Did you know that there is an index designed to measure the St. Louis economy? You may have heard of the S&P 500 index which is a list of the largest 500 companies in the United States, and that watching the performance of this group of 500 companies will give you an idea of the direction of the overall large company market in the United States. There is a similar list of companies that attempts to represent the St. Louis economy; the Bloomberg St. Louis Index.
Bloomberg St. Louis Index Members
As of this date, there are 47 companies on the Bloomberg St. Louis Index. You will notice that while most of the companies are headquartered here, not all of them are headquartered in St. Louis, but they must have a large presence here. They also must have a minimum market capitalization of $15 million. Market capitalization means the number of outstanding shares times the share price.
Who is Bloomberg?
When I first started in the investment business, more than 20 years ago, Bloomberg was a company that provided news and research to investment professionals through a “Bloomberg Machine”. They were very expensive and only a few people in the firm had them. In the places where I worked, it was usually the bond traders, because the Bloomberg Machine was also the way to find out the bond prices and one way for bond traders to communicate with other firms. But the bond traders could also use the Bloomberg Machines to pull up news and the most amazing charts for me. Please remember, this was before internet and e-mail. My firms always gave me a computer with a subscription to another news and charting service called Reuters, but the Bloomberg Machines really had the good stuff back then. But now, because of the internet, Bloomberg is so much more. Everyone can get news and research from Bloomberg, which is the way it should be! And, Bloomberg still has Bloomberg Machines for the bond traders and they still charge investment firms for premium research.
What does the St. Louis Index tell us?
Looking at the St. Louis index can tell you if the St. Louis market is moving in the same or different direction as the rest of the US markets. The St. Louis Index has small and large companies on the list so it would make sense to look at the performance vs. a small cap index such as Russell 2000 and a large cap index such as S&P 500. It would also give you a sense of the cycles of the publically traded St. Louis companies by tracking the performance over time. With as diverse of an economy as St. Louis has, I would not draw too many conclusions about the overall St. Louis economy based on these 47 publicly traded companies. Remember as you drive around town, that many of the businesses that you see are privately held and not part of an index like this. However, it is another interesting perspective to add to your research.