Goldilocks Word Count

Saturday, November 25, 2006 | 01:15 PM

There is a telling chart in Alan Abelson's column this week that might work as a basic sentiment measure: How often "Goldilocks" shows up in the Financial Press as a term.

"THE SIMPLE BUT ELOQUENT CHART that adorns these wordy columns was sent to us by an old friend. What it shows through the agency of a single line is the number of times the name "Goldilocks" has appeared in the financial press as a description of the investment climate. The line tracing that now familiar utterance represents a four-week moving average stretching back to the mid-1990s, when the term first became part of the Street's lexicon.

Beware_goldilocks As you can see at a glance, it has climbed sharply of late, in pace with the venerable Dow Jones Industrial Average, to an all-time peak. What does this unprecedented use of "Goldilocks" show? Apart, of course, from the verbal limitations of the financial press and the old reliables who are turned to for comment because they give good quote.

We submit that it's a pretty accurate barometer of the speculative atmosphere. For, in one important sense, the "Goldilocks" rationale -- that the economy is not too hot, nor too cold, but just right -- serves quite handily less as an explanation of the favorable action of the stock market than as an excuse for being bullish in the face of some obtrusive negative like excessive exuberance in the Street.

That certainly seems a valid way to view the recent spike in the "Goldilocks" count. For the economy, instead of achieving some magical equilibrium between overheated and frosty, is clearly beginning to cool and gets more vulnerable by the day to recession, as the housing collapse inexorably worsens.

But, whatever it may say about the speculative temperature, as the chart graphically depicts, a sharp rise in "Goldilocks" sentiment presages a drop in stock prices. Our advice to investors, then: Do flinch the next time you hear or read the word -- for it's a sharp reminder that it's not too early to be wary."

Barron's source used Factiva -- a resource that covers only Newspapers, Magazines and Newswires (not blogs or websites) -- but there are other ways to measure this Goldilocks phenomena:

A Google Blogsearch reveals 18,668 instances of the word Goldilocks in blogs

Google Trends shows a modest uptick in search (though its hardly a helpful or common search phrase) 


I'm sure there are many other ways to cross check this concept.

Any other smart ideas? Post 'em below . . .


Who Dun It?
Barron's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006 | 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack (1) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



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» "Goldilocks" Economy and "The Big Picture". God Adds His Comments. from mind quickie.
So in the spirit of misleading data, I will now show that the main use of the term "goldilocks" is associated with "The Big Picture". [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 26, 2006 8:58:53 PM


Does this chart take into account the 8 times in your post...? Goldilocks... Goldilocks... Goldilocks... Goldilocks... Time to Sell....


Posted by: ECONOMISTA NON GRATA | Nov 25, 2006 1:39:11 PM

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