Wow, this really is Hi-Tech. Analysts are using Satellite photographs of Parking lots and derive market moving data using that. UBS Analysts have used this method for the retailer, Wal-Mart.
As part of a growing trend among hedge funds and Wall Street firms, Cold War-style satellite surveillance is being used to gather market-moving information.
As an example of how Wall Street getting in on this techhology, the UBS Investment Research issued its earnings preview for Wal-Mart'ssecond quarter, which publicly revealed that UBS had been using used satellite services of private-sector satellite companies to gather the comings and goings of the parking lots at Wal-Mart stores. “UBS proprietary satellite parking lot fill rate analysis points to an interesting cadence intra-quarter and potential upside to our view,” the report read.
UBS analyst Neil Currie had been looking at satellite data on Wal-Mart during each month of 2010, and he’d concluded that there was enough correlation between what he was seeing in the satellite pictures of Wal-Mart’s parking lots to the big-box chain’s quarterly earnings, that he was ready to incorporate that data into UBS’ report on Wal-Mart..