Last year, Wal-Mart tried to thwart analysts from focusing on its short-term performance by ending the practice of reporting monthly same-store sales. No matter. Analysts simply turned to military-style satellite surveillance to grasp what’s going on in the aisles. Before the retailer released its second quarter results, UBS Investment Research issued a preview based on analysis of the number of cars coming and going from its parking lots, as captured in satellite photos.
Invetors are increasingly turning to outer space to make money on what’s happening down here on Earth, according to a report by CNBC. In addition to retailers, analysts are scouring images of seaports for signs of where global trade is headed. Meanwhile, one firm, Lanworth, compiles snapshots of farmland to determine how crops are faring. By relying on infrared and microwave cameras, the company says it can measure chlorophyll and moisture levels in plants, and predict where commodity prices are headed.