D) +18% Most would chose "D" -- at least that's how they vote every day with their money. The other choices don't seem to come from the same stream of similarly positive data. Investors and executives think predicting the future is critical to make capital allocation decisions. So important is the future that both investors and CEOs turn to outside professionals who are expert in predicting these future patterns. For investors, these seers are advisers, analysts, reporters, brokers, gurus, economists, executives and authors with expert methodologies to predict tomorrow's numbers. Investors then make capital allocation decisions based on these forecasts. For executives, these futurists are advisers, management consultants, accountants, marketing researchers, economists, statisticians and forecasters. These professional pattern predictors do what unprofessionals do: They predict the future on the basis of the recent past. Only they use more inputs and complex reasoning.