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Odd Lots

Author: Bloomberg

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Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so random weekly walk through hot topics in markets, finance and economics.
326 Episodes
Traditional quant strategies that try to screen for stocks that are "cheap" have had an extremely rough period. So is this just a temporary setback that will eventually mean revert, or are the existing strategies dead and busted? Earlier this year, Inigo Fraser-Jenkins of Bernstein Research provocatively said he was sticking a fork in the quant world. But not everyone agrees with him that it's a lost cause. So in addition to talking with Fraser-Jenkins, we also brought on Aaron Brown, formerly of AQR Capital Management, for a debate on what works in quant and what the future holds
Bitcoin has been on a tear lately, but it's been a bit unclear as to what's driving it. But whatever's driving it, co-host Tracy Alloway has given up her longtime skepticism on the digital currency and now believes in its value. This episode is why. We spoke with Meltem Demirors, the Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares, a firm that offers vehicles for investing in digital assets, about this year's move and why people are buying now.
The politics of taxes are always fraught. In theory, everyone wants to pay less of them and bristle at the prospect of paying more. But it turns out that our feelings are more complicated and nuanced. On this episode, we speak with Stefanie Stantcheva, a Harvard economist who has done deep survey work on how people really feel about taxes. What she's discovered could be useful going forward in terms of thinking about how to design the optimal policy.
Investors have always had to pay attention to what's going on in Washington DC, but this year it's been on a whole new level. Between virus response policy, fiscal stimulus talks, and, of course, the recent election, there's been a huge demand for understanding of politics. On this episode, we speak with Jake Sherman, a reporter from Politico, who argues that investors are badly confused about how the city really works.
This year's stock market boom has coincided with a boom in new listings. There have been plenty of IPOs, numerous SPACs, and an uptick in companies doing direct listings on the exchange. That third category has gotten relatively less attention, but it potentially represents a powerful offering from the NYSE, which unlike many other financial companies, has performed quite well. On this episode, we speak with John Tuttle, Vice Chairman and Chief Commercial Officer at NYSE about how direct listings work, and why the NYSE sees them becoming a much bigger vehicle for going public in the future.
Measuring a company's book value is a classic practice among investors seeking to understand how much a firm's actual assets are worth. But what happens when a firm's assets are not things like buildings, factories, and land, but intangible assets, such as intellectual property and brand value? How does that change the task of analyzing a company's intrinsic worth? On this episode, we speak with Michael Mauboussin, Head of Consilient Research at Counterpoint Global (part of Morgan Stanley) about valuing these assets, and how investors can use this information to get a better read on their investments.
The IPO of Ant Financial will go down as one of the most extraordinary deals of all time. And in general, Chinese internet companies have been huge winners in the post-crisis period. But what does it take to really analyze the quality of their businesses? On this episode, we speak with Stephen Clapham, a forensic accountant, and the founder of Behind The Balance Sheet, who explains why understanding what's really going on with these companies is so tricky.
The COVID-19 crisis has pushed central banks around the world into uncharted territory. Typically when we talk about this, it's from the perspective of the Fed or the ECB. But this has also been an extraordinary period for emerging market central banks. On this episode, we speak with Ruth Krivoy who ran the Venezuelan central bank in the early 1990s. She discusses the lessons she learned during that period and how they apply now.
For months now, traders have been positioning for a major volatility spike around the November election. But what are markets really expecting, and how are investors hedging? On this episode, we speak with Josh Younger, a rate derivatives strategist at JPMorgan to discuss how he goes about finding signal in the market's noise, how traders are positioning, and what could be a shock to the market on election day.
Central banks around the world are increasingly launching pilot projects to explore the possibility of issuing digital currencies. But how would they work and what would they accomplish? On this episode, we speak with Benoît Cœuré, the head of the BIS Innovation Hub and a former member of the ECB Executive Board. We discuss CBDCs as well as the future of monetary policy more broadly.
With just two weeks until the election, talks over a stimulus deal remain ongoing, with negotiations having picked up between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Many of the disagreements haven't been about the price tag per se, but around language on such things as a national testing strategy and workplace liability. One of the most outspoken voices on the Democrat side, urging a deal, has been California Congressman Ro Khanna whose district encompasses much of Silicon Valley. He explains why, from his perspective, it's so important to get a deal done now. We also discuss the fiscal policy priorities of a theoretical Biden administration.
It's been an extraordinary year for traders of volatility. We had the crisis, we had this incredible surge in retail call options buying, and we have the election coming up. On this episode, we speak with Kris Sidial, a co-founder and vice president at The Ambrus Group, to discuss volatility arbitrage trading in this extraordinary environment.
For over a century, tobacco stocks have been among the greatest investments in history, consistently outperforming other sectors decade after decade. But what is it about tobacco companies specifically that has led to this incredible performance? On this episode, we speak with financial advisor Lawrence Hamtil along with Gene Hoots, a financial advisor and the author of “Going Down Tobacco Road”, to discuss the extraordinary performance of this sector.
In the wake of the Great Financial Crisis, you heard a lot of talk about the US becoming like Greece unless the budget deficit were brought under control. However, these warnings proved to be unfounded. That being said, there are risks of a different variety. On the latest Odd Lots, we speak with the economist Michael Hudson on the risk of too much private sector debt, which could lead to permanently degraded consumption and investment.
Interest in quantitative investing strategies continues to grow; however, as the space gets more competitive, making money and winning gets harder and harder. Computation costs alone can be prohibitive. On the latest episode, we speak with Columbia Business School professor Ciamac Moallemi about how the world's best quant funds thrive.
One of the guiding lights of Fed policy over the years has been the so-called Neutral Rate of Interest or R*. It's at this rate, theoretically, where the economy comes into balance, with full employment and stable prices. Yet, not only has discovering that level become challenging, but the premise itself has been called into question. On this episode, we speak with Peter Williams, an analyst and economist at the IMF, on what it takes to find the right level, and how the concept itself can be salvaged.
In a carry trade, an investor borrows money cheaply to buy an asset that yields more. As long as nothing changes overall, the investors get to pocket the spread. In our latest episode, our guests argue that more and more aspects of the economy resemble this trade, and that the culprit is the policymaker suppression of volatility. We speak with Tim Lee, Jamie Lee, and Kevin Coldiron, the authors of the new book “The Rise Of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis”.
These days it seems like all financial markets are the same big trade. A gold chart looks like a Tesla chart, which looks like an Ethereum chart, which looks like a chart of a basket of cloud computing stocks. So why is this? And what could cause that to change? On this episode, we speak with Jared Woodard, the head of the Research Investment Committee at Bank of America, who recently published a report on exactly this. As Woodard explains it, the question starts with low growth and inequality, and the premium that investors will pay for certain types of securities in such an environment. He walked us through how that might change, and what investors can do in the meantime to discover under-appreciated values in the market.
Back in 2017, during the Bitcoin boom, there were a number of different attempts to use blockchain technology to improve a host of businesses and industries. Many of those were cynical attempts to cash in on the bubble, but some did have loftier ambitions. On this episode of Odd Lots, we speak with Maria Bustillos, who was the co-founder of a project called Civil, which aimed to fund a series of newsrooms, backed by their own Ethereum-based token. Maria talked about what the vision was, why it didn't work, and the lessons learned for journalism business models and new endeavors.
Crypto is hot this year again. In 2020, we've not only seen a substantial rally across a lot of different coins, there's been an emergency of new experiments, categories, and protocols. Is it more sustainable this time around, or is it going to fizzle like it did last time? On this episode, we speak with Catherine Coley, the CEO of Binance US about trends in this market, why she left the traditional finance world to go crypto, and where all of this new activity is actually going.
Comments (18)

larry g

Great listen. Viktor has some excellent insights. However- Re shift in values from freedom and personal liberties at all costs (baby boomers) to equality with costs (recent generations); is it not common for most 20 somethings over the last 200 years to be idealistic and prioritize equality/fairness which soon shifts with age into earnings/savings growth, tax minimization, and overall personal gain?

Oct 7th


@21:06: What a bunch of crap. I had to stop listening shortly after hearing "alpha creation," measurement "via our modelling," and "now-casting." Gag. Another non-value-adding mountebank in the financial industry trying to hide his ignorance of methods, validity, etc. via vague, useless, or absurd neologisms and euphemisms. If he says enough words, idiots will think he's earned his portfolio management fee (nonsensically calculated as a % of assets, of course).

Sep 20th

larry g

Great episode. Personal thoughts- Not so sure re the direct interdepency of capitalism and democracy, but hmm, maybe, kind of, sometimes. Disinflation not going anywhere as long as globalization lives or until technological advancement hits the wall.

Sep 6th

David Smith

The guest is almost inaudible.

May 18th

Emmanuel Chukwu

The stone age did not end because we ran out stones. 👏🏾

Mar 16th

Matthew Mendez

this podcast has an Austrian economics edge to it 😎🙌💯🦸‍♂️ #economics #austrian #thenewmainstream

Dec 9th

ayush aggarwal

great listen! spotting a millennial is easy.... 95% of millenials have suffered losses trading crypto!

Dec 5th


What a horrible podcast! W.O.T.(waste of time) All 3 people on the podcast are ill informed on Trading on a whole. If they really do know something, they didn't show it.

Nov 13th
Reply (4)

larry g

While Mark makes some good points, of course the main question is when is the right time to be out? Now? Plus another 5%? Plus another 10%? Or perhaps once it's on the decline? That sai, should retail ever get out? If you're already above retirement age and don't want to risk any loss then a conservative approach is warranted. But if you're young and have time ahead why risk getting the timing wrong. Next question- Mark is looking for a 20% correction. Mind you 'correction'. Then what? V shaped recovery? Or trawling 20% lower levels for prolonged extended time frames? The answer to those expectations dictates strategy. History's lesson here has been clear. Last point- While Mark overweights the trade deal, personally I would underweight that impact calling it mostly theater. It's politics and will be timed to garner maximum political benefit. As alternative indicators to timing the turn, because it will come as it's a question of when not if, I'd suggest 1- liquidity (as mentioned by Mark), 2- Buybacks which have had a huge impact on price, and 3- Employment. Once employment starts to drop the whole cycle turns. Good luck and thanks for a great episode.

Jul 17th
Reply (1)


Why would you want to interview those racist wankers?

Jun 19th

שי רוזנפלד 99.7 כול נצרת עלית ו הסביבה

שי רוזנפלד שדרן

Jun 13th

Kevin Boyle

Please stop the inane conversation at the beginning and end of the episodes. If one of you doesn't know who the guest is then you didn't do your homework. A brief intro to the topic and guest will suffice. Also spend more time and fig deeper. One hour is a good length.

Dec 24th
Reply (1)
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