Brazilian Bikini Wax Watch

One day bikini waxes in Brazil will be the only economic indicator anyone tracks:

“We have one of the highest demands for waxing in the world because of our climate,” Siqueira said in a telephone interview. “We have summer all year, we’re always wearing bikinis and miniskirts.”

One community listings website in Sao Paulo, Sampa Online, shows more than 90 waxing establishments.

At the Imaculada Hair and Makeup beauty shop in Brasilia, owner Alessandra Rita de Arruda Lopes says she’s raised the price [of bikini waxing] to 35 reais ($21.63) from 30 reais because “all my costs are going up.” The average price of the depilation procedure rose 12.4 percent in the year through April, the national statistics agency said last week.

More here.


Annual Meeting? Let’s Announce Something or Another

New paper on companies behavior around annual meetings. Good fun.

We show that managers respond to the shareholder pressure by reporting positive corporate news before the annual shareholder meetings. Specifically, we find significantly positive average cumulative abnormal returns during the 40 days before the annual meeting date. The pre-meeting returns are significantly higher when shareholder discontent with managerial performance is likely to be stronger. The decile of companies with the worst past stock price performance exhibits average cumulative abnormal returns of 3.4% and buy-and-hold returns of 7.0% during the 40-day pre-meeting period. Companies with poor past performance exhibit even higher pre-meeting returns when shareholder pressure on management is greater, such as when institutional ownership is high, when CEO compensation is high, and when shareholders submit proxy proposals on corporate governance. We complement the evidence based on CARs by showing how managers of poorly performing firms manage the timing and content of earnings announcements and management forecast announcements before the annual shareholder meetings. Overall, the results suggest that managers attempt to influence shareholders before annual shareholder meetings through positive news.

More here.

No-one Reads Any More

The abstract a new paper on textual mining of 10-Ks:

We present a new approach in financial content analysis to determine the strength of various words in conveying positive or negative tone. We apply our approach to quantify the tone of 10-K filings and find a significant relation between document tone and market reaction for both negative and positive words. Previous research has not been successful using positive words to quantify tone. We find that our measure of positive and negative tone is significantly related to filing period returns after controlling for factors such as earning announcement date return and accruals, while the earlier approaches in the literature are not. In addition, we find that the appropriate choice of term weighting in content analysis at least as important, and perhaps more important, than a complete and accurate compilation of the word list. We find that the market underreacts to the tone of 10-K’s, and this underreaction is corrected over the next two weeks.

More here.


I Don’t Get It

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
– Upton Sinclair, in I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935)

USPS Dog Attacks Per Capita

Purely as an over-long-conference-call lark, I analyzed some new USPS dog attack data to come up with the top U.S. cities, per capita, in terms of dog attacks on postal delivery people. What’s up with St. Louis?

Dog attacks

Neanderthal’s Last Stand

There have been so many interesting developments in the last year in our understanding of Neanderthals, from breeding, to origins, to range. Here is the summary of some new work on their possible “last stand”:

The Ural Mountains site “may be one of the last [refuges] of the Neanderthals, and that would be very exciting,” said study leader Ludovic Slimak, an archaeologist at France’s Université de Toulouse le Mirail.

Neanderthals dominated Europe for some 200,000 years until modern humans began moving into the region about 45,000 years ago. The two human species likely shared space for a while, but it’s a mystery what happened during that period, how long it lasted, and why Homo sapiens prevailed in the end.

Previous archaeological evidence had placed the last known Neanderthal refuges on the Iberian Peninsula, home to current-day Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar. (See “Neanderthals” Last Stand Was in Gibraltar, Study Suggests.”)

“Not surprisingly, it was in the peripheral areas”—Iberia and perhaps northwestern Europe—”that Neanderthals remained the longest as discrete populations,” said Neanderthal expert Erik Trinkaus, of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who wasn’t part of the new study.

Day Trading for Canadian Dummies

Alright, I’ll admit I just found this book cover I ran across today amusing.

Day trading

Government Spending and GDP

While U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP has risen dramatically in recent years, it isn’t as high as it has been. I made that point to someone today who had been arguing that the ratio was at unprecedented levels, and that the government had squeezed out the private sector, etc.

I finally had to pull out the following FRED graph. It shows that we’re back to the mid-point of recent history in that ratio, and below most of the period before 1985.That shouldn’t be surprising given the post-2000 U.S. wars, and then the expansion of social programs after TWDSTGD (The Worst Downturn Since The Great Depression), but it does seem to cloud people’s minds (sic.).

Go Westward Young Population Centroid

Stored Data by Sector

Not entirely sure what to make of this, but interesting & worth knowing: Stored data by sector, according to a new McKinsey report.

Stored data