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Sharpening My Trading Habits with FRED

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August 29, 2016
Photo by iStock.com/CTRPhotos

I recently bought my son the Scooby Doo Lego Mystery Mansion which ended in an epic mom fail when we discovered that the most coveted character in Mystery Incorporated was not included:  Fred.  Then we were forced to head BACK to the Lego Store to pick up The Mystery Machine set.  Did my son want the Mystery Machine?  No.  He wanted Fred and that’s the only set he’s included in.  As my four year old advised me, no capers can be solved without Fred.  And the same holds true for solving capers in the  investing world, but this Fred is the Federal Reserve Economic Database (FRED®). 

If you have a fundamental bias and your investment approach is top down, you need to have a perspective about the economy.  FRED is the database which can help you formulate it and now it’s easily accessible right from the thinkorswim® platform. 

You can review historical economic data from more than 80 different domestic and international sources. In total, there are nearly 400,000 data points.  If there is economic data that you are curious about, the odds are that you can now access it in thinkorswim. Production and business activity? Got it. Money, banking, and finance data? It’s in there. Employment and labor market info? It’s all yours! And the best part is that you can analyze all the historical trends in the thinkorswim charts that you already know and love.

This new feature is also intuitive and super easy to use.  I recommend viewing this short video which will walk you through it. 

As traders, we should all be focused on continuous learning.  I’m looking at this new release as a key way to sharpen my trading habits and become more broadly analytical. My goal is to learn one new indicator a day.  To keep me on track, I picked up a new econ textbook and started to  compile a personal watchlist of the data points that I feel will be most useful.  This scholarly effort is not only benefiting me, as  in the weeks and months to come, our team here at TD Ameritrade will be leveraging insights like these in the new educational content we will be rolling out to help you along your journey.   

Traders, be warned.  With so many data points to explore in this new offering, you could spend more time jumping down trading rabbit holes than the amount of time these youngsters are spending playing Pokemon.  I was  even able to find the Estimate of Median Household Income for the county in Maryland where I grew up.  That level of content and data is almost absurd.

I hope you find this new feature helpful  and be sure to let us know what you think. Reach out on Twitter or  via  email

Talk soon!

Nicole

@TDANSherrod