Rank #1: 58: Ignore Investing's Mathematical Underpinnings at Your Peril
What's the optimum amount of money you should bet on a particular outcome? The answer is dictated by mathematics, yet plenty of people still go against the laws of numbers and probabilities when it comes to investing. This week, we speak with Victor Haghani, CEO of Elm Partners Management and the co-founder of the collapsed hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, about the most important mathematical concepts for investing. We also discuss the pros and cons of quantitatively led finance.
Rank #2: This Is How You Know When the Stock Market Is in a Bubble
One of the most fascinating market phenomenons is the bubble. When they occur, fortunes are made and lost, and the full spectrum of human emotions, from fear to greed, are on display. But what defines a bubble exactly, and how do you know when you're actually seeing one? This week on Odd Lots, we speak with Harvard Business School economist Robin Greenwood, who has figured out the key characteristics that all stock market bubbles have in common.
Rank #3: The World's Foremost Expert Explains How To Value Stock
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.
Rank #4: 51: Why Everyone Is Freaking Out About Globalization
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.
Rank #5: Episode 2: Under the Hood of the $8 Trln Corporate Bond Market
(Bloomberg) -- It's definitely big and it might be broken. It's the bond market! The corporate bond market, that is. In the second episode of Odd Lots, hosts Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal talk corporate debt with Chris White, the creator of a Goldman Sachs bond trading platform and a longtime market structure specialist. We learn about the difficulties of shaking up an $8 trillion market that has so far proved stubbornly resistant to change. We also hear why White stopped calling internal meetings at Goldman, and discover the difference between "two-minute guys, two-year guys and 10-year guys" at the storied investment bank.
Rank #6: How Poker Explains the Battle of Passive and Active Investing
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.
Rank #7: Inside the Hidden Cycles That Rule Markets and Life
History, as you may have heard, has a tendency to repeat. But does it repeat in ways that are measurable and predictable? We speak with Peter Borish, a veteran investor and trader who is currently chief strategist at the Quad Group. His experience reaches back three decades to when he worked for the legendary Paul Tudor Jones in 1985. Throughout his career, Borish has studied cycles, looking for patterns in data and human behavior, to help him anticipate turning points in markets and the economy. He talks about his approach, the use of data, how trading has changed over the course of his career -- and of course, what he thinks about the market right now.
Rank #8: Two Researchers Explain How Quants Are Going To Revolutionize Long-Term Investing
When we think of computer-driven or "quant" investing, we often think fast moves, algorithms making buy and sell orders at incredibly short timeframes. So in theory, the likes of great long-term investors, like Warren Buffett, should be safe from the robot revolution. But maybe not so fast! On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak to John Alberg of Euclidean Technologies and Zachary Lipton of Carnegie Mellon, about their new research on the next generation of quant investing. Alberg and Lipton explain a recent paper in which they used machine learning to forecast the future fundamentals of companies, and the opportunity that offers in terms of beating the market over the long term.
Rank #9: 32: The Amateur Activists Who Took On The Foreclosure Machine
The Great Recession was characterized by a historic and gigantic wave of foreclosures all around the country. Left and right, people were being removed from their homes. But because of the explosion of mortgage securitization -- the slicing and dicing of financial assets that got Wall Street into so much trouble -- there was often a failure to do the proper paperwork required for such evictions. This week on Odd Lots, we talk to David Dayen, the author of the new book Chain of Title, about a group of activists in Florida who self-taught themselves to become experts on securitization and foreclosure law in order to fight back in court against what they argued was fraudulent activity.
Rank #10: 49: The Man Who Wants to Better Trading by Slowing It (Correct)
Brad Katsuyama has racked up oceans of newspaper ink since being propelled into the public spotlight as the protagonist of Michael Lewis's book on high-frequency trading, Flash Boys. The 38-year-old co-founder and chief executive of IEX, an exchange with a 'speed bump' designed to slow down lightning-fast traders on behalf of longer-term investors, won U.S. regulatory approval in June. In this special edition of Odd Lots, Katsuyama speaks with Bloomberg View Columnist Matt Levine about the next big steps in stock market structure. (Corrects episode number in headline)
Rank #11: The Millennial Generation Is Stagnant And Older People Are Part
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.
Rank #12: From MMT Advocate To Outspoken Critic
Cullen Roche, the author of the financial blog Pragmatic Capitalism, explains why he went from an adherent of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to one of its loudest critics.
Rank #13: 62: How The Biggest Bull Market Could Come Crashing Down
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.
Rank #14: The Incredible True Story of the Real Life 'Trading Places'
If you have any interest at all in finance, then it's mandatory to have seen the 1983 movie "Trading Places." You remember, right? Two wealthy Philadelphia commodity brokers bet on whether anyone, even down-and-out Eddie Murphy, can be trained to become a successful trader. What you might not realize is that something very similar happened in real life. In this week's Odd Lots, we examine the amazing tale of the Turtle Traders. In 1983, successful commodities speculator Richard Dennis took out a full-page ad looking for novices to train in the art of trading. His novices -- who did spectacularly well -- studied for just a few weeks and were dubbed his "Turtles." Joining us to tell the story is Michael Covel, who wrote a book on the Turtles, and Jerry Parker, a former Turtle who still trades using the same technique today.
Rank #15: Episode 5: 6,000 Years of Interest Rates
(Bloomberg) -- What better way to prepare for what may be the first U.S. rate hike in almost a decade than to tour 6,000 years of interest-rate history? This week, Joe and Tracy speak with NYU Stern finance professor Richard Sylla, co-author of A History of U.S. Interest Rates. We start in Babylonia, where Hammurabi codified the relationship between debtors and creditors, and end with zero percent interest rates in the U.S. in the 21st century. Along the way, we journey to the Roman city that pledged its public colonnades as collateral, learn why medieval French princes had such terrible credit histories and figure out why today's negative interest rates in parts of Europe really are a historical oddity. In other words, Odd Lots read a 700-page book on interest rates so you don't have to. (No, really, you should read it. It's a great book).
Rank #16: This Is What All Great Stock Market Bubbles And Crashes Have in Common
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.
Rank #17: Why Wheat is the World's Most Exciting Market Right Now
Financial markets around the world are stuck in a long period of low volatility and boredom. But one pocket is seeing some wild action -- grains. Spring wheat (a form of high-protein wheat grown in the northern Midwest) has been on a tear, alongside action in soy and corn. What explains the whipsaw? Joe and Tracy speak with Tommy Grisafi, a longtime trader who works as a risk manager at Advance Trading, a firm that helps farmers take advantage of financial markets. Grisafi walks us through the history of the market, how technology is dramatically changing things and why things have suddenly gotten so darn volatile.
Rank #18: 35: There Was a Huge Opportunity The Night of the Brexit Vote
In the runup to the Brexit vote polls were mixed. Some showed remain winning. Others showed leave winning. Nonetheless, markets, pundits, and bookmakers always seemed to be pretty sure that remain was going to win. Whoops! In this episode of Odd Lots, we speak to Mike Smithson, an expert on political betting in the UK. He explains how the markets got it so wrong and how, on the actual night of the vote, there were some huge opportunities for gamblers willing to take the right risks.
Rank #19: 29: How an Old-School Chess Shop Survives in Modern New York
At a time when retail sales are dominated by online behemoths like Amazon Inc. and big chain stores, independent brick-and-mortar shops are under growing pressure. Imad Khachan defies the odds to run the Chess Forum in New York's Greenwich Village. Here, chess fans can buy game sets or compete against each other for a small fee. It's an old-fashioned business model under assault by the digital world on two fronts as more chess players opt to compete online. We talk with Khachan about the challenges of running his dark horse-chess enterprise.
Rank #20: How Does The Chinese Economy Work?
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.