An investor in Gap Inc. (symbol GPS
), for example, monitors same-store sales (sales from stores open at least a year); an investor in an oil-and-gas producer, such as Devon Energy (DVN
), looks at proven reserves.
Expect different rhythms: Machinery companies, such as Caterpillar (CAT
), do well when the economy is roaring, while makers of consumer necessities -- think Johnson & Johnson (JNJ
) -- tend to lead in a downturn.
How to Buy: Use the Right Yardsticks