Black Friday 2016 Fall’s Short with Consumer Spending

After smothered in gravy and filled with, Americans across the nation begin to plot their plans of attack for the Black Friday sales. Since 1952 Americans have kicked off their Christmas shopping season at major retailers on the Friday following Thanksgiving.

The fact that Black Friday also takes place on a Friday – duh – every year is perfect for retailers looking to drive long weekend sale deals because Americans traditionally have not had to return to work the Friday after Thanksgiving. The commercial holiday is a long way from becoming outdated.   In 2015, 90% of all Americans reported that they intended to shop on the commercial holiday.  However, with the increasingly popularity and convenience of e-commerce as well as the advent of “Cyber Monday”, which made its debut back in 2005, has possibly had a negative impact on companies’ sales revenues.

Reports from 2016’s Black Friday have rolled in and while more Americans went shopping this year in stores and online than in any other year in the Black Friday weekend’s 64-year-old history, American consumers spent considerably less.

Special offers! 10 percent off! Mega Deals! Are all familiar gimmicks that attempt to grab the attention of unsuspecting bargain-loving buyers. Price discrimination is a tactic frequently used by stores around the holidays. It involves the selling of the exact same product at various prices based on different buyers willingness to pay.

There are three degrees of price discrimination. The first, which is alternatively known as perfect price discrimination, occurs when firms charge different rates for every unit consumed enabling them to capture all available consumer surplus. The second-degree involves charging different prices for different quantities, including quantity discounts for bulk purchases. An example of second-degree is when a movie theater offers discounts or deals on snack bundles as a way of getting moviegoers to spend more at the snack bar. The third-degree means charging a different price to different consumer groups like cheaper bus tickets for children and seniors or negotiated gym memberships.

According to this year’s National Retail Federation survey – released the Sunday after Black Friday – approximately 154 million Americans went shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend. An estimated 108.5 million consumers shopped online alone. The numbers indicate a considerable increase, up from the 151 million shoppers that contributed to sales revenue in 2015. Average spending per person dipped slightly from the previous year’s $299.60 to $289.19. The fall in spending is somewhat surprising when taking into consideration wage gains, continued employment growth and a rise in consumer confidence as 2016 comes to its close.

The Friday deals are not necessarily the best offered throughout the year. The day is not geared towards the benefit of the consumers, but rather a device utilized by retailers to clear end of year inventories with artificial deals and storewide discounts.   Professional shopper and Black Friday Veteran Dan de Grandpre explained it best in an interview with the New York Times: “Black Friday is about cheap stuff at cheap prices, and I mean cheap in every connotation of the word.”




What to Expect, When Expecting a Trump Presidency – How to Invest

Since the results of the 2016 United States presidential election rolled in on Tuesday, November 8th there has been plenty of speculation regarding what a Trump Presidency will mean for the United States. Issues regarding foreign policy, the environment, women’s rights, healthcare and so on were widely debated and contentious topics leading up to the election. One issue in particular – the US economy — is a burning question that’s left many Americans wondering who will benefit from President-Elect Trump’s economic plan.

Brexit and the subsequent economic implications including the devaluation of the British pound seemed almost like a harbinger or warning call of what the Armageddon-like results of 2016 would be like if Donald Trump won the election. In the days following the November 8th result the stock market responded in a way that left many economists, political pundits and speculators curious to say the least. The early stock market response was overly positive with the DOW, Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 spiking up considerably in the morning after the election and continuing to show positive trends. But what exactly elicited such a positive response from the markets, which all seemed to signal economic victory?

Some experts believe that it may have to do with the Trump administrations promise to cut regulations, a vow to dismantle the Dodd-Frank financial reform, and the corporate tax rate, a move that would benefit the private sector tremendously. The “Trump-ed up” trickle down economics that Hillary oh so cleverly coined during the debates, refers to his plans to cut corporate taxes, from a top rate of 35 percent down to 15 percent; in addition, cutting taxes on America’s wealthiest from 40 to now 33 percent for top rates.

Others believe that the results motivated investors to pour money into major construction and engineering stocks in anticipation of a Trump stimulus package for America’s infrastructure that would include major improvements to roads, bridges, telecommunication, public transportation, “world-class” airports, security and utilities while simultaneously creating new jobs and higher wages.

“For the U.S. domestic economy, the obvious winners are infrastructure, with a focus on roads, bridges, and airports,” said Mark Burgess, global head of equities at fund company Columbia Threadneedle Investments (Dieterich).

Burgess’s reasoning would explain why the DOW, Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 companies dealing primarily with industrial materials and services have experienced continued growth in stock values since November.


“A Goldman Sachs report cautioned that the new U.S. infrastructure spending — which Trump has put at from $500 billion to $1 trillion — would not begin until the third quarter of 2017. Moreover, the price tag is a combination of private and public money, so the scope of Trump’s plan depends on how he counts,” (Mufson).

With all this in mind the question remains, where should we invest? In order to answer this question, it is important to first take a look at the President-Elect’s economic plan. While Trump’s plan could change at the drop of a hat as soon as he enters the Oval, analyzing his current proposal is one of the first steps prior to making investments.

Trump’s vision includes the creation of a dynamic booming economy with 25 million new jobs over the next decade. Trump believes that under his presidency there will be a 3.5 percent growth per year on average. Creating all of these new jobs will result from the Trump energy policy, which he plans to “unleash” as soon as he takes office. The energy policy main objective is to make the US entirely energy independent and in doing so create millions of new jobs and protecting clean and clean water. One of the main problems that has been cited with this plan though is that Trump wants to focus all of this energy plan’s efforts on coal, oil, and natural gasses – all of which contribute to pollution and directly contradict the Paris Climate change agreement. Shifting the focus away from environmental protections and issues could mean an overall increase in drilling everywhere, especially Federal land holdings:

“Lifting unnecessary restrictions on all sources of American energy (such as coal and onshore and offshore oil and gas) will (a) increase GDP by more than $100 billion annually, add over 500,000 new jobs annually, and increase annual wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years; (b) increase federal, state, and local tax revenues by almost $6 trillion over 4 decades; and (c) increase total economic activity by more than $20 trillion over the next 40 years,” (

The energy policy could mean big returns on energy investments. The big American oil companies, Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX), will undoubtedly benefit from a pro-oil and natural gas administration. Companies dealing with energy infrastructure should also be given a closer look. Making federal land readily available and investing less in alternative clean energy would drastically support big oil in general. The appointment of Scott Pruitt, former Oklahoma attorney general, to President-elect Trump’s to run the Environmental Protection Agency is a clear signal that the Trump administration plans to shift energy policy’s attention away from clean and renewable energy. Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, is already noted as being a climate change denialist. During his time as Oklahoma’s attorney general, he fought vehemently against President Obama’s climate change policies battling on behalf of the coal industry. In fact, as Oklahoma’s top prosecutor Pruitt went so far as to sue the EPA. The appointment, while bleak does spell out good news for the fossil fuels industry and those who wish to invest their assets in the same companies that gave Pruitt under the counter campaign contributions.

The energy policy makes a stipulation that under a Trump administration the President-Elect would like to see the US become the world’s leader in energy technologies including nuclear power.   A company like BWX Technologies (BWXT), which specializes in energy infrastructure –more specifically nuclear energy technology – with a large government, services and facilities management division could see a rise in stock earnings over the next few years. The day of the election BWX Technologies stock traded at 36.63 before spiking up the next day to 39.54, with continued growth since the election and a 5-year record high on November, 25th at 40.52.

“Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald recently predicted that there would be a “violent increase” in uranium prices at some point, theorizing that as much as 80 percent of the uranium market might be uncovered in terms of supply by 2025, and that demand would by then outstrip supply,” (Stafford).

Beyond the infrastructure and energy sectors, there are several top industries that will be impacted by the upcoming Presidential administration. Defense  will be huge, YUGE! Trump has already indicated that he wishes to expand the size of the Army and Marine Corps dramatically, build new vessels for the Navy and jets for the Air Force, all while modernizing the US’s nuclear arsenal. Lockhead Martin (LMT), Raytheon (RTN), General Dynamics (GD), and BAE Systems (BA), are just a few of the big name defense stocks that have enjoyed growth in investments following last month’s presidential election. Trump’s rhetoric of slashing corporate taxes while beefing up America’s military was the perfect concoction for what resulted with investments in the defense sector.

“‘Trump’s win is good news for the defense industry, especially when coupled with Republican majorities in the House and Senate,” said Loren Thompson, a defense consultant who advises many of the nation’s top-tier contractors,’” (Heath).

Defense shares have continued to hold on to steady numbers and still offer new buying opportunities for interested investors. Lockheed Martin alone, experienced a 20-point stock jump following the election results and — as of December 7th — continues to hold on to a solid 266.38 valuation (Carson). Trump’s eagerness to increase the size and capacity of the military will directly benefit defense contractors like BAE Systems and General Dynamics, as well as helicopter and plane manufactures like Boeing.

“Eaglen acknowledged that “‘the major defense contractors are part of the establishment he’s railing against.’” But she said Trump does not really have a choice but to stick with them. “‘If he wants to show results, he’s got to live with the contractors he has,” she said. “‘You have to go with the production lines you have open,’” (Heath).

A conservative estimate of Trump’s promised budget has been projected at an additional $55 billion in defense spending. A question that remains though is where exactly Trump plans to find the money to pay his steep tab.

Speculative investments on defense contractors have run rampant in the past month. One company that drew attention, in particular, was Magal Security System (MAGS), the company responsible for building the infamous high-tech fences and walls along Israel’s volatile border. Magal Security System was also responsible for the erection of a massive separation barrier along the West Bank, which includes cameras, sensors, and robotic technology. The supposed wall that Trump plans to build across the US-Mexico 1,933 mile long border likely has something to do with Magal Security System’s uptick in stock prices. The company’s shares were up 24 percent from its 4.45 closing price on Election Day.

“‘We believe that the U.S. government is going to increase its security budgets in the upcoming years and definitely we look forward to take part in it,’” the company’s chief executive, Saar Koursh,” (Scharf).

If your consciousness has not already felt besieged by the possibly lucrative albeit morally ambivalent ways in which you can see investment returns over the next 4 — hopefully 2 — years than prepare yourself for the next industry that might be headed for an upswing. Private prisons.

It was only two months ago that the Justice Department announced a plan to abolish the use of private facilities for its federal inmates. The decision led to a correlated stock dip in corrections companies – an arguably rightly so.

Unfortunately, Trump’s win has revived the stock earnings of America’s controversial industry. While the President-elect has yet to mention any specific plans of private prisons during his presidency his Nixon-esque “Law-and-Order” candidate rhetoric has left many people believing that he will ensure and protect these private facilities. Investors are speculating heavily that the administration will require the private prison infrastructure to carry out its “feasible” plan fro a mass-scale deportation plan.
Two of the largest private prison companies – CoreCivic (CXW) and the Geo Group (GEO) – saw spikes in their stocks following the election results (Harlan).

Ultimately – though – our hot Cheeto President-Elect has a hot temper and trigger finger when it comes to shooting out tweets and absurd statements that have the power to increase and decrease the value of stocks in a matter of seconds. Just yesterday morning, Trump tweeted out:

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”

The problem with his tweet? Other than falsely overestimating the budget of the Air Force One replacement program by roughly $2.0 billion is the impact his words had on Boeing stock. The Boeing stock took a momentary nosedive before recovering by the closing bell. The event is just one example of how the reckless and ill-informed words of America’s soon to be leader could have dire impacts on the US economy and stock market.







War Crime to Business Model: The Bloody Business of Arms Trade


Armed conflict has been responsible for more than 231 million deaths in the last century. The nature of the arms trade has intensified this conflict (A.B., The Economist).

The line between the formal arms trade and the black market is entirely ambiguous. Lax enforcement has contributed to unfathomable human suffering and violence throughout the globe. Often there is a relationship between a country’s department of defense and major arms producers as well as a relationship between their intelligence community and illegal dealers.


The last figures on the arms trade, recorded in 2003, show that it is liable for 40% of all corruption in world trade. Corruption that is systematic and perpetuated by leading nations. In 2006, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair halted an investigation into the largest-ever arms deal, the al-Yamamah deal, which began under Prime Minister Margret Thatcher’s government in the late-1980s. The deal between the UK and Saudi Arabia was estimated around $7.4 billion in commissions paid on the deal alone. Mark Thatcher, the Prime Minister’s son, allegedly made 14.8 million as a broker on the deal (Castle, Independent).

Similar controversies and questions over corruption have been raised in the United States. For instance, former Vice President Dick Cheney, was the CEO of Halliburton before taking office. Halliburton [and its subsidiary KBR, Inc.], is a name practically synonymous with war profiteering, acquiring billions of dollars in new business thanks to non-existent weapons of mass destruction and U.S. noncompetitive government contracting-practices. Due in part to a consolidation trend during the 1990s, the company is one of the 5 largest firms in the US, which account for 44% of the industry’s market share. Not to mention that campaign contributions on behalf of private defense contractors are large enough to keep many lawmakers in complacent support of costly militaristic projects (A.B., The Economist).

After 9/11, private military contracts in the US rose from $145 billion in 2001 to $390 billion by 2008 under the Bush administration (Lawson).

Political will and greater transparency are viable conduits in reducing the corruption that lie within the arms trade market. The UN has attempted to do something about it putting forth a global Arms Trade Treaty [ATT] approved by over 150 countries in April of 2013. The treaty went into action in December of 2014 and prohibits arms trade that would facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It continues to grapple with the regulation of international trade of conventional weapons and countries like the US and UK, which both spend considerably large amounts on defense budgets, have failed to ratify the treaty.


The United States military spending, at $598.5 billion, accounted for 54% of the nation’s spending in 2015. That’s approximately $2000 for every US citizen, in one year alone. The US is also a top supplier of major conventional weapons trading 31% share of the global arms exports to ally nations. Arms exporters commonly only consider the impact of exporting on their own welfare and fail to consider the impact and possible negative externalities that may arise from trading with another nation. Other abstainers include China and Russia, major arms exporters and importers like Saudi Arabia and Egypt (A Killer Deal, The Economist).

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” – Former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower


Wars have a dirty habit of making companies and private interest groups billions of dollars. Maintaining a highly militarized defense industry will continue to remain vogue as long as there are profits to be made.



The economics of arms trade and arms control – University of Kent

Ameliorating California’s Drought Crisis with a Water Market

Ninety-seven percent of the world’s global water supply is salt water and of the 3% remaining, only 1% is available for human consumption. Economics is all about scarcity, and like any other scarce resoruce, water and water shortages can create investment opportunities.

The introduction of a water market in the United States – specifically in the western region of the nation, where demand is increasingly high and supply (conversely) is shrinking – could potentially aid water crises in states like California, which has a history of shortages and droughts.

In countries like Australia and Chile, where water-trading markets have already been implemented, water usage has decreased dramatically, while simultaneously curbing waste. There — of course – have been issues raised among critics, who view the trading of water rights as a privatization of water and an attack on the commons, whereby only those who can afford and are willing to pay for the commodity are given access to a life– supporting resource. These concerns can be addressed with proper policy making that will guarantee a minimum supply to households.


Australia has the largest system of water trade in the world. The development of the nation’s water-trade market came about as a response to severe drought and water shortages.  The country introduced its market in 1983 as a way of reallocating the resource to sectors that demonstrated the most need and productive use of the resource. Citizens are given rights to a share of the water that is available in the Murray-Darling basin, located in South Australia, annually. Instead of basing allocations off of a specific quantity, the shares system reflects appropriate amounts of water actually available in the Murray-Darling during a given year. Australia’s Market is highly regulated and operates on a cap-and-trade system that sets a limit on the amount of permits given to water extractors and irrigators and creates a market for the resource.  The first “pilot interstate water trading project” launched in 1998 and made the trade of permanent water entitlements possible.  Today, a growing number of temporary, usually annual, trade allocations take place through the use of electronic exchanges and third parties, such as lawayers and brokers.  Cap-and-trade is commonly used in environmentally minded economic policies as a mechanism for controlling the amount of impact on the environment. The European Union attempted an approach to controlling greenhouse gas emission via a cap-and-trade policy, but the program is generally regarded as a failure due to an over issuing of permits that created an ineffective system where there was no need to buy or sell the emission permits (Sky News).

The cap in Australia’s case is the amount of water available for use.  Water is distributed via water rights administered by the country’s governing body. For Australia, the system resulted in a reduction of waste in overall water usage because it accounts of yearly rainfall and shortages.  In years where the country faced particularly dry weather conditions or drought, the price of water rose but the number of trades off-set the rise in price: “People used the market to move water where it was needed – and valued – the most. Water-intensive crops such as cotton and rice were temporarily phased out as the water needed to grow them became more valuable than the crops themselves,” (Lustgarten, The Atlantic).  The average price of temporary water rights has for the most part flucuated between $10 and $85 a megaliter (Curran, Forbes).

The water market has essentially allowed the users themselves to make decisions – rather than political bodies — about water usage. In doing so, Australia’s use of water supply has created financial incentive for smarter use: “Farmers in an irrigation district that had porous dirt ditches, for instance, began to line them with concrete, saving millions of dollars’ worth of water that would have otherwise seeped into the earth,” (Lustgarten, The Atlantic).

Similar ways of reducing water usage and cutting waste could be utilized in agricultural regions of states like California. In fact, modern technology has been developed to cut water use by up to 50 percent, though farmers are not motivated to adopt these technologies because of the current water laws set in place. California’s state water law was established in the 19th century during the height of the gold rush, “based on the old miners’ code: first in time, first in right,” (Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek). This prior-‘appropriate water rights doctrine’ – now over 160-years-old – gives first dibs to the first person who takes a quantity of water from a source for “beneficial use.” In doing so, it gives that person the right to continued use of that quantity from the source, for his expressed purpose.  There is essentially a use-it or lose-it mentality that has de-incentivized users to conserve.


(Johnson, Grist)


The current market California operates on has had some success, but because of ambigouty in the out-of-date laws, it is hard for sellers to prove the water they are selling is legally there’s, which have left many potential buyers and sellers ambivalent about entering into trades. If water policies were modernized to reflect the current economic priorities via measures like the implementation of a water market farmers may feel more encouraged to sell off their surplus, rather than let it go to waste.

An additional problem raised by California’s agricultural sector is the economic out-put ratio of water consumption. Farms in the state consume 80% of water while only generating 2% of gross domestic product for the economy. While the agricultural sector is intertwined with other economic categories, such as transportation and warehousing and finance and insurance, which — to a degree –rely on the thousands of farms that utilize their services, there can simply be no arguing the disparity in amount of water usage in the agricultural sector (Ross, Los Angeles Times).

Water markets could check the use of water, shifting agricultural production toward higher-value crops and away from low-value crops that often demand higher amounts of water. Like in the case of Australia, rather than displace farmers by limiting access to available water, the water market could lead to a behavior change in the agricultural sector, especially in areas plagued with drought, by encouraging a switch to crops with higher-value and/or lower demand for water. For example, decreasing the amount of alfalfa crops, which require a large sum of water and can be produced in states with richer supply, while increasing the amount of vineyards and tomato crops, could improve the gross domestic product of the agricultural sector.

Clarifying water rights is a necessary step towards solving California’s drought crisis. Laws that are concrete and clearly defined will make trading water a whole lot easier because, in order to trade, stakeholders must first understand what it is they are selling. A state law passed in 2014 aimed at regulating and monitoring the pumping of groundwater in the state is indicative of steps being taken by the government to enact a regulatory body for the resource. However, these laws will not take full effect until 2040 (Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek).

In the meantime, improving the information about water availability and calculating how much can be utilized without harming the environment would paint a clearer picture of how the resource should be managed. Additionally, building a central regulatory system and repository of information could aid in the establishment of appropriate water valuation (Hanak, Public Policy Institute of California).

The state has already experiment with a cap-and-trade program to cut greenhouse emissions.  The program, which began in 2014, has efficitively reduced overall pollution and is on track to achieve 1990 levels by 2020, a more than 15% reduction from 2015 (Hiltzik, The Los Angeles Times).

California has one of the most extensive water-supply systems in the world and the largest out of any states. The infrastructure the state currently has is entirely sufficient for storage and supply of water to farms, industries and growing cities, but conservation – as previously stated — has yet to be incentivized. The development of ground water aquifers for conservation would allow irrigators to store water in times of surplus, just like a savings account, thus softening the strain placed on the supply of the resource during dry spells (Manning, Reason).



How to bet on the price of water

California has a real water market — but it’s not exactly liquid


The Art Market is Plagued with Irrational Exuberance


The art market is not unlike the stock market. The auction floors of Sotheby’s and Christie’s akin to the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, men and women gesticulating or waving paddles as prices for the commodity – the work of art being sold – rise. People speculate and they buy to sell. Buying up art has become a show of strength and capital – both monetary and cultural – for the world’s wealthiest people seeking status and future profits. The problem though is that art is not a commodity of quantifiable worth. The price of a Francis Bacon triptych – regardless of how beautiful or one of a kind it may be – is subjective and driven by what a buyer is willing to pay. Art does not have an intrinsic value like gold, oil or other traditional investments constantly being bought and sold on the market.

Speculation is ultimately the largest driver of the art market and has resulted in the distortion of art valuation, and like any market speculation leads to inflated prices and potential bubbles. The art market’s decline in 2009 is indicative of its vulnerability during times of economic turmoil; however, following the world financial crisis prices of art began to rise and inflate again with people believing art to be a safe asset to invest in when other markets are doing poorly (Segal).


Art is enticing because the gains that can be made in the short-term are much higher when compared to other forms of investible assets; and continued low-interest rates have made it easier for lenders to borrow more money, driving up prices as well. Since the 2008-09 global recession, the value of art has more than doubled since financial recovery (Helmore). The problem again is that art, is illiquid, it has no fundamental value and is driven by oligarchs that call themselves collectors. These so-called collectors are really just interested in turning a profit and thus the boom for art, failing to take into account issues of exposure to oversupply; because art, specifically contemporary art is essentially in endless supply, with a new Warhol or Koons or Hirst coming onto the scene. While this is all good and fine as long as people continue to be willing to pay these prices, there is no question that market has been overheated by the “irrational exuberance” of speculators.
Current trends of buying up art as an asset with the expectation that it will be worth more in the future mirror that of the dot-com bubble of the 1990s and the collapse of the housing market in 2009, the prices simply cannot continue to sustain themselves.








Movie Theater Popcorn Index


Patterns in consumer spending, which account for more than two-thirds of the economy, are most often the principal influence on both the stock and bonds markets. In times of economic downturn, both consumer confidence and consumer spending become diminished as people tighten their belts.

The 2008 US and world financial crisis that spurred economic recession resulted in a dip in consumer spending between a period of two years [2008-2010], according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

In 2009 US consumers spent 2.8 percent less, on average, than they did in the previous year. Expenditures essentially decreased across the board and entertainment decreased by 5.0 percent from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report from 2008. In spite of the overall decreases in spending U.S. box office sales hit an all-time high in 2009 at the height of the recession.

box office

Short-term enjoyment as a means of forgetting economic despair is not uncommon consumer behavior. In fact, after the crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression consumers flocked to their local theaters. This sort of escapist mentality was mirrored again during the Great Recession, with films like James Cameron’s record-breaking Avatar producing 2.788 billion USD in ticket sales.


ODEON Cinemas, the largest cinema chain in the United Kingdom by market share took this traditional consumer response a step further by observing trends in the company’s concession sales. Though not a perfect science the chart [below] indicates that while economic downturn may lead to more box office sales, dips in the FTSE – an indicator of consumer confidence – correlate to a decline in the consumption of concessions, more specifically popcorn for U.K. cinemagoers. The cause of these trends is obviously debatable but likely do to the fact that while people may be running to the cinema during periods of economic downturn, they are not necessarily buying up concessions.


odeon popcorn index

The Odeon popcorn index of economic confidence compares average popcorn sales per ODEON cinemagoer with the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index (FTSE 100 Index) of companies on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market value.

Rupert Gavin, chief executive of Odeon, tracked week-by-week popcorn sales and observed that sales of popcorn and the FTSE were not only correlated. At one point sales of popcorn were leading the FTSE.

Between June and July of 2009, popcorn sales continued to rise while the FTSE took a short drop, spiking up again by mid-July. This was significant because it meant that popcorn sales had the potential to predict future economic climates, while also reflecting current climates.

There is no way of knowing for sure whether or not movie theater popcorn sales will remain an economic indicator; however, at least for now they appear to hold a certain level of credibility for gauging the market and consumer confidence and spending.