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The Pound weakness

It’s ‘time to get bearish’ on the pound again

Deutsche Bank has turned bearish on the pound once again, saying that any possible upside for the currency from next week’s election has already been priced into the market.
Writing on Tuesday, Deutsche Bank strategists Alan Ruskin and George Saravelos used their latest FX Blueprint note to warn investors it is “time to get bearish on GBP again,” after just over one and a half months of a positive outlook on the UK’s currency.

http://www.businessinsider.com…  Wed.,  31  May 2017

Machine-learning promises to shake Finance

Trading, credit, fraud: machine-learning is in progress

MACHINE-LEARNING is beginning to shake up finance. A subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that excels at finding patterns and making predictions, it used to be the preserve of technology firms. The financial industry has jumped on the bandwagon. To cite just a few examples, “heads of machine-learning” can be found at PwC, a consultancy and auditing firm, at JP Morgan Chase, a large bank, and at Man GLG, a hedge-fund manager. From 2019, anyone seeking to become a “chartered financial analyst”, a sought-after distinction in the industry, will need AI expertise to pass his exams.

Despite the scepticism of many, including, surprisingly, some “quant” hedge funds that specialise in algorithm-based trading, machine-learning is poised to have a big impact. Innovative fintech firms and a few nimble incumbents have started applying the technique to everything from fraud protection to finding new trading strategies—promising to up-end not just the humdrum drudgery of the back-office, but the more glamorous stuff up-front.

http://www.economist.com…  Tue.,  30  May 2017

Walmart’s online sales are exploding

Walmart Reports 63% Rise in Online Sales

Walmart’s (WMT, -0.23%) massive e-commerce investments are starting to pay off.

The discount chain reported on Thursday that U.S. online sales rose a staggering 63% in the first fiscal quarter of the year, following last year’s overhaul of its online marketplace and a series of acquisitions of e-commerce companies since then, most notably its $3 billion purchase of Jet.com. And more importantly, Walmart said comparable sales rose 1.4% at its U.S. stores, the 11th consecutive quarterly rise, and brought in more shoppers than a year earlier, in stark contrast to the traffic problems at rivals ranging from Target (TGT, +0.37%) to Macy’s (M, +0.34%). Walmart has credited its efforts to integrate its store and digital businesses so that they feed off each other.

http://www.fortune.com…  Mon.,  29  May 2017

Oil prices tumbled dropping more than 4%

Extension by OPEC of their current oil output cut

Oil prices tumbled dropping more than 4%, as the markets sold off following an as expected extension by OPEC of their current oil output cut. What was clear is that the market had probably priced in something even greater than the extension of the agreement until March.  What many had hoped was that OPEC would generate deeper cuts, and further attempt to rebalance markets by reducing the amount of crude oil placed on the market on a daily basis.  The selloff reflects disappointment, but OPEC believes that a 9-month rollover will rebalance global inventories.  Meanwhile the happiest producers have to be the United States, who has gladly filled the void left by OPEC.

WTI crude futures are down 4.3% closing near $49.15, which breaks a three-week bull run and stands as the biggest one-day drop since May 4. The losses have been seen after the Saudi energy minister said that we’re going to roll over with the same terms over a nine-month period, with regard to the OPEC-led output cut. This would extend the existing accord for a 1.8 million barrels-per-day supply reduction from the end of June through to the end of March next year.

The so-called Vienne Group, which is OPEC nations plus allied oil producing nations, most notably Russia, met on Thursday. The sell-off in crude markets appears to be an on-the-fact style market reaction. Saudi Arabia and Russia are concerned about current levels and will likely keep cheating to

http://www.fxempire.com…  Fri.,  26  May 2017

Icelandic bitcoin mine

Bitcoin is going nuclear

The digital currency is hitting all-time highs, with a single coin going for more than $2,197. It’s an epic bull run that has accelerated in recent months: Just a year ago, it was sitting at just $443. This is great news for bitcoin miners, the people responsible for creating new bitcoins. Their mining infrastructure is the backbone of bitcoin. Anyone who contributes computing power to help process transactions on the network is rewarded with the chance to “mine” bitcoin.

In plain English, in return for helping keep the network up and running, they have the chance of being given a newly created piece of the digital currency. This payout makes the entire process — with the right equipment — incredibly lucrative. It has helped spawned a huge and surreal industry.

You can mine at home, and many people do. But companies dedicated to mining have also sprung up, some worth tens of millions of dollars. These companies build huge data centres, or mines, that consume vast amounts of power and perform insane computations on the hunt for digital gold.

http://www.businessinsider.com…  Thu.,  25  May 2017

Is UBER a Ponzi scheme?

Magellan’s Hamish Douglass says Uber is a ‘Ponzi scheme’

Uber’s practice of persistently raising capital from private investors is akin to a Ponzi scheme, according to veteran investor and Magellan Financial Group chief executive Hamish Douglass.

In a candid interview at the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Conference in Sydney on Wednesday, Mr Douglass lamented the dramatic losses awaiting Uber investors as automated driving technology permeates the market.

http://www.smh.com…  Wed.,  24  May 2017

Boeing declares war against Bombardier

In Bombardier fight, Boeing sees ghost of Airbus ascent

Two words underpin Boeing’s (BA.N) decision to launch a U.S. trade complaint against Bombardier (BBDb.TO), which plunged it into a row with Canada last week: “Never again”. Allegations that the Canadian firm dumped newly designed CSeries passenger jets in the United States at a steep loss have threatened a sale of F/A-18 warplanes to Ottawa, sending Boeing scrambling to save the deal.

Some analysts say Boeing carelessly put at risk billions of dollars of defense work or pandered to growing protectionism. But decades after Boeing failed to prevent European upstart Airbus gaining momentum with early victories in the United States, people familiar with the company say the strategic importance of defending its core passenger jet business outweighs the diplomatic storm. U.S. industry experts say Boeing and other jetmakers at the time did not take the European consortium seriously enough and allowed their future nemesis to poach U.S. airlines from 1978.

http://www.reuters.com…  Tue.,  23  May 2017

Greek debt deal

Euro zone, IMF to seek compromise

Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund will seek a deal on Monday on Greek debt relief that balances the IMF’s demand for a clear “when and how” with Germany’s preference for “only if necessary” and “details later”. Without the deal, no new loans can be disbursed to Athens, even though the bailout is now handled only by euro zone governments, and Greece needs new credit to repay some 7.3 billion euros worth of maturing loans in July.

Without the loans, Athens is likely to default – a bad start for a country that wants to return to market financing next year when its latest bailout, the third since 2010, ends in mid-2018. For its part, Greece has done what it could to secure a deal. It has agreed, albeit after months of negotiations, with the euro zone lenders and the IMF on pensions and tax reforms.

http://www.reuters.com…  Mon.,  22  May 2017

Crypto-Currencies Bubble

A surge in the value of crypto-currencies provokes alarm

IT IS hard to predict when bubbles will pop, in particular when they are nested within each other. It helps to keep this image in mind when considering one of the biggest surges in asset values of recent years: the market value of all the world’s crypto-currencies has trebled since the beginning of the year, and is now worth more than $60bn (see chart).

http://www.economist.com …  Fri.,  19  May 2017

Quant Hedge Funds

A new sort of hedge fund relies on crowd-sourcing

“QUANT” hedge funds have long been seen as the nerdy vanguard of finance. Firms such as Renaissance Technologies, Two Sigma and Man AHL, each of which manages tens of billions of dollars, hire talented mathematicians and physicists to sit in their airy offices and develop trading algorithms. But what if such talent could be harnessed without the hassle of an expensive and time-consuming recruitment process? That is the proposition Quantopian, a hedge fund and online crowd-sourcing platform founded in 2011, is testing. Anyone can learn to build trading algorithms on its platform. The most successful are then picked to manage money. Last month the firm announced it had made its first allocations of funds to 15 algorithms it had selected.

http://www.economist.com …  Thu.,  18  May 2017