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Investment bankers are constantly on the search for data. They're looking for clues about the economy's direction and closely monitoring the stock market and company filings. Any information about the financial markets can help an investment banker sense what kind of financial products will be in demand.

Because investment bankers are so focused on certain areas, it's especially important to keep a close eye on specific transactions. Trend information can be helpful when trying to figure out what companies and investors will need from their investment bankers in the future.

How to keep tabs on mergers and acquisitions

Two of the biggest money makers for investment bankers are buyouts and sellouts. When companies are on the hunt to buy rivals or other businesses, there are lots of fees for investment bankers to collect on. Luckily, there are ample tools for investment bankers to see who's buying whom.

One popular source for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) hounds is Mergermarket. The subscription service closely monitors deal making so investment bankers can see how active the M&A market is and try to figure out what companies may be in play and, therefore, in the market for an investment banker.

Factset Mergers, another subscription service, monitors M&A activity to keep investment bankers informed. And Dealogic, another subscription service, keeps in-depth data on deals so investment bankers can mine for trends and try to see what's next.

How to track the IPO market

Bringing companies public, and allowing them to raise money by selling stock to the public, has long been a cornerstone of investment banking. So, keeping an eye on what kinds of companies are going public and at what prices is a critical thing investment bankers should be watching.

A top source of IPO market data is Renaissance Capital; here, you find data on recent IPOs and in-depth and thoughtful resources regarding IPO trends. The IPO calendar is a listing of all the IPOs that are coming, and something investment bankers keep close tabs on; IPOScoop.com lets you track the IPO calendar.

Watching corporate profits

When companies are swimming in profits, they don't jump into a money bin like Uncle Scrooge. These profit-rich companies can, though, afford to do many of the things investment bankers would like them to do. After all, the companies flush with profit can entertain ideas of buying another company or investing in a new plant or expanding overseas.

Given that profits are what fill a company's coffers, investment bankers need to monitor profits closely. There's no question that companies provide full details on their profitability in their financial statements on EDGAR.

But investment bankers must also have an understanding of overall profit growth trends for companies at large. And S&P Dow Jones Indices maintains a treasure trove of profit data at. There, you can see corporate profit trends, using the Standard & Poor's 500 universe of large U.S. companies.

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