BusinessWeek Graphic Distorts Real Market Action

by: TickerSense

In the February 13, 2006 issue of BusinessWeek, a story highlighted that stocks may be ready for another "90s-style bull market if the era of rate hike ends."

One point that the article tries to make is that since the Fed started raising rates back in June of 2004, stocks have been flatlining. Their point is accompanied by a chart of the S&P 500 over the same time frame, and at first glance, looks to make a case. However, their scale of the chart starts at 0!

During this time period, the S&P 500 is up 12.52% - hardly a flatline. Creating the same chart using a scale from 1,050 to 1,300, the flatline argument looks pretty dull.

Charts like these again illustrate the necessity for investors to read carefully and not just take things at face value.