Alternative Data Newsletter – December 8th, 2016

Data beats opinion >>> your weekly update on the alternative data space

1. Dataset of the week: [x], a trade data provider, introduced three new features.

2. Geo-location data used to measure retail sales.

3. Lululemon Q3 earnings: Eagle Alpha signal proves correct. 

4. Google index suggested weak outlook for Finish Line.

1. Dataset of the week: [x], a trade data provider, introduced three new features.

Vendor Overview: [x] measures recent trade and industrial production indicators of each economy taking into account more than 25,000 times series and employing big data and predictive analytics techniques. Three new features were launched this week:

  • Sea freight analysis – our partner now sources data released by the Port Authorities of the world’s top ports which provide early insight into trade volumes. These figures will be updated on a daily basis using real-time monitoring of the port calls. USA, China and a few other Asian countries are covered with the plan to include more countries in the coming months.
  • Economic calendar and signals – a new calendar of releases centralizes recent and forthcoming announcements and matches them with our partner’s estimates. The best signals are highlighted.
  • Currency revaluation – trade indicators are now automatically updated when users switch to different currencies. These revaluations are implemented using monthly average rates.

Dataset Overview:

  • History: Since 2012.
  • Geography: Worldwide.
  • Delivery: API or CSV.

Use Cases:

  • Forecast trade balance and industrial production statistics.
  • Forecast currency valuations.
  • Gain insights into global commodity trends.
  • Gain insights into global trends for commodities and manufactured goods.
  • Provides supporting data for analysis of ports, shipping companies, railroads and other transportation stocks.

To learn more about this dataset email

2. Geo-location data used to measure retail sales.

Geo-location data collected from around 50 million Android devices was used in a working paper in order to measure retail sales. The authors constructed a real-time corporate sales index (RTCS) using consumer activity data collected on a weekly basis and aggregated to the firm level: “For example, a search for driving directions to a geographical location of a Walmart is counted toward Walmart’s consumer activity for the week.”

The authors then assessed the index in the following ways:

  • Quarterly sales growth as a function of change in RTCS.
  • Portfolio testing. The companies with the highest RTCS (top quintile) outperformed around earnings while those with the lowest RTCS (bottom quintile) underperformed. The difference between the two groups for 5 days of trading post earnings announcements was 3.4%.


3. Lululemon Q3 earnings: Eagle Alpha signal proves correct. 

On 22 Nov 2016, Eagle Alpha published a note on Lululemon highlighting the following potential implications: “Lululemon has seen same-store sales (SSS) growth decelerate since the beginning of 2016, and Q2 numbers particularly disappointed. Our analysis suggests momentum stabilized in Q3. Consensus estimates are for Q3 revenues growth of 13% YoY, slightly behind the 14% number reported in Q2. This revenue growth looks achievable.” Our report used search data, social media data and crawled e-commerce data to draw this conclusion.

Specifically on same-store-sales, our report highlighted the following: “We have also demonstrated a long-term relationship between our Search Signals index and same-store sales. The index was stable from Q2 to Q3, indicating SSS in Q3 similar to the 4% level reported in Q2.”

Search Signals: Search Data Suggests Stable to Improving SSS in Q3

On 7 Dec 2016, Lululemon reported same-store-sales of 4% and revenue growth of 13% YoY – both in line with our report. The stock was up 4.5% yesterday, and is up another 15% today.

To discuss the report with our analysts email

4. Google index suggested weak outlook for Finish Line.

On 5 Dec 2016, we published a note on Finish Line using Google Trends data. The figure below shows that our trends signal pointed to a strong uptrend prior to the August 2016 quarter when the company reported better than expected results.

However, the sharp change of direction observed in recent months indicates that Finish Line’s same-store sales growth is at risk or that management outlook for the February 2017 quarter may disappoint.

Finish Line is reporting on 21 Dec 2016.

To discuss the report with our analysts email


Schedule a teach-in to learn about alternative data in detail. The teach-in includes all the contents of the starter pack and a tailored teach-in that can include:

  • Overview of the 20 categories of alternative data e.g. geo-location, store locations, trade.
  • Discussion of the 6 stages of integrating alternative data into an investment process.
  • Discussion of the 9 top challenges integrating alternative data into an investment process.
  • Review how other buyside firms have approached alternative data.
  • Review case studies that demonstrate how to get value from alternative data.
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  • Legal and compliance discussion e.g. data provenance, exclusivity, web crawling.
  • Recruitment discussion e.g. types of people to hire, introductions to candidates.


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Until next week,

Eagle Alpha.