Odd Lots

Odd Lots

Norway

Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so random weekly walk through hot topics in markets, finance and economics.

Episodes

What Looking Inside a Bank Archive Can Tell Us About Modern Finance  

Royal Bank of Scotland has been around, in one form or another, for hundreds of years. The company keeps artifacts from its lengthy history in an archive that features everything from a customer ledger kept during the Great Plague and Great Fire of London in the 1600s, to a notice sent to branches in 1914 to shut down ahead of the start of World War I.

On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak with Ruth Reed, Head of Archives and Art at RBS, about what it's like to be the archivist for a bank. We find out about her favorite objects in the bank's archive and discuss what they can tell us about modern finance and markets.

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The Biggest Lesson Investors Should Have Learned From the Crisis  

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.

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What Diner's Club Card Reveals About the Nature Of Money  

We use money everyday, but it's rare to actually think about what money is or what it represents. And in fact many of the people who are the closest to it -- academics, traders, etc. -- understand it the least. On this week's episode of Odd Lots, we talk to Lana Swartz, an Assistant Professor at the University of Virgnia in the department of media studies. We discuss why money can be understood as a form of media, and specifically we talk about her work on Diner's Club, the original charge card.

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How The Bond Market Changed During A Veteran Trader's Decades On Wall Street  

Most people have some kind of hazy conception of how the stock market works. Stocks are simple to understand, and there are only so many of them out there to trade. But the bond market is a whole different beast, and in some ways it remains way behind stocks in terms of how technology has changed the industry. On this weeks' Odd Lots podcast, we talk to Bloomberg's Rob Elson, a former trader, who spent decades in the industry. During our conversation, he talks about how he got into the business, how his job changed from the early days to its end, and what he learned about what it takes to succeed in trading.

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What It's Like to Suddenly Become a Bond Manager in the Credit Crisis  

We talk a lot on Odd Lots about the idea of investing. But what's it like to actually have to put money to work in some of the trickiest investing environments in history? David Schawel was an equity analyst who suddenly became the manager of a portfolio of subprime mortgage bonds during the worst of the credit crunch. Now he manages fixed-income portfolios for New River Investments. We talk to him about what it was like to manage a subprime portfolio back in 2008, the differences between stocks and bonds, and how to put money to work when lots of people are talking about an overvalued market. 

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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.

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How A Former Wall Street Trader Cracked The World Of Betting On Baseball  

It's no secret that a lot of people in finance like to bet on things. But how many of them take the time to actually beat the house in gambling? On this week's Odd Lots, we talk to Joe Peta, a former Lehman Brothers trader, and the author of "Trading Bases," a book about betting on baseball. Peta started focusing on baseball after a freak accident (getting hit by an ambulance) gave him lots of time to think about applying his trading knowledge to baseball. Eventually he launched a $1 million baseball betting fund that returned 14 percent in a year to his investors. On this episode, Peta talks to us about why baseball is uniquely suited to data analytics, how he was able to exploit market inefficiencies, and what sports betting can teach us about market structure.

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Why a Natural Gas Company Is Shaking the World of Islamic Finance  

Earlier this month, Dana Gas, a UAE-based company, rocked the world of Islamic finance by announcing that one of its Shariah-compliant bonds was, well, no longer Shariah-compliant. On this week's episode of Odd Lots, we speak to veteran Dubai-based journalist Frank Kane about the rise of Islamic finance (what it is, how it works, why it's grown so fast) and why the Dana Gas announcement is such a big deal.

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This Is What a Real-Life Wendy Rhoades Actually Does  

On the TV show "Billions," one of the most important characters is Wendy Rhoades, the psychologist at Axe Capital who helps traders get out of their slumps. What viewers may not realize is that the job exists in real life. On this week's Odd Lots, we speak with Brett Steenbarger, a professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University and author of several books on trading psychology. Steenbarger, who has worked with several funds, explains to us what he actually with traders and how is work is similar to and different from the fictional TV character.

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