As we head into a new year, I hear a lot of talk about the Federal Reserve bank and interest rates. Is there any way to see and analyze the same data these ‘Fed guys’ use to make major decisions?
Finally, someone asked! There is a great way and we have a tool that allows you to see all this data. I am referring to our Economic Data that is housed on the thinkorswim® platform under the Analyze tab. We encourage our clients to understand their portfolio using a top-down approach. By this I mean being aware of all factors that could affect a sector or specific company. Say that e-commerce is expected to take off in 2017 and you want to see if your portfolio is allocated to that sector. You can take a quick look to see if you have a good mix of retail stocks, specifically e-commerce retailers. Of course, you can chart the performance of these stocks, but now with Economic Data you can see how e-commerce is trending as a percent of Gross Domestic Product. This knowledge will give you a much higher level view of e-commerce and help you make better decisions about your retail stocks.
Back to the question, the goal of the ‘Fed guys’ is to control inflation, whether it be to speed it up or slow it down. Their most powerful weapon in this battle of inflation control is interest rates. For the past half-decade, these rates have been near zero. A rise in rates can have a big impact on the market and economy. The ‘Fed guys’ need to have a thorough understanding of the economy’s health so they exhaustively look at many different economic indicators. To give you an idea of how deep they dig, let’s use employment status as an example. The ‘Fed guys’ will analyze the difference between underemployment, unemployment, and long-term unemployment. Then, they compare this analysis with labor force participation rates and nonfarm payrolls. And to digress, yes, with thinkorswim all these data points (and about 400k more) are available for you to see.
My phone stores all my pictures and apps to the cloud. Does thinkorswim or thinkorswim mobile store anything in the cloud?
Great question. We don’t refer to our storage system as a cloud, but the short answer is yes. If you assign a symbol link to a color, the setting is stored on the server side. This allows you to easily take your analysis from your desktop to your phone, as the same symbols linked from a watchlist on your desktop will pull up a chart on your phone. Most other settings that are applicable across mobile and desktop are stored on the server for this same reason. Spoiler alert: This same server side storage will be coming to your drawings soon.