From CNBC.com, this interesting chart, which graphs the amount of laughter -- as reported in the minutes -- during meetings of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee:
The laughter kept building, even as the housing crisis got worse:
History shows they may have been laughing a bit too hard.
In what may be the strangest market indicator ever, a blogger found that the amount of laughter recorded in the official transcripts of Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meetings from 2000 to 2006 correlates almost perfectly with the rise in housing prices taking place at the time.
A particular series of side-splitting meetings by the central bank in 2006 marked the very top of the housing bubble.
It comes from a site called The Daily Stag Hunt. The research is theirs. Of course, FOMC minutes aren't released until weeks after the meeting, so it's impossible to use this new indicator -- the hilarity reverse index -- to make any money. It's probably enough to realize that if they're laughing now, you won't be soon.