Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so random weekly walk through hot topics in markets, finance and economics.
South Korean boy band BTS is rarely connected to economics, but as the biggest success to come out of K-Pop, it arguably should be. On this week's episode of Odd Lots, we speak to Euny Hong, the author of 'The Birth of Korean Cool,' about how South Korea made cultural exports a key plank in its economic development strategy.
Jun 10 2019
Earlier this month, President Trump escalated the trade tensions against China by limiting exports of U.S. technology to Huawei. But what is Huawei, and why is this such a big deal? On this week's episode, we speak to Dan Wang, a technology analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, about the importance of Huawei to the Chinese tech industry, the specifics of what Trump just did, and the far-reaching fallout that we could see from this new phase of the trade war.
Jun 03 2019
Investors are often said to exhibit herding behavior when they follow each other into crowded positions — creating market bubbles that are susceptible to sudden pops when everyone begins stampeding for the exit. This week we take the analogy literally and speak to three professors who have created a mathematical model to examine why cows synchronize their behavior and — crucially — why they stop. Jie Sun, Erik Bollt, and Mason Porter, the authors of "A Mathematical Model for the Dynamics and Synchronization of Cows," extrapolate their findings to humans and modern markets. This episode is co-hosted by our resident bovine expert, Lorcan Roche-Kelly.
Oct 28 2016
Among the biggest trends in the world of markets is the rise of passive investing. Rather than pay high fees to active mutual fund managers (who often fail to beat the market), people are pouring money into passive strategies that track major indices, but with little cost. So what are the ramifications of this trend for investors who choose to remain active? On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak with Michael Mauboussin, who heads global financial strategies at Credit Suisse and is not just an expert on the world of investing, but also on the role of luck in success. As he sees it, trading is like a game of poker, and in poker you want to play against weaker, less-skilled players. But as more and more of those less-skilled players opt not to trade (choosing passive strategies) then the game gets harder.
Feb 17 2017
In developed economies, younger generations have faced stagnant wages, mediocre employment prospects and dizzying costs of homeownership. One culprit: The generations that came before. Policies that helped older generations recieve strong pensions and affordable housing have made life more difficult for the young. In this week's Odd Lots podcast we talked to Laura Gardiner of the Resolution Foundation about her new report on "renewing the generational contract" between generations.
Aug 22 2016
In this age of algorithms and quants, you hear less and less about good old stock picking. You know, like the style of investing associated with Warren Buffet or Benjamin Graham. But that doesn't mean you can't still dive into a balance sheet or cash flow statement in order to divine a stock's true worth. On this week's Odd Lots we speak to Aswath Damodaran, a professor at NYU's Stern School of Business, and the foremost expert on stock valuation. He explains his general approach to valuing stocks, and how he might use that framework on companies like GE, Tesla, and Uber.
Nov 20 2017
The stock market is currently in one of its longest bull markets ever, but that doesn't hold a candle to what's going on bonds. According to Paul Schmelzing, a PhD candidate at Harvard and a visiting researcher at the Bank of England, you have to go back more than 500 years (!) to find a bull market in bonds longer than than the one we're experiencing now. After bonds tumbled since last summer (especially since the election) there's a lot of interest in whether we're on the cusp of a major downturn. In this week's Odd Lots, Schmelzing walks us through the history of bull and bear markets in bonds and explains why we could see some gigantic losses ahead.
Jan 13 2017
Markets are at their most exciting when they're in a bubble. Spectacular fortunes can be made and lost in the blink of an eye. So how do bubbles form and end? On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast we talk to Scott Nations, the president and chief investment officer of NationsShares, and the author of "A History of The United States in Five Crashes." We discuss with him various stock market crashes and bubbles in U.S history, and what they all have in common.
Aug 28 2017
When it comes to millennials, the media has certain tropes that it likes to go back to. Millennials love avocados. Millennials aren't into homebuying. Millennials are always killing off this or that product or service. But what if the consumption lens is the totally wrong way to talk about this generation? On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Malcolm Harris, the author of "Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials," about what he says is a more useful frame for understanding the economic stresses millennials face.
Apr 23 2018
Matt Boesler, an economics reporter for Bloomberg, had the opportunity to report from Beijing for a few months in 2018. He shares with us his experience there, and what he learned from the opportunity.
Jan 28 2019
Plenty of people pay their kids an allowance to teach them the value of hard work and earning money. But our guest on this week’s Odd Lots podcast takes it to the next level. Toby Nangle is a fund manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, who also happens to be fascinated with the question of how money and banking really work. So rather than just give his kids a typical allowance, he uses their spending money to run monetary experiments. How do children react to higher rates on savings? How do they react to negative interest rates? What are the ramifications of his policies on his own internal household wealth inequality. In this episode, Nangle talks about what he and his kids have learned in the process.
Mar 27 2017
Dani Rodrik, a professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University, was writing about the downside of globalization before it was cool. The rise of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union and the expansion of nationalist political parties around the world has since given fresh impetus to the notion that globalization isn't working for everyone. In this episode we discuss how we ended up with 'hyperglobalization,' what the technocrats got wrong, and what exactly can be done to fix it.
Oct 21 2016
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have been tainted by protests, economic slowdown, and a massive political scandal. In this episode we take a look at Brazil's boom and bust as told through the prism of the country's elite. Alex Cuadros is the author of "Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country." He tells how a commodities boom gave rise to larger-than-life Brazilian billionaires including mining mogul Eike Batista, soybean farmer-turned-senator Blairo Maggi, and beer-and-burger-king Jorge Paulo Lemann. He tells us why 'Brazillionaires' sometimes argue over their place on public wealth rankings, what happened when Batista's Porsche went missing, and how Brazil's billionaires favor dead bugs in their decorating.
Aug 15 2016
A few weeks ago on the Odd Lots podcast, we talked to Paul Schmelzing, a Ph.D candidate at Harvard, who explained how the bull market in U.S. Treasuries could come to a screeching halt. This week we examine the other side of the debate. Our guest is Srinivas Thiruvadanthai, director of research at the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center in Mount Kisco, New York. He explains how a combination of structural factors in the global economy and massive levels of debt could depress interest rates on government debt for years to come. In addition to explaining why the bond bull market of more than three decades can survive, Thiruvadanthai explains what everyone gets wrong on how inflation occurs.
Mar 10 2017
In recent years, one of the easiest ways to make money in this market has been to bet on low volatility. Up until recently, markets have been exceptionally tranquil, and trades predicated on that tranquility continuing have made a fortune. But two of the most popular vehicles for making that trade, XIV and SVXY got obliterated in one day in early February. On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Pravit Chintawongvanich, the head of Derivatives Strategy at Macro Risk Advisors about the episode. He explains what the short volatility trade was, how specifically these funds operated, and how they ultimately became victims of their own success.
Feb 19 2018
The hit show Seinfeld is often referred to as the show about nothing, but maybe it's actually a show all about economics. Alan Grant is an associate professor of economics at Baker University and a proprietor of The Economics of Seinfeld, a website that catalogues all the ways the legendary sitcom imparts valuable economic lessons. In the latest edition of the Odd Lots podcast, Grant talks about what you can learn from watching the show, and the specific lessons of various episodes, including The Chinese Restaurant (a lesson in opportunity cost), The Contest (a lesson in time preference) and the apartment (rationing mechanisms and rent control).
Aug 29 2016
It's been 10 years since the start of the credit crunch that eventually led to the global financial crisis. For many investors, the events of 2007 to 2008 shook their entire understanding of how markets are meant to work. In this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast we speak to Mark Dow, a global macro trader and financial blogger, as well as a former economist at the U.S. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund.
He walks us through some of the most important lessons that investors should have learned from the crisis, including why central bank stimulus efforts haven't had as much of an effect on the real economy, and why oil matters much less to the world than it once did. We also take a brief interlude to learn how a macro manager analyzes U.S. jobs numbers as they come out.
Aug 14 2017
By now, almost everyone in financial markets is familiar with ETFs (exchange-traded funds), and how they allow investors to move quickly in and out of a basket of stocks with a few clicks. But perhaps people don't realize quite how revolutionary they are, and how much of an impact they've had on the financial system. On this week's episode we talk to Eric Balchunas, an ETFs analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence and Joel Weber, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg Markets magazine about how extraordinary ETFs are, how far they've come, and how they're about to evolve and get even more gigantic.
Oct 23 2017
All great civilizations eventually collapse. It's inevitable. So what are the signs of their demise? On the latest edition of Odd Lots, we speak with Arthur Demarest, a professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in the end of civilization. Demarest is an anthropologist and archaeologist who's most well known for his work on the Mayans. He tells us about his work, what he's learned -- and what we should be watching out for today.
Nov 18 2016
For centuries, markets were highly-personalized things, often controlled by select groups of people who traded based on long-established and closely-knit relationships. Closed networks -- such as merchant guilds in 16th century Europe -- could ensure trust between buyers and sellers by pushing out bad actors. But then, something happened that would eventually become the foundation of all modern markets. In the 1500s, new trade routes and the arrival of the printing press helped erode the power of merchant guilds and give way to a much more open system of trading where strangers could interact with each other.
On this edition of the Odd Lots podcast, Prateek Raj gives his theory about why modern markets first took hold in Northern Europe, and what this 500-year-old period of disruption can tell us about the world today.
Jan 15 2018
Iran's stock market is one of the most unfamiliar equity markets in the world. With Iran under stringent U.S. sanctions, it's hard to even find data on where Iranian stocks are trading. Then there's geopolitical risk. This month the U.S. killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani and Iran retaliated by firing missiles at U.S.-Iraqi air bases, sparking a sell-off in global markets. So what happened to Iranian stocks in this time period? On this week's episode of Odd Lots, we speak with Maciej Wojtal, who runs the only European asset manager focused on Iranian stocks.
Jan 13 2020
Americans are paying more and getting less for their health care than ever before. On the new season of Prognosis, reporter John Tozzi explores what went wrong.
Jan 09 2020
From Argentina to Chile to Lebanon, we're seeing a high degree of political and economic uncertainty among emerging market economies. On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak with Paul McNamara, a veteran fund manager at GAM Investments. McNamara explains why this moment is so turbulent, and what it will take to settle these economies down.
Jan 06 2020
The severity of the Great Financial Crisis took economists by surprise, particularly the ones who believed that markets were largely stable and self-regulating. So why did so many eminent thinkers get it so wrong? On this week's episode of Odd Lots, we speak with Lord Robert Skidelsky, an economic historian who is known for being the pre-eminent biographer of John Maynard Keynes. Skidelsky is the author of the new book “Money and Government: The Past and Future of Economics”, and he tells us why economists' failure to understand what money is has been so detrimental to their understanding of the world.
Dec 30 2019
When people think about Bitcoin, they often think about neo-goldbugs who hate inflation and the Federal Reserve. But beyond the financial case for it, there's a moral, human rights case as well. On this week's podcast, we talk with Alex Gladstein, the Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation. He explains why he sees Bitcoin as an essential tool in his fight for human rights all around the world.
Dec 23 2019
By this point, everybody knows that online dating is a massive phenomenon, reshaping the social habits of the young and the single. But perhaps people are still not appreciating the significance of it. On this week's podcast, we speak with Dan McMurtrie, a hedge fund manager, who has done significant research on the impact of online dating. Through his work, he has found huge potential ramifications in terms of family formation, economic development, commerce, and more.
Dec 16 2019
Many people like to claim that the Federal Reserve is responsible for the high degree of leverage and speculation in the economy. But the mechanism via which this happens is often misunderstood. On this week's episode of Odd Lots, we speak with Srinivas Thiruvadanthai of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center about how the Fed's goal of inflation targeting contributed to a massive buildup in private debt. As he explains, the approach to minimizing the volatility of inflation at a low level created a perfect environment for lenders, creating all kinds of other risks elsewhere in the economy.
Dec 09 2019
For years, defaults were few and far between in China's corporate bond market. Most investors thought that the Chinese government would never let companies — whether they be state-owned enterprises (SOEs) or private businesses — actually default on their debt. But times have changed. Defaults by private companies have been rising and there's even a question mark over the implicit government guarantee in debt sold by SOEs. One state-owned enterprise in Tianjin has proposed a 64% haircut for bond investors, in what could amount to the first de facto default by an SOE in more than two decades. On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast we speak with Jun Pan, Professor of Finance at Jiao Tong University, about her recent research examining what China's corporate bond prices are actually telling us about the health of its companies and wider economy.
Dec 02 2019
How do Millennials view investing and spending? How do the rising costs of healthcare, education, and housing affect their economic outlook? How does fear of climate change affect one's long-term life choices? These questions are crucial for understanding the perspective of Millennials as they increasingly enter middle age. On this week's episode, we speak with freelance writer Karen Ho about her perspective as both a member of this generation and a journalist who has covered their attitudes about money.
Nov 25 2019
According to the website The Hendon Mob, the top tournament poker player of all time is the American Bryn Kenney, who has won a staggering $55.5 million. In fact, he got there in just the last six months, having won $20.5 million at a single tournament! So how did a former Magic: The Gathering player vault to the top of this leaderboard? On this week's episode of Odd Lots, Kenney explains how it all came about.
Nov 18 2019
Back in September, chaos erupted in short-term funding markets, as the cost for financial institutions to borrow reserves soared. Immediately a major debate broke out over whether this represented a systemic problem for the financial system or merely a technical problem with the "plumbing." Things have quieted down since September, but the debate hasn't stopped. And there's still no permanent fix. On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we spoke with Zoltan Pozsar of Credit Suisse, who has a reputation for understanding the mechanics of these funding markets better than anyone else in the world. He broke down what really happened, and why we could see more craziness as soon as next month.
Nov 11 2019
Where did the notion come from that the obligation of a company's management is to maximize shareholder returns, even if it means pain for workers? On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak with Karen Ho, a professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, who can answer the above question. Unlike your typical anthropologist, she did her field work inside a Wall Street bank to discover how the specific culture of finance bled through to the real economy.
Nov 04 2019
You probably haven't thought much about the Taiwanese life insurance industry. Why would you have? But they're among the most fascinating entities in the financial world. And for a long time they've been a source of incredible mystery. They've built up a gigantic position in foreign, US-dollar denominated assets in order to fund domestic liabilities denominated in Taiwanese Dollars. But how do they hedge this currency mismatch? Nobody has figured it out until now. On this week's podcast, we speak with Brad Setser of CFR and Exante Data about how he and a pseudonymous partner finally cracked the code.
Oct 28 2019
Bloomberg's Travel Genius podcast is back! After clocking another hundred-thousand miles in the sky, hosts Nikki Ekstein and Mark Ellwood have a whole new series of flight hacking, restaurant sleuthing, and hotel booking tips to inspire your own getaways—along with a who's who roster of itinerant pros ready to spill their own travel secrets. From a special episode on Disney to a master class on packing, we'll go high, low, east, west, and everywhere in between. The new season starts Nov. 6.
Oct 25 2019
Can the U.S. economy have a recession without it turning into a crisis? In the old days, such garden-variety recessions were fairly common. These days, less so. But why is this? And can we go back to the old-style soft recessions? The issue, arguably, is that private sector balance sheets (both debts and assets) have grown so large relative to incomes, that the value of financial assets swamp effects from changing incomes.
On this week's Odd Lots, we speak with David Levy of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center about his new report called Bubble Or Nothing about how the economy works in a world of gigantic balance sheets and extreme risk taking.
Oct 21 2019
It's well known that Japan has (until recently) been mired in years of mediocre economic growth. And policymakers and economists use Japan as a warning for how developed economies can enter into prolonged slumps. But has anyone learned the lessons of Japan? In our latest episode, we talk to Richard Koo of the Nomura Research Institute, about his concept of the "Balance Sheet Recession" and why developed economies with lots of debt don't behave the way they do in textbooks. He explains how the lessons of Japan apply to Europe and the U.S. and what policymakers have failed to learn.
Oct 14 2019
On September 19, 2019, Odd Lots hosted its first-ever live event at the WNYC Greene Space in downtown New York City. With an all-star lineup of guests, the show featured convicted white-collar criminal Sam Antar, a panel on sovereign debt with Lee Buchheit and Brad Setser, and a discussion on MMT with Stephanie Kelton. We even had a surprise guest, SPY kid Kevin McGrath, not to mention two musical acts: country-singing economist Merle Hazard and a performance by Joe himself.
Be sure to check out videos from the event on Bloomberg's Markets and Finance channel on YouTube.
Oct 07 2019
Stephanie Flanders, head of Bloomberg Economics, returns to bring you another season of on-the-ground insight into the forces driving global growth and jobs today. From the cosmetics maker in California grappling with Donald Trump's tariff war, to the coffee vendor in Argentina burdened by the nation's never-ending crises, Bloomberg's 130-plus economic reporters and economists around the world head into the field to tell these stories. Stephanomics will also look hard at the solutions, in the lead-up to Bloomberg’s second New Economy Forum in Beijing, where a select group of business leaders, politicians and thinkers will gather to chart a better course on trade, global governance, climate and more. Stephanomics will help lead the way for those debates not just with Bloomberg journalists but also discussion and analysis from world-renowned experts into the forces that are moving markets and reshaping the world. The new season of Stephanomics launches Oct. 3.
Oct 01 2019
For years, China has experienced blistering growth. Driven by an investment-heavy economic model, this growth has limited household income while subsidizing business. This system worked extraordinarily well for years, but the system has recently been hitting its limits. On this week's Odd Lots, we speak with Michael Pettis, a longtime China expert who serves as a finance professor at Peking University as well as a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment. He explains why China must rebalance its domestic economy, and how its domestic policies helped contribute to today's trade tensions with the U.S.
Sep 30 2019
History is littered with collapsed civilizations ranging from the Maya to Angkor Wat. But what can they tell us about the world today, or doing business in it?. But what can they tell us about the world today, or doing business in it? On this episode, we speak with previous Odd Lots guest, archaeologist Arthur Demarest, often described as the "real Indiana Jones" and who is also Ingram Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. Demarest has recently been applying business management concepts to his studies of the Mayan economy and the civilization's subsequent collapse. He talks to us about what businesses can learn from these moments in time.
Sep 23 2019