Standard and poorer

The definitive “Ask Maxim” question, I suppose, is “Are those real?”

Once in a while, though, something like this pops up:

“Is it possible for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to hit zero?”

Sort of reasonable answer, from the February ’09 issue:

“Technically, yes,” says Sybille Reitz of Dow Jones & Company, “but that means every big American business sector is bankrupt simultaneously, which is unlikely.” She goes on to explain the numbers of the Dow are “the total value of the 500 companies divided by a number meant to illustrate their past performance.”

Except, of course, that there aren’t 500 companies on the Dow: if you combine the Industrial Average, the Transportation Average and the Utility Average, you end up with a a Composite Average tracking sixty-five stocks. You want 500 stocks, you go to S&P.

So, is Ms Reitz, who is the PR person at Dow Jones Indexes (“indices”?), dumbing it down for Maxim readers, or is this a case of bad editing on the magazine’s part? Who can tell?

Disclosure: I spent much of the 2½ minutes of research time on this piece looking for a picture of Reitz. It was worth it.





6 comments

  1. Kirk »

    16 January 2009 · 8:08 am

    What, no link? You expect us readers to just accept your judgment that her picture was worth looking at for more than 1 minute, 15 seconds? That hardly seems fair, or in keeping with your style, Chaz! :)

  2. CGHill »

    16 January 2009 · 8:19 am

    You wound me to the quick.

    Try this PDF file.

  3. McGehee »

    16 January 2009 · 11:48 am

    Jeez Kirk, I found it with Scroogle in decidedly less than 2½ minutes.

  4. CGHill »

    16 January 2009 · 6:09 pm

    And if you didn’t like that one, scroll down a bit for this one.

  5. Charles Pergiel »

    17 January 2009 · 3:33 pm

    I’ve never heard of Scroogle. I spent five minutes not finding anything, well not quite. I did find this

    http://www.dealbreaker.com/images/entries/wsmith09.jpg

    but it has more to do with “Are those real?” than Sybille.

  6. Ben Franklin »

    18 February 2009 · 1:52 pm

    Did you ever write to Maxim to find out what’s up? I really don’t know how they could eff this one up so badly!! Come one proofreaders!!!

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