By Dave Fry, founder and publisher of
and author of the best-selling book
February 5, 2010
LYING WITH STATISTICS
In college statistics class the professor gave us a book with aforementioned title. It was impressive seeing how folks can mislead with numbers. It's something we see everyday especially from the government. Pushing a lot of unemployment (seasonal adjustments) into old data might make future reports better right? But it's misleading. Putting up an unemployment rate that's better than expected (especially with high continuing Jobless Claims) is just a function of how many unemployed people are dropping off the rolls (birth/death model). It's just more manipulative BS.
The markets were wallowing in red most of the day immersed in worries about jobs and troubles in Europe. But, markets reversed course led by a late round of buy programs beginning around 3 PM. Who would launch such an effort? Any number of trading desks, hedge funds and even our own government will stop at nothing nowadays to manipulate everything. You can't make this stuff up frankly.
Volume was heaviest yet for this correction period while breadth was negative on the NYSE but positive on the NASDAQ per the WSJ below:
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Friday was a doozie. It has to make you wonder who has the power to toss in a 20M share buy order to match some futures contracts at 3 PM. That's a couple of billion dollars in commitment. Who has that power? I won't answer that question but it should be pondered and will be.
Next week the economic news slows other than some inventory and retail sales data.
The following comes from
and may pass for the employment interview of the
Chief Labor Dept Statistician
which goes sort of like this:
Um, tell me yourself:
Hello, my name is Tommy Flanagan, and I'm a member of Pathological Liars Anonymous. In fact I'm the president of the organization! I didn't always lie. No, when I was a kid, I told the truth. But then one day, I got caught stealing money out of my mother's purse. I lied. I told her it was homework - that my teacher told me to do it. And she got fired! Yeah, that's what happened! After that, lying was easy for me. I lied about my age and joined the army. I was thirteen at the time. Yeah.. I went to Vietnam, and I was injured catching a mortar shell in my teeth. And they made me a three-star general! And then I got a job in journalism, writing for the National Enquire.. er, Geographic! Yeah.. I was making twenty thousand a ye.. month! In fact, I won the Pulitzer Prize that year! Yeah, that's the ticket. And then my cousin died - Joe Louis - and I took it hard. Maybe too hard - I tried to kill myself. Yeahh.. I did kill myself! Sure! I was medically dead for a week and a half! It was a woman that brought me out of it - Indira Gandhi! Yeah, right.. And she told me about Pathological Liars Anonymous.
Oh, you'd be surprised how many famous people belong. In fact.. at one of the meetings I met my wife - Morgan Fairchild! Yes, I'm a changed man now, and all because of Pathological Liars Anonymous. Why, I - I even have my picture on the cover of Newsweek magazine. Yeah. Every day! Yeah.. that's the ticket! Yeah, you betcha!
Let's see what happens and you can follow our pithy comments on
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Dave Fry is founder and publisher of
, Dave's Daily blog and the best-selling book author of
, published by Wiley Finance in 2008. A detailed bio is here: