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
In light of the massive disruption to the economy, there’s a widespread view that things have been permanently altered, that fiscal policy must take a more active role in economic stabilization, and that the job of central banks will inevitably change. While this is a trendy thing to say now, the guest on this episode has been anticipating it for a while. Viktor Shvets is a Managing Director at the investment bank Macquarie Group Limited and the author of the new book, The Great Rupture: Three Empires, Four Turning Points, and the Future of Humanity. He explains how the old model of economic growth, which he argues widened inequality by being dependent on the growth in asset values, must give way, and that an attempt to return to to the pre-crisis model will be a disaster.
Aug 06 2020
For years, macro hedge fund managers have been stalking the Hong Kong Dollar. Since 1983, the currency has been pegged at around 7.75 per US dollar, and it basically has never budged from that. But that hasn’t stopped investors from taking big bets, with potentially major payoffs, that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority would sever the peg in some way. So why do traders keep making this bet, and is now the moment when it finally pays off? On this episode, we speak with Christopher Wiegand, the Chief Investment Officer and Co-Founder of Royal Bridge Capital, about the history of the Hong Kong Dollar, and the factors that have made betting against it such a loser over the years.
Aug 03 2020
With so many people working at home, bored, and with no sports to bet on, there’s been an incredible explosion of retail stock market trading. One service, Robinhood, in particular has gotten a lot of attention due to its free trading, and videogame-like appeal to young users. But how are they really making money on those free trades, and how does the economics of the business work these days? On this episode, we speak with Larry Tabb, the Head of Market Structure Research at Bloomberg Intelligence, who explains how it all works.
Jul 30 2020
The killers of Berta Caceres had every reason to believe they’d get away with murder. More than 100 other environmental activists in Honduras had been killed in the previous five years, yet almost no one had been punished for the crimes. Bloomberg’s Blood River follows a four-year quest to find her killers – a twisting trail that leads into the country’s circles of power.
Blood River is out now.
Jul 28 2020
Switching careers is always difficult. But former New Yorker staff writer Maria Konnikova did it in dramatic fashion. Konnikova decided that the best way to learn about the role of skill and luck in life is through poker, and so she decided to become a great poker player. And she made it happen, winning just over $300,000 in tournament play in a couple of years. On this episode, we speak with her about how she did it, and her new book, "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned To Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win”.
Jul 27 2020
With the virus crushing economic activity, local governments have had to cut spending and rely on Federal support in order to maintain basic services. But one town in Washington is also trying something else. Tenino, Washington has printed its own wooden currency to stimulate activity, and help out its residents and businesses that have been hit by the crisis. On this episode, we speak with Mayor Wayne Fournier about how he got the idea, how it’s going, and what he plans to do next.
Jul 20 2020
In response to the economic crisis, governments around the world have engaged in stimulative policies that might be characterized as “Keynesian” in nature. But what did Keynes really believe, and how did he form his own ideas? On this episode we speak with Zach Carter, an editor at Huffington Post, and the author of the new book The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy and the Life of John Maynard Keynes. We discussed Keynes the individual as well as his ideas and their importance today.
Jul 13 2020
Officially, the US unemployment rate stands at 11%. This is higher than the worst levels of the financial crisis. And there are reasons to think that the actual state of unemployment is even worse. There’s a wide variety of views on how to address this, but what about the government simply guaranteeing everyone a right to a job? On this episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Pavlina R. Tcherneva, an economist at Bard College, and the author of The Case for a Job Guarantee about what the government can do right now to end the crisis.
Jul 09 2020
The world has gotten angrier in recent years, and the coronavirus crisis seems likely to have accelerated the trend. So what does this say about the economy, and what does it mean for policy going forward? On this episode, we speak with Eric Lonergan, a macro hedge fund manager, and the co-author of the new book “Angrynomics" about his study of the emotion of anger -- why it exists, what purpose it serves, and what it can tell us about the future of economic policy.
Jul 06 2020
Central banks and fiscal authorities around the world have taken extraordinary measures to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis. But what’s proven most effective, and what have central banks learned over the last several months? On this episode, we speak with Hyun Song Shin, economic adviser and head of research at the Bank for International Settlements, about the new policymaker toolbox that has emerged and what more needs to be done.
Jul 02 2020
For years and years, the Chinese economy has been characterized as a bubble, with too much debt, and a history of badly thought out, state-directed investment. Yet, for all of the dire warnings, the economy has continued to grow, and there hasn’t been a reckoning. So why is this? Is it only a matter of time before things all fall apart? Such questions are even more urgent in the wake of the COVID crisis, and questions the stability of the Chinese growth model during a time of weakened demand for Chinese-made goods. On this week’s episode, we speak with Tom Orlik, the Chief Economist at Bloomberg, and the author of the new book "China: The Bubble That Never Pops." He explains China’s resilience, and what could ultimately come back to haunt the Chinese economy.
Jun 29 2020
Adam Neumann had a vision: to make his startup WeWork a wildly successful company that would change the world. He convinced thousands of other people -- customers, employees, investors -- that he could make that dream a reality. And for a while, he did. He was one of the most successful startup founders in the world. But then, in the span of just a few months, everything changed.
Foundering is a new serialized podcast from the journalists at Bloomberg Technology. This season, we’ll tell you the story of WeWork, a company that captured the startup boom of the 2010s and also may be remembered as a spectacular bust that marked the end of an era.
Foundering premieres June 25, 2020. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen.
Jun 25 2020
Nobody knows what the post-COVID future looks like. But there are some lessons to be learned from previous pandemics. On today’s episode we speak with Jamie Catherwood of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, aka the “Finance History Guy.” Jamie talks to us about what he’s learned from studying both the Spanish Flu and the Black Death about what this crisis means for markets and the economy.
Jun 22 2020
Chamath Palihapitiya is the CEO of Social Capital, the Chairman of Virgin Galactic and a partial owner of the Golden State Warriors basketball team. He’s also been an outspoken critic of the way the crisis and economic recovery have been handled. In April, he famously railed against the airline bailouts in a CNBC clip that went viral. On today’s podcast, he talks to us about how he would have handled the bailout differently, and why he sees a reckoning coming for powerful tech companies in the near future.
Jun 18 2020
In the summer of 2004, Google went public and, as everyone knows, it’s done phenomenally well. What’s less known is that a few weeks later, Domino’s Pizza also went public. What’s crazy is that the stock has performed almost identically since then. On this episode, we speak with Jonathan Maze, the Editor-in-Chief of Restaurant Business Magazine about how they delivered this incredible performance.
Jun 15 2020
One of the characteristics of the pre-crisis (and perhaps also the post-crisis) economy is the presence of very low interest rates, and financial asset prices that are expensive by historical standards. Of course, a lot of people are inclined to blame the Fed for this. But the real issue precedes the Fed, and in fact the Fed (and other central banks) are only responding to political decisions that depress consumption, investment and inflation. On this episode, we speak with Jon Turek, the author of the Cheap Convexity Blog, about how policies all around the world that suppress consumption and encourage exports are the real policy choices that lead to low rates and expensive financial assets.
Jun 11 2020
As many active fund managers have discovered in recent years, it’s extremely hard to find a sustainable edge in investing. But for people who put in hard work to discover opportunities off the beaten track, it may still be possible to find undiscovered value. On this episode, we speak with Burton Flynn and Ivan Nechunaev of Terra Nova Capital Advisors about their highly unusual approach to doing research. The two of them, along with their families, traveled the globe, spending a month at a time in different countries to find places to put their money. They explained to us why this approach was important, what they learned, which countries excite them the most, and how these markets are dealing with the COVID crisis.
Jun 08 2020
Welcome to Part V of the Odd Lots LIBOR series, in which Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal take a look at life after LIBOR, the interest rate tied to more than $350 trillion worth of financial assets.
For our final episode in our series on LIBOR, we look at what this particular crisis has meant for LIBOR and the transition process. We speak with Josh Younger, a managing director at JPMorgan, who looks at what LIBOR itself did during the worst of the market stress. He also identified specific ways that the market volatility may impede some of the target dates for moving off the benchmark index.
Jun 05 2020
Welcome to Part IV of the Odd Lots LIBOR series, in which Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal take a look at life after LIBOR, the interest rate tied to more than $350 trillion worth of financial assets.
It's one thing to talk about transitioning away from LIBOR, but it's another thing to actually do it. On the fourth episode of the series, we speak with Tom Wipf, Vice Chairman of Institutional Securities at Morgan Stanley, and the chair of the committee charged with sunsetting the rate. He takes us inside the effort to replace an interest rate that is entrenched in millions of financial contracts and tells us how it’s going.
Jun 04 2020
Welcome to Part III of the Odd Lots LIBOR series, in which Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal take a look at life after LIBOR, the interest rate tied to more than $350 trillion worth of financial assets.
SOFR is the Federal Reserve’s preferred replacement for LIBOR, but it’s not the only alternative reference rate around. On the third episode of the series, we speak with Richard Sandor, a serial innovator in financial markets, and the CEO at American Financial Exchange. He explains why he thinks his own proposed rate, called AMERIBOR, could be a suitable benchmark and replacement for Libor.
Jun 03 2020