Sometimes you just know your dashboards are going to provide intelligence you'd rather not see. Such is the case with my “how much have I lost?” visuals now used for daily recessionary torture.
The data representing the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 and MSCI Small + Mid Cap 2200 indexes are downloaded from the Yahoo! Finance and MSCI Barra web sites, respectively. The analytics are the product of the open source R Project for Statistical Computing.
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The two graphs in column one detail the sad recent history of the DJ Wilshire 5000, first from its peak in 2007, then year to date for 2009. The ragged blue top left curve depicts the daily close of the 5000 from its high on 10/11/2007 to the present. The six dates on the horizontal axis represent five roughly equal ranges, including start and end dates. The left vertical axis details five equal ranges of native index values, while the right standardizes at 100 as a starting point. The better-behaved brown plot is actually a smoothing spline fit to the data that distinguishes the forest from the day-to-day trees. The green horizontal line shows the index high water mark for the period; the red line the low water mark. The soft gray lines indicate index values at the beginning and end of the measurement periods. For the top graphs on both the left and right, the peak and start are one and the same.
From its high of 15819, the Wilshire 5000 declined to 6858, a loss of 57%, before starting a comeback. It's now off more than 40% from peak. Initially down 25% in 2009, the Wilshire has since “recovered” to near its starting point. The MSCI Barra Small + Mid Cap 2200 shows a similar pattern, albeit with a bit more extreme lows and highs, befitting its higher risk.
The R lattice graphics used to produce these plots combine a flexible out-of-the-box multidimensional metaphor with a powerful graphics programming language for visual customization. In tandem, they make R an ideal platform for complex statistical dashboards. Now if we could just get some better news to visualize.....
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