Leading Indicators
A Compendium of Revealing Stats
By Oliver Ryan FORTUNE reporter

(FORTUNE Magazine) - REDDER INK

$10.6 billion The "preliminary updated" loss for 2005 that GM (Research) reported on March 16. Partly because of accounting errors, that's $2 billion more than was announced in January. Says GM's online home page: "We have immediate opportunities for auditors ... apply now."

BLOCKBUSTER BOOKS

600,000 Low-end estimate of the number of copies of Alan Greenspan's memoir that publisher Penguin Press must sell to make back its reported $8.5 million advance. The book must sell roughly 1.9 million copies before Greenspan would collect royalties.

SAUDI STOCKS

$228 billion Drop in value of the Saudi Tadawul stock market--a 28% plunge--from its record high on Feb. 25 to March 14, when Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said he would invest ten billion riyals--worth $2.7 billion--to stem the panic. The market more than doubled in 2005 on the strength of oil prices, and its collapse was part of a widespread selloff in hot Middle Eastern exchanges.

BLACK MARKET

67% Minimum estimated share of all copyrighted material--movies, music, software, and books--currently sold in Russia that is pirated, according to the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

SOFT DRINKS

15,800,000 Decline in the number of cases of carbonated soft drinks sold in the U.S. from 2004 to 2005, according to Beverage Digest. The 0.2% drop, attributable to growth in bottled water, sports drinks, and ready-to-drink teas, was the first in the 20 years the market has been tracked.

SOURCES: (TOP TO BOTTOM) GENERAL MOTORS; TADAWUL; INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ALLIANCE; BEVERAGE DIGEST Top of page

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