You Don’t Need a Satellite
There are often articles written about hedge funds using satellites to count cars in parking lots to predict a retailer’s revenue. It’s unclear if this is a widespread practice but there are easier and more accurate ways to predict revenue ahead of earnings.
A quick disclaimer before we start: I have only used this technique to build models to better understand companies and markets. I do not use this for trading stocks.
The majority of companies leak data through sequential IDs. These ID will show up on invoices, order receipts, shipment tracking and as user identifiers.
Many of these IDs (especially ones related to orders/invoices) have a direct correlation to revenue.
Here’s a quick example from a publicly traded meal delivery service I’ve been tracking. Their order IDs are sequential and they print them on the label of every shipment.
The number in the red box is the order...
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