Dividends and Traders search for reliable, real-time oil data

There is a 1983 comedy called Trading Places starting Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy and some of the movie involves trading commodities and having access to information prior to the the rest of the traders. The desire for great information is as old as traders wanting to make more money. In the case of Trading Places it was about the weather, it the present day you have 24 access to weather from around the world and some of it you can use and other piece is weather.

In an article by Laura Sanicola of Reuters, Apple started tracking human mobility trends, capturing user activity in searching for directions on smartphones. Smartphones can and do reveal a great deal of data from you – where you go and have been; but traders are not worried about your trends, they are worried about the general trend. Are people getting out more? how far are they going? are they using more gasoline?

Traders in the oil industry initially salivated about gaining a new information source because it was closer to real time data. For Memorial Day the US Energy Information Administration noted gasoline usage fell 6% for the week including the holiday. That was not good news, because 70% of oil consumption worldwide is through vehicles. The problem with the Apple data is the information is based on the search rather than miles traveled.

Two other sources are Tom-Tom the global location technology company which monitors real-time traffic congestion in major world cities and the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank’s mobility and engagement index. That index tracts various mobility metrics including how far user devices travel in a day and how long they stay away from home. The figures are reported on a lagging basis. Apple’s information was real time.

Another source of information is GasBuddy which monitors fuel prices and transaction volumes at gas stations across the US and Canada. The Oil Price Information Service provides pricing on refined products.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, one of the things you do not have to do is monitor closely your stocks which you have chosen. If you are trading on information, the better information you have, hopefully the better decisions you make. If you buy dividend paying companies all you need to know is the company profitable and can it pay its dividends. If the answer is yes, you can rest and enjoy the dividends paid to you and think what will I buy in the future knowing patience is a virtue.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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