Can the number of good looking waitresses in a restaurant tell you something about the state of the economy?
Could Big Mac sales help you trade currencies?
They just might. You can check out The WSJ Guide to 50 Indicators by Simon Constable and Robert E. Wright for these–and a lot more financial forecasting devices.
Not all the indicators are as fun to research as waitresses and Big Macs. In a serious, but highly readable style, the authors introduce you to a wide-range of the most important portents of coming economic conditions.
The book does a good job of introducing a range of indicators–from macro-economic to micro-economic and from established to esoteric. There is the well-known Libor indicator, but there’s also, for instance, the aforementioned “good looking waitress”–or Vixen–indicator. Here’s how the latter works: Count the number of good looking waitresses–the more there are the worse the economy is.
Although, the authors also tell you that’s a risky trade and, depending on your marital status, a risky practice.