Comparable Log Scale

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Volume 20 – Comparable Log Scale

This unique chart format allows the viewer to compare different series directly. Each series is drawn on the same log scale. In other words, a 10% advance in one series takes the same vertical distance as a 10% advance in any of the other series.

The Comparable Log Scaled chart format allows the viewer to make an apples-to-apples comparison of several series. If one line bounces around more than another on a Comparable Log Scaled chart, you know that the first series is more volatile, not just drawn on a tighter scale. If an advance is steeper on one line than another on a Comparable Log Scaled chart, its growth rate really is greater.

Dow Jones Industrials, Transportation & Utilities, 1885
Dow Jones Industrials, Transportation & Utilities (constant dollar), 1885
Moody's Aaa & Baa Bond Yields and Commercial Paper, 1875
DJIA, Gold, and Moody's Aaa Bond (implied price), 1875
Silver, Gold & Copper (in US$), 1875
Silver, Gold & Copper (constant 1996$), 1875
DJIA, GDP & Gold (constant 1996$), 1890
Swiss Franc, British Pound, Dutch Guilder & French Franc, 1875
Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, New Zealand Dollar & South African Rand, 1913
NASDAQ, AMEX, S&P 500 and DJIA, 1963
3 month, 3 year, 10 year and 30 year US Treasury Yields, 1950
Gold Price in British Pounds, in US$, in Japanese Yen & in Swiss Francs, 1965

4kb GIF thumbnail of V20a, DJ Averages The top line is the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The middle line is the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

The bottom line is the Dow Jones Utility Average.

On this chart, a steeper line really does mean that the average is outperforming. From 1942 to 1962, the DJ Utilities outperformed both the DJ Industrials and the DJ Transports (details in the notes). And that is is without including the higher dividends of the Utilities.

This is a 4kb GIF thumbnail!
It would take
over sixty full SVGA screens to show the detail on one Topline chart.

The real charts look much better than these thumbnails.

Adobe Acrobat PDF file (116kb)
This file is a 600 dot per inch rendering of the March 1997 V20a chart. The actual charts have the edition and chart number printed in the margin (between the holes for the three ring binder)

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A logarithmic scale, or ratio scale, uniformly presents percent changes rather than point changes. In other words, the distance from 1 to 2 (100% increase) is the same as the distance from 2 to 4 (another 100% increase). A constant growth rate (e.g., 7% per annum) is a straight line on a log scale.

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Last modified: April 06, 2005