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Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
Dollar Reversal? (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look) In the past 10 days there has been a sharp upturn in the US Dollar Index, following a two-month decline from a multi-year high in February. Will this last/ It could present some economic headwinds and earnings headwinds for global companies if it does.
The Great Beta Hoax: Not an Accurate Measure of Risk After All (F.A.S.T. Graphs) Hat tip to TalkMarkets. Academics in finance love to utilize and present fancy and complex mathematical formulas applied to comprehensive statistical analysis in order to present and support their theories on investing. This approach was even honored with a Nobel Prize for Eugene Fama in 2013 for his development of modern portfolio theory. In this theory a parameter beta is deemed to be primary measurement of investment risk. In fact it is a measure of price volatility and correlation to reference prices, usually the S&P 5oo Index. It has always had the shortcoming of being based on the parameters obeying normal bell curve Gaussian distributions (they don't). But the author here, Chuck Carnevale, shows how time variation of beta makes its application in optimizing portfolio construction "a fraud".
Chart Of The Day: The Relentless 65-Year Decline In The Labor Force Participation Of Men (David Stockman) Hat tip to John O'Donnell. Econintersect is wondering what is the value of the Stockman Chart of the Day without further information, such as the second graph supplied by Econintersect. In addition, Stockman attributes cause for the observations "welfare state policy impacts—-such as the huge increase in Social Security disability and food stamp recipients". He offers no proof of what is cause and what is effect. Yes, there is correlation, but then what?
Giant Black Holes May Be on a Collision Course (Scientific American) Most galaxies have a supermassive black hole lurking at their centers, but a galaxy 10.5 billion light-years away looks like it might have two—and the pair may be set to crash together in just 21 years. If the observations are confirmed, the duo would be the closest known set of binary black holes, and their imminent collision would offer scientists an unprecedented chance to watch extreme physics in action. The two black holes cannot actually be seen (after all, they are "black" embedded in a black space). The existence of the twins is inferred from the periodic nature of the light emitted in the region.
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