Here's what's trending this week
At BlackRock, Machines Are Rising Over Managers to Pick Stocks — The New York Times
It seems as though every week we mention something about automation or artificial intelligence (AI) making its way into new industries. So without further ado—BlackRock, inventor of iShares ETFs, is turning to AI to manage its stocks. Landon Thomas Jr. (@landonthomasjr) of the New York Times reports. "BlackRock laid out an ambitious plan to consolidate a large number of actively managed mutual funds with peers that rely more on algorithms and models to pick stocks," Thomas reports.
And if we're not talking about automation, it's usually disruption. Robinhood—a free stock trading app upending traditional brokerage firms— clenched a billion dollar valuation led by DST Global. Josh Constine (@joshconstine) of TechCrunch reports. "DST and other investors may see outdated brokerages which haven't swiftly adopted mobile technology as running scared," Constine reports. "Unless or until they approach Robinhood's $0 price point, the startup has an opportunity to steal their customers while recruiting new ones who aren't rich enough to afford the traditional fees."
Amazon Delays Opening Of Cashierless Store To Work Out Kinks — The Wall Street Journal
You can't expect a revolution to happen overnight. Now, faced with technical issues, Amazon is forced to postpone their ambitious revolution of the cashier-less retail experience. Laura Stevens (@LauraStevensWSJ) of the Wall Street Journal reports. "The technology generally functions flawlessly only if there are fewer than about 20 customers present, or when their movements are slow, the people familiar with the matter said," Stevens begins. "After it opens, the store will still need employees for the near future to help ensure the technology is accurately tracking purchases."
Data Mining Can Pump Up returns — If Done Right — Institutional Investor
It's been said many times, data is the new currency. Asset managers are hoping to strike riches by mining quantitative data in hopes of eking out an advantage. Institutional Investor reports how new data sources—such as news media—are helping turn profits. "Hedge funds that have in-house data scientists are outperforming in the market," said Michael Marrale, CEO of research and analytics firm M Science. To illustrate this point, Marrale turns to Lululemon's filing of lower-than-expected earnings, investors who were fast to learn this would be able to take action.
We know that technology contributes to time savings and that, in turn, leads to money savings. But now the BBC sheds light on some substantial savings heralded by fintech. Monty Munford (@montymunford) reports. "Two-fifths of UK consumers say they have avoided up to £100 in debt or charges by using tech to manage their money," Munford said. "Younger generations in particular now trust the security of smartphones, with their ability to handle a range of biometric authentication methods, whether fingerprint, voice, or image and video recognition."
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