On Wall Street, much is made over the difference between leading and lagging indicators, but investors of all sizes are clearly prefer the former. It's part of the reason why this morning's weaker than expected first quarter GDP report was a disappointment, but not enough to send traders rushing for the exits.
''I think what it indicates is that the economy is sort of muddling along," says Martin Leclerc, managing partner at Barrack Yard Advisors, of the 2.5% growth figure for the first three months of the year. "It (GDP data) can create a buying opportunity or a selling opportunity, but what happens with the real economy sometimes doesn't translate into what happens with asset prices."
And since this is only the first of what will likely be three very different readings of the same data point, it makes it even easier for investors to get over it, so to speak, and stay the course. That's because the general idea that the economy is slowly improving from Q4's dreadful 0.4% pace, is still intact.
For Leclerc, a value investor who shops globally, the weakness in exports confirms a well established fact that things are soft overseas. But that's not always a bad thing, he says, when you're job is to find good companies at great prices.
"We like to go where the misery is and if the prices of assets reflect that, than that's a buying opportunity," he says.
For now, the bigger buzz amongst the GDP-gazing set remains this summer's data shift, which stands to make this quarterly event even more mystifying than it is today.