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The Monthly Retail data, which is released by the U.S. Census Bureau, contains several time series on retail economic activity in the United States. The data is obtained by the Advance Monthly and Monthly Retail Trade Surveys (MARTS and MRTS).
This object downloads two time series from the MARTS, which are the Grocery Stores and Food Services and Drinking Places.
The data spans from March 1992 to present for both indicators. The ticker symbol of the Grocery Stores is ^GROCERY_STORES and the symbol of the Food Services and Drinking Places is ^FOOD_DRINKING.
The Grocery Stores and Food Services and Drinking Places time series can be used to create an economic indicator called the "Pub Power" (http://econompicdata.blogspot.com/2009/09/pub-power-signals-buy-for-equities.html).
This economic indicator consists of dividing the food services and drinking places numbers by the grocery stores numbers and expressing the result in year over year terms. The idea is that the higher the index is the more people are spending money by going to restaurants and drinking places and doing less cooking. This translates into consumer confidence, spending power and wealth and therefore should be a bullish signal for the stock market.
You can display this indicator in a monthly chart using the following formula:
f1 = GetSeries("^FOOD_DRINKING", close, LastData);
f2 = GetSeries("^GROCERY_STORES", close, LastData);
f1 = ref(f1, 2); // Data is available with 2 months lag
f2 = ref(f2, 2);
a = f1 / f2;
a = ((a / ref(a, 12)) - 1) * 100; // Year over year percentage change