One of the things I like about the Case-Shiller indices is that they’re all based on a level of 100 at January 1, 2000, which by happy coincidence happens to have been a pretty “normal” time in the real-estate market, as such things go. A glance at any Case-Shiller release, then, gives you an immediate take on the cost of housing now compared to 2000. Rather than look at first derivatives or second derivatives, then, I thought I’d take a look at the absolute levels for a change.
Nick Denton says that Gawker Media’s revenues were 45% higher in the first two quarters of 2009 than they were in the same period last year; he also tells me that pageviews are up 40% June-on-June. Judging by his chart, profits (revenues less expenses) hit an all-time high this quarter, which explains why he’s started hiring again. (He passed, however, on hiring Bonnie Fuller.)
Jason Zweig has some eye-popping results from Elroy Dimson:
Based on decades of data from 53 countries, Prof. Dimson has found that the economies with the highest growth produce the lowest stock returns — by an immense margin. Stocks in countries with the highest economic growth have earned an annual average return of 6%; those in the slowest-growing nations have gained an average of 12% annually.
In the February 2008 edition of Robert Parker’s hugely influential Wine Advocate newsletter, critic Jay Miller gave a highly-coveted 96-point rating to a formerly pretty-much unknown Spanish red called Sierra Carche, a Monastrell-based wine from Jumilla. Given that most Americans — indeed, most wine drinkers — have never heard of either Monastrell or Jumilla, the rating was a huge boon for the wine, and directly resulted in at least one consumer, Robert Kenney, ordering several cases without having ever tasted the wine at first hand.