or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 3/9/08

   March 15th, 2008 Brian Herzog

Stock ticker in Hong KongA patron walked up to the desk and asks for a resource that tells him how the world financial markets are doing.

At first, this seemed like an easy question. But after I thought about it a minute, I realized we don't have any print resources in the library devoted to world financial markets - just the domestic markets.

So, we tried a few different internet searches, and "global market index" seemed to yield the greatest number of reputable websites, such as:

Plenty of other websites referenced international indices, but I couldn't tell how reliable they were. Also, some only did currency exchange, but that wasn't what the patron was after.

The patron was happy with this list of urls, so he jotted them down to bookmark when he got home.

The financial world is still mostly a foggy mystery to me, so every time I do get a question about it, I try to poke around and keep looking until I learn something.

In this case, I soon found myself at the About.com page for Foreign Stock Exchange Quotes. Listed as one of the links on this page was Google Finance, and since I use Yahoo Finance for various things, I thought I'd check out how Google compared.

While searching here, I think it was me using the term "world" that led me to the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.'s financial statements. Of course I was curious, so I took a look, and here are some interesting facts from their 2007 annual data:

  • revenues: $485.65 million
  • expenses: $417.22 million
  • net income: $52.14 million
  • they paid $24.33 million in taxes
  • they also had a line item for "Research & Development" but no monies charged to it

Sadly, the reports weren't very detailed, so I couldn't tell how that $417.22 million was spent. Also sadly was their lack of research and development - but at least they had a line item for it. Now this was worth learning, wasn't it?

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