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“Economists and journalists may freak-out about the shape of the yield curve, but the people in charge of corporate budgets are not worried about an imminent recession,” Deluard said. “Similarly, uses of the words ‘liquidity,’ ‘default’ and ‘volatility,’ which had spiked well before the start of the great financial crisis, have been on a steady downtrend.”

In the end, Deluard realizes that his approach could be vastly improved upon. One idea he has is to combine word counts with a positive or negative characterization of its tone — something known as sentiment analysis.

Once this tall task is fulfilled, Deluard says, the method could have three possible applications: market timing, sector rotation, and stock picking. And while he acknowledges he’s probably not the person who will fully crack the code, his work thus far has laid a strong foundation.