought. The Oscillator takes a number of related variable of trading data into account, tracks development according to several moving averages, which results in an average numeric value that is either positive or negative.
One of Jim Cramer's favorites

Dow theory

From Wikipedia: The Dow theory on stock price movement is a form of technical analysis that includes some aspects of sector rotation. The theory was derived from 255 Wall Street Journal editorials written by Charles H. Dow (1851-1902), journalist, founder and first editor of the Wall Street Journal and co-founder of Dow Jones and Company.

Baltic Exchange Dry Index (BDI) & Freight Rates

2/12/2012 Barrons: Baltic Dry: Not Washed Up -- News that the Baltic Dry Index is sunk as an economic indicator is much exaggerated. The index—which measures the cost to haul dry freight over the world's oceans—has merely run aground after getting hit with a shipping-market tsunami. Don't worry.


The CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX®) is a key measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices. Since its introduction in 1993, VIX has been considered by many to be the world's premier barometer of investor sentiment and market volatility.

How Waitress Economic Index (VIXEN)

As if it wasn't unpleasant enough, this recession comes with an info glut, all this economic data purporting to answer a simple question: Are things getting better? The answer is rarely straightforward. The numbers aren't just confusing. They seem to be measuring some other planet.

The hemline index

More suicides? Fewer male births? Less back pain? More laxative sales? Data points litter the landscape as economists, sociologists, psychologists and marketers examine the societal changes, big and small, trivial and traumatic, that accompany a bad economy.

Lipstick Effect

Tough economic conditions have triggered the "lipstick effect", with a rise in shoppers buying small beauty treats to cheer themselves up, retailers said today. The John Lewis and Waitrose partnership card has seen a surge in spending on cosmetics, creams and other beauty items in the last three months of 2011.

Building Permits Survey

This page provides data on the number of new housing units authorized by building permits. Data are available monthly, year- to- date, and annually at the national, state, and selected metropolitan area levels. The data are from the Building Permits Survey.

RBC Capital's Market Economic Sentiment Indicator

an aggregation of six popular economic sentiment indicators

RBC's Stock Market Sentiment Indicator

RBC blended six of the biggest measures of market sentiment to form one comprehensive market sentiment indicator

Put-call ratios

The following files contain CBOE Volume and/or Put/Call Ratio data. CBOE Volume and Put/Call Ratio data is provided for informational purposes only. The volume data reflected below may be based upon preliminary reported volume rather than cleared volume. CBOE makes no guarantee as to the accuracy of the data.

Earnings yield vs. Treasury Yield

Given the skimpy yields on bonds, the opportunity in equities has rarely been more provocative, at least according to one fairly reliable indicator, as my colleague Gerry Paul ably argues below. Despite the recent rally, investors remain wary of equities.