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A signal of a security's or the broader economy's health. An indicator may cause a company's stock to rise or fall in price. Indicators can be technical or fundamental in nature. There are three basic types of indicator. A leading indicator occurs before an event or trend takes place, and is thought to be predictive. A coincident indicator happens at the same time as the general trend. Finally, a lagging indicator occurs after the trend is well established, and is thought to confirm it. See also: Signal.
A variable used to forecast the value or change in the value of another variable. For example, changes in the producer price index are used to forecast subsequent changes in the consumer price index. Likewise, some financial analysts believe a change in the money supply is an indicator of the direction of the stock market. See also technical indicator.