With signs of an industrial slowdown appearing all around us, it’s time to take a step back and examine the big picture.

We know that a slew of companies served notice of slowing demand in short-cycle industries in the last quarter. But is that the start of a lengthy downtrend, or is it just a sentiment-led pause? Let’s take a look at some important data points that investors can use to gauge what’s going on.

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1. Caterpillar: A font of monthly sales data

Everyone knows that company quarterly earnings reports contain a wealth of useful data and commentary, but some companies also report monthly sales data. Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) will release its retail sales figures in the middle of the month.

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