Measures of a country or a market’s financial wellbeing, especially compared to past measures, provide economic data.
Most of this data comes from governments or intergovernmental agencies, such as the EU. However, measures of industry or market economics come from market research and reports.
There are a huge number of attributes for this data; some based on countries but most provided by economic indicators. The main economic indicators are GDP growth rate, interest rate, inflation rate, unemployment numbers, government debt to GDP, balance of trade, credit rating, and population.
Additionally, there are specific measures: prices, taxes, employment, trade, business, and government data. Economists even measure consumer confidence and country health data.
All this data is used by governments and non-governmental organizations primarily. They use the data to diagnose economic problems or concerns and to find ways to improve the economy.
Some challenges to measuring the quality of this data include the scale of the category and the fact that some companies, industries, and countries may lie about their status. Thankfully, however, the fact that so many different indicators exist provides a chance to cross-check the data from any other source.
Beyond these challenges, though, the general tests of data quality remain: accuracy, timeliness, relevancy, completeness, and consistency. Timeliness, especially, raises problems since some financial indicators update daily whereas others update quarterly yearly. Standardization and cleansing of the data, therefore, is crucial.
Additionally, progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is accelerating, which is “arguably far more important than near-term economic data points,” Lee said.
But the two biggest reasons weakening economic data could have a positive impact on the stock market is that it puts more pressure on Congress to pass a larger fiscal stimulus package, and it also keeps the Fed in the corner of easy monetary policies.
“So you can see, ironically, [this] has positive implications for financial markets,” Lee said.
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