Alphachat podcast: The promise (and the risks) of drones

In which Cardiff is joined by Ella Atkins, professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, to discuss the technology, regulatory issues and potential risks of the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

  • The promise (and the risks) of drones
    Sep 3, 2015 – 4:30 am

  • Host Cardiff Garcia is joined by Ella Atkins, professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, to discuss the technology, regulatory issues and potential risks of the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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Surprise! — Markets Live returns a day early

The weather in London is so bad, Bryce and Murphy assumed their holiday must be over.

Oh, and there’s events in China… Read more

Solera – PE’s next software buyout?

Shares in Solera Holdings, a provider of software to insurers and car companies, closed at $48 in New York on Wednesday.

That might change soon. A trio of private equity funds are weighing bids for Solera Holdings that would value the company at over $6bn including debt, according to usually well informed people. Read more

Doubling your frozen capital, Hong Kong style

Jennifer Hughes in Hong Kong

And then there was $29bn in frozen capital.

When we last calculated the equity value of long-suspended Hong Kong stocks in July, it came to just $12bn. News from the biggest of the new entrants to the HK freezer is not exactly lifting the tone of the group, either. Read more

Markets Live hiatus

It’s kinda an August tradition, even for Bryce and Murphy…

There’s no Markets Live until Tuesday, 24/8. (Unless something dramatic happens in the meantime.) Read more

Quindell: an oxymoron speaks

Statement from AIM Regulation on Quindell PLC

AIM Regulation supports and welcomes today’s statement from the Financial Reporting Council regarding its review of Quindell plc’s (QPP.L) annual reports and accounts,…

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I’m Yanis Varoufakis and I approve the release of this secret plan [updated]

UPDATE: Yanis also approves this statement “on the FinMin’s Plan B Working Group & the parallel payment system” which includes such lines as “Ever since Mr Varoufakis announced the existence of the Working Group, the media have indulged in far-fetched articles that damage the quality of public debate.”


Katie Martin over at Fast did the needful and typed out Yanis’s words so we wouldn’t have to. Read more

So, are we big in Japan?

Statement from Pearson:

Pearson is today announcing that it has agreed the sale of FT Group to Nikkei Inc. for a gross consideration of £844 million, payable in cash.

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A spreadsheet tempest in a podcast

In which Lisa returns to our pixels… via the 16th annual conference of the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group, naturally:

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FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Apple disappointed investors despite a surge in China, as sales of its flagship iPhone fell short of high Wall Street expectations. The world’s most valuable company saw $66bn sliced off its market valuation as investors closed positions, sending shares more than 7 per cent lower.

The company’s third-quarter revenues were ahead of analyst forecasts, rising 33 per cent year on year to $49.6bn, while earnings climbed 45 per cent to $1.85 a share. Apple sold 47.5m iPhones in the period, shy of Wall Street targets for 49m, although the average selling price of $660 suggested that consumers were taking to the larger 6 Plus model.

Although the company did not break out sales figures for its new Watch, finance chief Luca Maestri said that sales in the first nine weeks had out-gunned that of the original iPhone and iPad at the same point after their respective launches. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Greek banks opened for the first time in three weeks on Monday in an attempt to bolster savers’ confidence in the country’s crippled lenders. However, with Greece down to its last EUR1bn in available cash last week, potential bail-ins of depositors and loan defaults could still lie ahead.

There are also questions over whether the stock market will remain closed. Staff at the Athens bourse are at work, waiting for a decision from the Ministry of Finance as to whether it will extend its cautious relaxation of capital controls. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, appears to be preparing the nation for a snap general election this autumn after carrying out a government reshuffle that removed dissident ministers from his leftist Syriza party. The changes mean that Mr Tsipras now controls a cabinet more loyal to him and more committed to his path of adopting economic reforms demanded by Greece’s eurozone creditors in return for a new rescue deal worth up to EUR86bn.

Meanwhile Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said that while discussions to ease debt repayment terms are an option if Athens complies with the conditions of a third bailout, Greece cannot receive a debt writedown as a member of the eurozone. A Grexit remains a strong possibility, writes the FT’s Wolfgang Münchau. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Days after Greece appeared to escape crashing out of the euro, hawkish German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has put Grexit back on the political agenda, raising tensions in Berlin and across the EU. Speaking before a key Bundestag vote on Friday, Mr Schäuble said voluntary departure from the eurozone “could perhaps be a better way” for Greece than a proposed EUR86bn bailout package. Mr Schäuble’s manoeuvre makes clear he is leaving open a Grexit option, even as he is formally backing the latest rescue plan to keep Greece in the eurozone.

Meanwhile, Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, affirmed his faith in Greece remaining in the euro as the central bank raised its limit on emergency loans to Greek banks by EUR900m. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Greece’s parliament on Thursday backed a slew of fresh austerity measures demanded by the country’s creditors, clearing the way for talks to begin on a EUR86bn bailout package. But a rebellion inside the ruling coalition that saw 38 government MPs oppose the measures raises fears that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may struggle to retain control of the government and his ruling Syriza party. Ahead of the vote radical leftist demonstrators hurled petrol bombs outside parliament.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is coming under intense pressure to defend her handling of the crisis and answer the serious questions it raises for the eurozone. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

The International Monetary Fund has sent a strong signal that it may walk away from Greece’s new bailout programme, arguing that it will not be able to participate if European creditors do not offer Athens substantial debt relief. The move again raises the pressure on Germany, which has opposed any debt relief, just as it prepares to seek the approval of its parliament to negotiate the details of a new bailout hashed out in a summit at the weekend.

Meanwhile, economists remain sceptical that the EUR86bn agreement, which has ensured that Greece remains in the eurozone, will be enough to restore it to good health. (FT)

In the news Read more

The (slightly less) Great Camp Alphaville Quiz

No, we haven’t forgotten about the rest of you.

The 2014 Great Alphaville Quiz was such a hit that we decided to team up with Marketcolor – a London-based news app and content marketing agency. They developed a spiffy new real-time multiplayer quiz for CampAV 2015.

By popular demand — we’ve put the app up online*. Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, returned to Athens on Monday facing a rebellion within his own government after he accepted the most intrusive programme ever mounted by the EU as the price for a new EUR86bn bailout to keep Greece in the eurozone. Mr Tsipras looks set to be forced to rely on opposition support to pass a swath of economic reform measures by a Wednesday deadline.

The ruling Syriza party’s extremist Left Platform called it a humiliation of Greece – although the FT’s Gideon Rachman argues it actually marks acapitulation from Germany. The hard-fought agreement has fended off, at least for now, Greece’s exit from the single currency and the instability that could follow. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Fraught negotiations in Brussels over a EUR86bn bailout package at the weekend created fresh uncertainty for Greece after finance ministers failed to agree a way out of the biggest crisis to face Europe since 2012. A fragile compromise was emerging late on Sunday under which Athens would be forced to pass tough new reform laws, including on pensions, by Wednesday and prepare further rapid reforms. But it was unclear whether this deal could be implemented in time to satisfy German chancellor Angela Merkel and other critics.

The FT View? Now is the time to help Greece rebuild, not force it to grovel lower. Meanwhile, Lawrence Summers laments the absence of boldness in favour of deferred decision-making when tackling financial crises. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

The Greek government submitted its highly anticipated plan for an economic overhaul to bailout authorities on Thursday night.

The submission is part of a request for a new three-year bailout that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must agree by the weekend, in order to avoid a collapse of the Greek banking sector that would probably see the country crash out of the eurozone. The submission opens a razor-thin 48-hour window in which Greek bailout monitoring institutions must evaluate the plan before it is turned over to eurozone finance ministers on Saturday. (FT)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

The Chinese market sell-off abated on Thursday morning, as Beijing rolled out further measures to boost liquidity and calm investor nerves following days of sharp share price falls. The banking regulator said it would allow lenders to ease margin requirements for some wealth management clients, and encouraged banks to offer financing to companies seeking to buy their own shares.

The authorities had taken drastic action to try to prop up sinking stocks on Wednesday by banning listed company shareholders with big stakes from selling shares and using central bank money to bolster the market. The securities regulator banned listed company shareholders with stakes of 5 per cent or more from selling any shares for six months. The ban also applies to senior company executives and board members, regardless of the size of their stakes. (FT)

In the news Read more

[UPDATED] This is nuts, when’s the… actually this is just nuts

UAL had a “network connectivity” issue.

WSJ home page is 504. Read more

Jenkins, ex-Barc


Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays) announce the departure of Antony Jenkins as Chief Executive and the appointment of John McFarlane as Executive Chairman pending the appointment of a new Chief Executive. Subject to regulatory approval the change will come fully into effect on 17 July 2015 when John retires from FirstGroup. A search for Mr Jenkins’ successor is underway. The interim results will be announced as planned on 29 July 2015…

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FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Chinese stocks tumbled again in morning trading on Wednesday, as investors rushed to sell what they still could. The renewed plunge followed another wave of share suspensions overnight, which have now halted trading in more than 50 per cent all listed companies on the two main Chinese exchanges.

Meanwhile the biggest listed companies in China have become the key line of defence for policy makers in Beijing as they struggle to contain a rapid downward spiral in the equity market. Beijing has stepped in to buy some stocks as a way of supporting broader equity indices, either directly or through purchases of exchange traded funds that track only large stocks. PetroChina, which has the heaviest weighting of any Chinese company in the Shanghai index, has risen 29 per cent over the past five days, even as its Hong Kong-listed shares have fallen. (FT)

cf57490e-2485-11e5-9c4e-a775d2b173ca Read more

You’ve reached Syriza’s central committee, unfortunately nobody is currently available to take your call…

Via the inbox… reports of disappointment on a BNP Paribas conference call about Greece: Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Athens will be given a final chance to present a new reform plan to eurozone leaders on Tuesday night, despite a hardening attitude to Greece in many capitals after the rejection of previous bailout terms in the Sunday referendum. Meanwhile, Greek banks are to stay closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, eurozone officials said leaders were unlikely to agree to restart rescue talks to keep Greece in the currency union at the hastily convened summit in Brussels. The European Central Bank tightened the screw on Greek banks on Monday evening when it required them to stump up more assets in exchange for emergency loans. (FT)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, responding for the first time to the Greek referendum, has said time is running out. (Bloomberg)

In the news Read more

FirstFT (the new 6am Cut)

Greece has rejected a compromise with international creditors in the referendum held on Sunday, raising serious doubts about whether it will remain inside the eurozone. The No camp won 61.3 per cent of the vote and was victorious in every region of the country, a remarkable political exploit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

However, the result is likely to plunge the country into deeper economic turmoilas it tries to prevent the collapse of a financial system that is rapidly running out of cash. The next key date in the crisis is now July 20, when Greece needs to repay EUR3.5bn on a bond held by the ECB. (FT)

In the news Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Friday,

- Facebook changes its logo.

- Galbraith via Yanis: Nine myths about the Greek crisis... and Only the no can save the euro.

- A reliable contrarian indicator.

- How Billy Mitchell became a video-game superstar and achieved Pac-Man bliss.  Read more

Camp Alphaville videos: Is GDP losing its relevance?

Cardiff Garcia chats with Diane Coyle, the head of the consultancy Enlightenment Economics about the diminishing relevance of GDP. They also touch on the risks of big data and the ethical issues surrounding it. Diane highlights what building strategies we should be adopting from the Victorians.

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Camp Alphaville videos: The dark net’s reluctant kings

In which FT Alphaville’s Izabella Kaminska and Henry Farrell, political economy professor at George Washington university discuss the process by which anarchic markets self-organise into governmental structures… whether they like it or not. Read more

First FT: A vote on the euro, Apple music launch, biosimilar drugs

Europe’s message to Greek citizens is simple: they are voting on membership of the eurozone. Read more