A key indicator is a precursor to a potential shift in an over-arching theme in the market. As the economy is growing more interconnected, one can look at pieces of the chain to evaluate how strong or weak the overall structure really is. By looking at specific key indicators, this gives you a glimpse into the inner workings of the system. There is not one perfect indicator; many must be analyzed for relevancy in a dynamic economy. An example would be information regarding employment. Since consumers make up so much of the U.S. economy, if people have jobs or are getting laid off, this will have huge ramifications for many industries. For individual stocks, many analysts perform “channel checks,” looking at the supply chain to see if there are increasing or decreasing orders, as an indicator for final sales numbers. If the supplier to a big manufacturer is producing more products, this is an indication that the main firm is receiving more orders from customers and hence more sales.