Our Top 10 Most Popular AP Charts & Analysis Articles of 2021

We conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read AP Charts & Analysis articles over the past 12 months. These are updated frequently depending on the release of data, but in 2021, these were the most popular topics.

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In decreasing order, based on the number of pageviews, those are:

  1. Margin Debt, updated monthly

by Jill Mislinski

Margin debt reached record highs in 2021. This monthly update examines the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter. Margin debt data through December 2017 is from NYSE and FINRA margin debt data after that.

  1. Market Cap to GDP/ Buffett Indicator

by Jill Mislinski, updated monthly

The "Buffett Indicator" also saw record highs in 2021 - for those who are unfamiliar, Market Cap to GDP is a long-term indicator that uses GDP and the Z.1 Federal Financial Accounts ("Nonfinancial Corporate Business; Corporate Equities") to value the market at any given time.

  1. Market Valuation Overview

by Jill Mislinski, updated monthly

We compare four major market valuation indicators monthly to gauge the current climate. These include the Crestmont Research P/E Ratio, The P/E 10, the Q-Ratio, and the S&P's Regression to Trend. Unsurprisingly, these saw record highs in 2021.

  1. Is the Stock Market Cheap?

by Jill Mislinski, updated monthly

The P/E10 is a popular market valuation method that uses the S&P's as-reported earnings and index monthly average to gauge current valuation levels. This indicator did not see record highs in 2021, but were still well above their long-term averages.

  1. ECRI Weekly Leading Index

by Jill Mislinski, updated weekly

This weekly index from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is meant to be a leading indicator of recessions. While ECRI does not make "market calls", they claim to have a good track record of calling cycle turning points and a "moderate lead" over cyclical turns in the U.S. economy. This year, the weekly index saw new highs and the growth index saw major shifts.

  1. S&P Market Snapshot

by Jill Mislinski, updated weekly

We track the S&P 500 each Friday and take a look at the week's movements. There were zero corrections and quite a +/- 1% fluctuations in 2021. Additionally, new record highs seemed to be a regular occurrence this year.

  1. The Q-Ratio

by Jill Mislinski, updated monthly.

"Tobin's Q" is a valuation indicator that estimates the fair value of the stock market using the total price of the market divided by the replacement cost of all its companies. Unsurprisingly, this indicator saw record highs this year.

  1. World Markets Update

by Jill Mislinski, updated weekly

Our weekly piece on world markets tracks 8 top indexes and looks at their recoveries since each of the last 3 recessions. It's interesting to look at the recovery since the very short-lived 2020 recession.

  1. Household Incomes: A Multi-Decade Perspective

by Jill Mislinski, updated annually

This popular annual article uses data from the Income and Poverty report released by the Census Bureau to analyze income brackets, changes over time, and median household income, and other variants. This year saw a decrease from peak income across all quintiles.

  1. Conference Board Leading Economic Indicator (LEI)

by Jill Mislinski, updated monthly

The Conference Board produces a number of interesting indexes, most popular of which is their LEI. This monthly article follows both the LEI and the CEI (Coincident Economic Indicator), both of which are composite indexes designed to signal turns in a business cycle. 2021 was a year of overall increases and record highs for the LEI.

Read more articles by Jill Mislinski