How a fire in a small German town threatens to cause a worldwide car shortage. "When a fire in the small town of Marl in the west of Germany closed down an obscure chemical plant on 31 March, it barely made headlines." Now according to a recent IHS Automotive report, "shortages of the obscure component are 'likely to be serious.'"
Invented by Charles Dow in 1896, The Dow Jones Average ("The Dow") is perhaps the most widely known metric of equity market behaviour. Calculated as a price weighted average of thirty stocks, The Dow is generally eschewed by professional investors who prefer the broader S&P 500, a so-called market capitalisation weighted index consisting of 500 stocks. Regardless, proponents of the Dow claim its simplicity, long history and careful design as a reliable proxy of US economic activity as points in its favour. But can they now claim predicability as well? [more inside]