If you have had the great pleasure and opportunity to travel the Intracoastal Waterway you can see some very interesting things including wildlife, vast areas of wilderness, beautiful homes and more. For the passenger this is all good, but the captain is on a constant lookout for the waterway markers. On large posts in the water one can find waterway markers. These markers tell the ship’s captain he or she is in the Intracoastal Waterway. I have never seen them, but I am told that the Appalachian Trail has such a marker that a hiker seeks out alerting them they are still on the right trail. I must confess that even Gib and I have tied pink surveying tape onto tree limbs as we went into a swamp in the afternoon to duck hunt, so we could find our way out at night. These markers are key indicators that help the traveler know he is on the right track. Without them one could easily take the wrong creek, trail or end up in the wrong swamp. In the money management world we live in, there are economic markers that we are looking for to help us stay on the right course. We watch these markers to help us navigate the investment trail.
The first line of markers we look at to help direct our decisions includes the markers of corporate earnings, Europe and European Zone issues, Washington D.C., interest rates and the Federal Reserve. One of the biggest markers we look for is employment data. You can add to this consumer spending, housing, and a host of several other key markers. No single marker alone will set the investment course direction for us. We consider the data from each and weigh their importance to the whole, and then make decisions that best reflect what we represent.
Sometimes certain markers are more important than others, but regardless there are economic markers that each day and week we are tracking to help our clients meet their goals. In times of storms the hiker consults his map, the captain his chart, and be assured that in volatile markets we are focused on investment markers to help guide us and our decisions.