Alphachat: Robots, artificial intelligence and a sluggish shopping season

Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes, and Stitcher.

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Our chat with Esther Duflo — now with transcript

Alphachat: The power of talk and mythical startup valuations

Sherry Turkle wants you to put down your phone and talk to someone

The MIT professor and clinical psychologist stops by to discuss her new book, Reclaiming Conversation: the Power of Talk in a Digital Age. We talk about how always-on digital connections are making it harder for people to have conversations, whether with family, friends, romantic partners, classmates or co-workers, and why you keep your smartphone out of your bedroom at night. Read more

Our chat with Esther Duflo

FirstFT – Brexit, the global economic slowdown and not so splendid isolation

Cameron will unveil a four-point reform plan intended to keep Britain in the EU Read more

FirstFT – Saudi Arabia to keep pumping oil, UniCredit poised to downsize and the boss crush

Riyadh is determined to stick to its policy of producing enough oil to protect its global market share Read more

FirstFT – Pacific tensions, the Chinese learning curve and dangerous books

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US defence secretary Ashton Carter used a visit to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt — located near the areas of the South China Sea where Beijing is building artificial islands — to deliver a highly symbolic warning to China against its militarisation. Read more

The next Berkshire Hathaway in action

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FirstFT – Bomb theory emerges for Russian jet crash, more woe for VW and a colourful solution

The UK has suggested the Russian plane crash in Egypt may have been caused by a bomb Read more

FirstFT – Naval tensions, slowing Chinese growth and the 26m year time-bomb

The presidents of Taiwan and China will hold talks on Saturday in their first cross-strait meeting Read more

FirstFT – China takes to the waves, the cockroach cure and no Turkish delight

Diaries reveal that some of ECB’s top decision makers meet bankers and asset managers days before major policy meetings Read more

You had one job…

Two words summarise client marketing in the past month: ‘lost’ and ‘bearish’. This is the first time that we have come across so many people who say they are completely ‘lost’ in the current environment.

We met with many clients in the US, Europe and Asia. The wall of bearishness was extreme in the US – roughly 80% of meetings – but much more balanced outside the US (maybe because markets started to rally in the meantime). Often in the US, the question was ‘why isn’t this a bear market?’.

- Credit Suisse’s equity research team, Oct 15

*cough* Read more

FirstFT – Barclays poised to announce new CEO, the great game redux and profitable pot

Barclays plans to appoint Jes Staley as its new chief executive Read more

Some of the questions from last night’s #FTPubQuiz

Thanks so much to everyone who attended last night’s New York Pub Quiz. You can hear from the attendees themselves during the vox-pop segment of this week’s Alphachat, which will be released Friday, and scroll back through the #FTPubQuiz hashtag on Twitter.

We’ll soon publish the entire roster of 70 questions (and the answers), but here are fifteen of the multiple-choice variety we used if you’d like a quick flavour of what it was like. Read more

How to watch tonight’s New York Pub Quiz

In case you haven’t heard, Alphaville’s New York contingent will be hosting a pub quiz. TWENTY-SEVEN teams will compete for prizes including, but not limited to, everlasting glory and a copy of the Volcker Rule signed by Paul Volcker.

You can follow along on Twitter with the #FTPubQuiz hashtag. We’ll also have a live stream of the video, which you will be able to watch by clicking the button below — the event starts at about 7:10pm EST: Read more

NY Pub quiz warmup — take our interactive practice quiz #FTPubQuiz

We’re terribly excited to be hosting next Wednesday’s FT Pub Quiz in New York.

Most of the Alphaville gang will be there, along with about twenty-five teams competing, more questions than last year, and a special guest appearance by Paul Volcker — yep, that Paul Volcker, who will be co-hosting the economics history round alongside the night’s MC, Gillian Tett. Read more

Eros International, potentially requited


That’s New York-listed Eros International, one of India’s largest film studios and the folks responsible for some of the best dance scenes of the decade, popping 10 per cent yesterday.

And Alphaville’s usually well informed sources think they know why. This is RAW, obviously… Read more

About that Glencore share placing

What’s missing from the following statementRead more

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.
  • Launch in pop-up Launch in Pop-up  Share audio

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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