WSJ By The Numbers - Top 10 for Oct.4

A compendium of revealing stats and the key leading economic and business indicators based on today's Wall Street Journal article and reports:

Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56.99 points to finish at a all-time record high of 11727.34, squeaking past the old record close of 11722.98 set on Jan 14, 2000. This last surge that began in mid-July, pushed the blue-chip average up 9.2% in less than three months. However of the 30 stocks in the Dow average, only 10 have surpassed their levels of January 2000. After surging 25% in 2003, the Dow was up 3% in 2004, and fell 0.6% last year.

From its 2000 high to its 2002 low, the Dow fell 37.85%. The Dow's 61% gain from the closing low of 7286.27 on Oct. 9, 2002, remains below the 85% average total gain for bull markets since 1900. The Nasdaq composite index has doubled since its own 2002 low, and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is up 72%. The S&P 500 would have to rise 14.5% to get back to its record of 1527.46 reached in March 2000.  (Dow Industrials Close at a Record)

Measured since the Dow's record high in 2000, most of the world's stock markets have done better than the benchmark U.S. average. The Dow Jones Wilshire Global ex-U.S. index is up 16.9% since the Dow hit its high in 2000. The DJ Wilshire ex-U.S. has gained 137% since mid-March 2003, while the Dow is up about 56%. Year-todate, Dow is up 9.4% while India (Sensex) is up almost 31.6% and Germany (DAX) is up 10.8%. (A Safe Haven for Investors?) 137%
September U.S. auto sales rose to 1.35 million, up just 1.9% from a year-earlier period, putting the seasonally adjusted annual sales pace for cars and light trucks at 16.63 million vehicles, up 0.7% from the pace of 16.52 million last September. Toyota sales were up 25% from a year earlier, even as GM and DaimlerChrysler sagged. GM's U.S. sales fell 3.1% from a year-ago period, according to Autodata. Ford managed a 4.6% improvement in September U.S. vehicle. (Toyota's U.S. Sales Stay Hot; GM Plans More Production Cuts) 1.35M
Autos
Mall-based department stores continue to lose ground to discounters. Even as overall U.S. retail sales rose some 24% over the past six years to $2.2 trillion, department-store sales declined nearly 14% over the same period to $86.7 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Department-store spending in the U.S. is forecast to drop by 5.5% by 2010, according to the research firm Euromonitor International. (A Mall Grows in San Francisco) $2.2 Trillion
34% of all jobs in Chicago are housed in offices, compared to a 23.5% national average, according to Property & Portfolio Research Inc., a Boston-based research firm. Office space sales activity in Chicago outpaced the central business areas of all other U.S. cities this year through Sept. 1, with 15.3 million square feet changing hands. That bested even Midtown Manhattan, where 13.2 million square feet were sold during that time, according to statistics from Real Capital Analytics. (Chicago Office Building Sales Set a Torrid Pace) 15.3M Sq. Feet
The nationwide vacancy rate for office buildings was 13.5% in the third quarter, the lowest since the third quarter of 2001. Meanwhile, the nationwide vacancy rate for apartments, fell to 5.4% -- the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2001, according to Reis researchers. Effective apartment rents jumped 1.4% -- the biggest leap since the first quarter of 2001. (Office Rents Climb at Fast Pace) 13.5% Vacancy
Public companies invested $35.2 billion in new land and land development last year, 36% higher than in 2004, according to a report by Credit Suisse analyst Ivy Zelman. Such investment is expected to rise 8% this year, the report says. (Land Values Offer Insight to Future Of Home Builders) $35.2B 
Land Grab
New figures show that more than 1,000 hedge funds have shut in the past two years, as competition has squeezed profits, setting up for its first meaningful consolidation of the $1.23 trillion hedge-fund industry. Since January 2005, a total of 2,622 new hedge funds have been launched, according to Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. But 1,071 funds closed during that time. About 300 hedge funds manage more than $1 billion each and represent roughly 90% of the assets in the industry today. (Despite Blue-Chip Gains, Hedge Funds Increasingly Are Faltering and Closing) > $1B 300 Funds
A survey found that only 13% of companies have started logging IM records and about 2% of employers have fired employees for something they said over IM. By comparison, 26% of companies have terminated employees for misuse of email, according to a survey on workplace monitoring by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute. World-wide, the corporate-messaging-software market hit $2.5 billion in 2005 and will climb to $3.3 billion by 2009, according to the Radicati Group. (Those IMs Aren't as Private as You Think $3.3B 
Corporate Messaging
Next month marks the fifth anniversary of one of the most successful products of the digital era, Apple Computer's iPod music player. Apple claims an astonishing 76% market share in the U.S. for the iPod and an equally amazing 88% share of the U.S. legal music download market for its companion iTunes online store. Over 60 million iPods and 1.5 billion songs have been sold. (The New iPod: Ready for Battle?) 1.5B iTunes

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