Hacking, Crime, and Fraud

By |2017-07-17T12:22:21+00:00November 12th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What does the latest hacking prosecution say about online security? Photo: Victor Hanacek. Source: Picjumbo The US Attorney for New York just disclosed the biggest hacking prosecution ever. In a news conference, Breet Bharara described it as securities fraud on cyber-steroids. A gang of criminal hackers from the US, Russia, and Israel broke into Scottrade, Dow Jones, and JP Morgan. They obtained the personal data and email addresses of over 100 million people. But rather than steal money directly, they used this information to [...]

Creativity, Inc.

By |2017-07-17T12:22:21+00:00November 10th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Why do our best ideas often come to us in the shower? Photo: Jonathan Sautter. Source: Pixabay Creativity is a funny thing. Creative people are at the heart of technological innovation, whether it’s science, engineering, or finding the right music to energize your workout. Ancient cultures saw inspiration as a gift from the gods, a literal bolt from the blue. That’s why Homer and Hesiod start their great works with a prayer to the Muse. But creativity is also a disciplined process, where people [...]

Hooray for Hollywood?

By |2017-07-17T12:22:21+00:00November 9th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Is the movie market telling us something about the stock market? Original Star Wars Poster. © 20th Century Fox. Source: Wikipedia Hollywood has had a decent year so far. Year-to-date box office revenues are up about 5% from 2014. But rather than reflecting a healthy, diverse selection, with more hits than misses, the boost has come almost entirely from a few blockbusters—Jurassic World, Age of Ultron, The Martian, and a couple others. Without those films, this would be a down year. In this, the [...]

The Fantasy Fallacy

By |2017-07-17T12:22:21+00:00November 6th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What can Fantasy Football teach us about the stock market? Photo: AJ Guel. Source: Wikipedia Fantasy sports are hot. What started as sports-bar diversion, a fun way to follow individual player performance has grown into a multi-billion dollar business, with competing leagues, rules, and millions of dollars riding on every game. Today, it’s estimated that over 19 million people compete in public and private leagues. It’s even gotten into the latest Presidential debates, with talk of regulation. Whether you think fantasy sports are a [...]

Disney, Ducks, and College Apps

By |2017-07-17T12:22:21+00:00November 5th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What can Disney teach us about college applications? Source: Wikipedia There’s a delightful story about Bill Peet, the author and illustrator who worked for Walt Disney, starting in the 1930s. After a brutal interview process—lasting over a month—he was hired, and was working on some Donald Duck short films as an “in-betweener,” making up the frames between the key drawings. One day, he had had enough. The work was too tedious. “No more ducks!” he yelled. Other illustrators took up the chant--“No more ducks! [...]

Not So Puerto Rico

By |2017-07-17T12:22:21+00:00November 4th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What can Puerto Rico do about its debt? Capital building, San Juan. Photo: M Melendez. Source: Wikipedia Puerto Rico’s debt burden is unsustainable. It’s over 100% of their economy. By contrast, the most indebted states—Connecticut and Illinois—have debt-to-GDP ratios that are a little less than 30% of their gross state product. And this doesn’t even include PR’s unfunded pension obligations, which total another 65% of GDP. Lately, the size of their debt has stabilized, but that’s only because they’ve been selling assets and delaying [...]

Not So Sweet

By |2017-07-17T12:22:22+00:00November 3rd, 2015|Global Market Update|

What’s happening to Candy Crush? Photo: EJ Augsburg Source: Pixabay King Digital, the maker of Candy Crush and other addictive mobile games, is being acquired for $18 per share in cash by Activision Blizzard, a mainly PC-based game maker, perhaps best known for Call of Duty and its multi-player online game, World of Warcraft. That’s a 20% premium from where King opened yesterday. Investors should be happy. After all, back in September the stock was a lot lower. King’s mobile games were on the [...]

Asset Values and Valuation

By |2017-07-17T12:22:22+00:00November 2nd, 2015|Global Market Update|

What’s a stock worth? Photo: Honzik Fidler Source: Morguefile “The market is over-valued.” “No, it’s fair.” “No, you’re missing the point—the economy has changed.” “What? Are saying it’s different this time?” “It’s always different.” Arguments over stock-market valuation have been around ever since stocks have traded. In many ways, the purpose of an open stock market is to discover what the clearing price for a company should be—what price satisfies both the buyers and sellers of a company’s shares. But just knowing something’s price [...]