Alternative Data News. 27, November 2019

The AltDataNewsletter by CloudQuant

Finding sources and uses for alternative data can be difficult. At CloudQuant we regularly read and search the internet for new sources of data that can be used in our mission to find alpha signals and build quantitative trading strategies. We recognize that we are technology and data junkies so we wrote our own crawler that specifically seeks out web pages, posts, and news articles that give us a snapshot of what is going on in the world of Alt Data. The following is a collection of articles that we think you will find interesting from the past week.

Battle of the Quants : Big Data – London 2019

CloudQuant CEO, John “Morgan” Slade will be participating in the ESG Panel at the “Battle of the Quants : Big Data” Conference in London on December 10th 2019.

In their fourteenth year of hosting the leading quantitative event worldwide, the Battle of the Quants has become the definitive event for investors, managers and data buyers looking for key industry influencers, decision makers and investment opportunities. Learn from cutting edge discussions in quantitative finance and advance your business through valuable professional business relationships. Many networking opportunities abound with pre and post cocktail receptions, coffee breaks and a luncheon.

If you are attending be sure to say hello!

Congress Mulls Reining In Alt Data Collection

Sourcing alternative data, such as consumer financial transactions, likely will become more difficult for data brokers in the future as the US Congress has started showing concern over consumer data privacy and security. Earlier this month, the US Senate introduced its Online Privacy Act and the Filter Bubble Transparency Act, which would establish individual privacy rights regarding personal information and require firms that gather data on more than one million users and earn more than $50 million in revenue to provide deeper transparency respectively.

Meanwhile, the House Financial Services’ Taskforce on Financial Technology held a recent hearing to address what new guard rails Congress might consider when addressing data privacy. “It has been 20 years since the enactment of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which is a law predominantly governing the treatment of big data and privacy protection in all of the financial sphere,” said Rep. David Scott (GA-D) during the hearing. “But since that time, we have seen extraordinary technological development that has changed the way that consumers interact with financial services.”

2019-11-25 20:00:59+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.2415, Raw Interest Score: 1.5107,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2193, Negative Sentiment 0.1949

CloudQuant Thoughts : After Cambridge Analytica it was inevitable that governments would attempt to reign in control over Alternative Data. This issue at hand is that even cleansed and anonymized data can be deanonymized with a relatively small amount of effort. How hard they come down on these firms is the question. See also this Intercept article about Google’s Sidewalk Labs and their “Replica” product using third party de-identified cellphone data and also “Unique in the Crowd“. Apple recently updated its privacy policy to allow sharing the spatio-temporal location of their users with “partners and licensees”. With Geo-location data four randomly chosen points are enough to uniquely characterize 95% of the users, two randomly chosen points still uniquely characterize more than 50% of the users and 25B apps are collecting this data.

Quandl launches E-Commerce Intelligence dataset

Nasdaq’s Quandl, an alternative data provider, has launched the E-Commerce Intelligence (ECI) dataset, which allows investors to track product-level e-commerce transactions on a near real-time basis. The exclusive dataset follows the day-to-day transactions of 800 brands and 500 companies across more than 350 e-retailers in North America and EMEA, capturing USD15 billion worth of product sales annually.

The exclusive dataset follows the day-to-day transactions of 800 brands and 500 companies across more than 350 e-retailers in North America and EMEA, capturing USD15 billion worth of product sales annually. ECI data is available daily with a seven-day lag, offering a distinct speed advantage over consumer sales datasets currently available on the market. Investors can monitor early traction on new products, follow the entire lifecycle of a product, monitor same-store sales and measure products against their competitors.
2019-11-27 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 6.3932, Raw Interest Score: 2.0359,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2395, Negative Sentiment 0.1796

CloudQuant Thoughts : E-Commerce Intelligence data ticking all the boxes, hundreds of brands and companies, no personal data, broad collection so no bias and a low lag. It looks like a very interesting product.

Hedge Fund Data Scientist Salaries: Lower Than You Thought

In theory, data scientist jobs at a hedge fund are some of the best-paid in the financial industry. Urban myth has it that newly qualified PhDs can land jobs at top funds that pay $500,000 soon after graduating, and seven-figure positions soon after after that. But the reality may prove rather more modest.

Speaking a conference in New York earlier this year, Richard Pook, an executive search consultant at Dore Partnership, said the only data scientists who can demand really big pay are those who can bridge the gap between the analytics team and the C-suite. Everyone else gets a lot less.

If the extent of your data science qualifications are a Master’s degree and a technical skillset, Pook said you won’t get much more than $150,000 to $200,000 in salary as a data scientist in a hedge fund. After examining the salaries given to data scientists hired on H-1B visas by top hedge funds this year, we can confirm that this is broadly correct. (According to data analyzed by Dice, an “average” data scientist with 3-6 years experience can expect to draw down $108,000 in pay, before you consider stock, bonus payouts, and other forms of compensation.)

2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.9425, Raw Interest Score: 2.2263,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0928, Negative Sentiment 0.0464

CloudQuant Thoughts : Good data around any salaries can be hard to come by. The large number of H1-B visas in this industry make the process a little easier but then their is obvious skew in the population.

Barclays’ Gordon: Risk managers to be trained in Python and R

Financial institutions must look to educate existing staff on data practices before hiring more data scientists, agreed a panel at the Financial Information Management conference in central London this week.

Simon Gordon, head of risk information services at Barclays said the bank has begun a process of training its staff in computing programming languages.

“I use the data to ask a lot of questions around risk, around our portfolio, where we ar…
2019-11-20 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.0132, Raw Interest Score: 2.3593,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1242, Negative Sentiment 0.2483

Trading on the Edge: How This Free API Can Help Exploit Inefficiencies

When companies report their quarterly earnings, they are required to include “unusual” items that do not normally occur in the normal operations of the business in their income statements. These charges, often including merger and acquisition charges, or one-time write-downs of an asset, are deducted from net income.

These adjustments can cause investors to overreact to bad news — something that efficient markets purists don’t believe is possible. However, In “Core Earnings: New Data and Evidence”, Ethan Rouen and Charles Wang of Harvard Business School and Eric So of MIT demonstrated that these short-term adjustments really do skew prices.

It is possible to leverage this research with the free fundamentals API* and Alpaca’s** commission-free*** trading platform to then trade**** using an algorithm based off of this theory. In fact, this is a tutorial to do exactly that.
2019-11-26 00:04:05.982000+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.8816, Raw Interest Score: 1.7285,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0982, Negative Sentiment 0.2161

TAIFEX: The Venue for Hedging Global Tech Supply Chains

In October 2019, following the successful launch of Dow Jones and S&P 500 Futures, Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX) introduced the world’s first offshore Nasdaq-100 index futures – TAIFEX Nasdaq-100 Futures, to provide traders for hedging the volatile global technology supply chains on one of Asia’s most forefront trading venues. The product features a small contract size and New Taiwan Dollar denomination, and enables traders to implement intermarket trading strategies between Taiwan and the US. Further, it strengthens TAIFEX’s ability to cater to the growing demand in Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific for offshore technology-sector exposure, including the popular FAANG stocks.
2019-11-26 14:14:55+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 5.5932, Raw Interest Score: 2.4231,
Positive Sentiment: 0.3392, Negative Sentiment 0.0000

Now is the time for qualitative research

Research and analysis of funds and fund managers can either be quantitative, qualitative or a mixture of the two.

Quantitative research is objective and compares funds against their peers or a suitable benchmark, using fact-based and measurable attributes such as returns and volatility.

Defaqto’s Diamond Ratings of funds and fund families, which have been running for several years, are an example of quantitative research, comparing funds and fu…
2019-11-19 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.9803, Raw Interest Score: 1.9332,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1966, Negative Sentiment 0.2294

AutoRek selected for the RegTech 100 list for transforming compliance, data management and financial controls

The world’s most innovative technology solution providers that address the challenges and opportunities of dealing with regulatory issues within financial services, were announced today by RegTech Analyst, a specialist research firm. AutoRek is proud to be listed as one of the top 100.

The RegTech (regulatory technology) industry has established itself as one of the most important sectors within financial technology after seeing tremendous gro…
2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.5439, Raw Interest Score: 1.9816,
Positive Sentiment: 0.5125, Negative Sentiment 0.1025

Does Your Portfolio Have Junk In The Trunk? Here’s What To Do About It.

Lower-rated bonds are again an issue. Know the risks. When market conditions are as friendly as they have been for past decade, it is easy to lose sight of growing risks. One that I keep coming back to is the continued deterioration of the fabric of the global bond market. Whether it is foreign yields below zero, mounting government debt in the U.S., or a smokescreen in the high-yield bond corporate bond market, knowing the score can be a retirement-saver.

The latter issue is my latest warning to the complacent investors of the world. You see, things seem just right in the world of lower-rated bonds. They pay monster yields compared to U.S. Treasuries and higher-rated bonds. That has created chase for yield, since so much of the money in that market is run by big institutions and hedge funds. Competition in that field is high, and one of the biggest risks those managers take is to lag this long bull market. That allows some very “junky” bonds to stay afloat longer than they should. At some point, confidence breaks. Then, you get something akin to what we had during the Financial Crisis last decade.
2019-11-24 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.1840, Raw Interest Score: 1.4538,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1038, Negative Sentiment 0.2596

Treasury yields hold ground ahead of data deluge

U.S. Treasury yields held their ground on Wednesday in a holiday-truncated week as traders awaited a rush of economic data.

Due to the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday Thursday November 28, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommends for the bond-market to shutter on Thursday, and an early close on Friday.

What are Treasurys’ doing?

The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +1.87% was up 0.5 basis point to 1.745%, wh…
2019-11-27 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.6910, Raw Interest Score: 1.6767,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0430, Negative Sentiment 0.1720

Financial services take lessons from machine learning

Open Banking promises increased access to customer data, but with newfound transparency comes a greater need to understand how that data is utilised. Together with developments in machine learning (ML), markets are changing.

So far, ML has been used in financial services to manage content and data, detect fraud and money laundering, facilitate biometric identification, trade via algorithms, and assist with regulatory compliance. A survey by the Bank of England, undertaken in the first half of this year, found that two-thirds of UK financial services companies are now using ML. Nineteen percent of companies surveyed have or are creating centres for promoting the technology internally. The same survey found that anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud detection, along with customer-facing applications such as chatbots, utilised machine learning the most.
2019-11-25 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.5127, Raw Interest Score: 1.9114,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2963, Negative Sentiment 0.4890

Here’s a breakdown of most in-demand skills for 2020—in finance, marketing, sales and engineering

won’t be slowing down any time soon.

That’s according to Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report, which indicates workers across some of the largest industries are heavily focused on learning data science and technology skills.

The online learning platform analyzed user data to determine what classes are the most popular among engineering, marketing, sales and financial teams that use its workplace learning service.

For workers in marketing and finance, SQL — or Structured Query Language — is listed one of the top skills to master in 2020. SQL, a programming language, was also cited as the most …
2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.1294, Raw Interest Score: 2.0626,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1422, Negative Sentiment 0.1422

Should You Investigate Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) At US$45.87?

Today we’re going to take a look at the well-established Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU). The company’s stock received a lot of attention from a substantial price movement on the NASDAQGS over the last few months, increasing to US$50.84 at one point, and dropping to the lows of US$41.98. Some share price movements can give investors a better opportunity to enter into the stock, and potentially buy at a lower price. A question to answer is whe…
2019-11-26 02:27:53+11:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.1242, Raw Interest Score: 1.6216,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2831, Negative Sentiment 0.1030

Startups And Impact Investors – Good or Bad?

Value = Valuation. Valuation -> Profits. Profits!= Profiteering.

Are you a startup wondering about this sequence? Then you may want to consider working with impact investors. There are benefits and pitfalls in doing so, before discussing them let’s first define the types of venture capital.

1) The Three Different Kinds Of VCs

Traditional investors, also often called institutional VCs, have a single bottom line: financial returns. In other word…
2019-11-24 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.0687, Raw Interest Score: 1.9240,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2192, Negative Sentiment 0.1218

Black Friday Deals on Python Books

Interesting in learning Python? Well you will be happy to know that I am running a Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale of my Python books. But I am starting the sale early so that you have plenty of time to decide if you’d like to buy one of my books. Check them out below!

Note that Python 101 is free. You can bump the amount to pay all the way down to $0 if you’d like a free copy.

Also note that all my books have free sample chapters so you can c…
2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.0471, Raw Interest Score: 1.5928,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1385, Negative Sentiment 0.1385

Splunk shares surge to record after rallying 16% in two days

a record, propelled by a two-day rally that began last week with better-than-expected earnings and continued on Monday after an analyst said the company is a prime acquisition target.

Shares of the data analytics provider climbed 5% to close at $147.64. The company, which went public in 2012, surpassed its previous record close from July.

Splunk said after the close of regular trading on Thursday that revenue in the fiscal third quarter rose 30% to $626.3 million, exceeding the $604.1 million average estimate, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. The company also beat on earnings and provided a f…
2019-11-25 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.9626, Raw Interest Score: 1.5497,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2279, Negative Sentiment 0.0456

Detecting Heart Arrhythmias with Deep Learning in Keras with Dense, CNN, and LSTM

Detecting Heart Arrhythmias with Deep Learning in Keras with Dense, CNN, and LSTM

Let’s detect abnormal heart beats from a single ECG signal!


Recently, I was reviewing Andrew Ng’s team’s work( on heart arrhythmia detector with convolutional neural networks (CNN). I found this quite fascinating especially with the emergence of wearable products (e.g. Apple Watch and portable EKG machi…
2019-11-26 15:56:47.445000+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.9552, Raw Interest Score: 1.3280,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0501, Negative Sentiment 0.2380

Lisa Fiondella joins Finastra as Chief Data Officer

New hire to develop products using the wealth of data available through Finastra’s platform and cloud-based solutions

London, UK, November 21, 2019 – Finastra has hired Lisa Fiondella as Chief Data Officer to lead its comprehensive data strategy, including how data collected through the platform and various cloud-based solutions, can be best utilized. She will be responsible for developing a data product roadmap and manage the process of bringing new data products to the market.

“Data is an underused asset and a key source of competitive advantage,” said Eli Rosner, Chief Prod…
2019-11-25 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.9089, Raw Interest Score: 1.6706,
Positive Sentiment: 0.4773, Negative Sentiment 0.0000

Up 50% in the Last Year, Splunk Soars as Its Big Data Engine Keeps Rolling

Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) is rallying back toward its all-time high again after giving investors plenty to be happy with during the third quarter of 2019. It’s been a wild ride as the big data firm has been spending heavily to maximize its potential, and a projected dip in free cash flow (money left over after operating and capital expenses are paid) sent the stock down earlier in the year. Now that Splunk’s sporting a 28% return during the current ca…
2019-11-27 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.8328, Raw Interest Score: 2.0357,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1952, Negative Sentiment 0.1952

This Is Why The Big Intel Rally May Be A Mirage

Investors really want to believe Intel is finally putting its failures in the rearview mirror.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company reported better-than-expected financial results Oct. 24. Shares of the semiconductor giant promptly surged 8% as managers raised guidance for the rest of the year.

FILE – In this Oct. 1, 2019, file photo the symbol for Intel appears on a screen at the Nasdaq … [+] MarketSite, in New York. Intel Corp. reports financia…
2019-11-24 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.6965, Raw Interest Score: 1.4724,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1951, Negative Sentiment 0.1774

Plug and pay – Big Tech takes aim at the low-profit retail-banking industry

T HE ANNUAL Web Summit in Lisbon each year is Woodstock for geeks. Over three days in November, 70,000 tech buffs and investors gather on grounds the size of a small town. Rock stars, like Wikipedia’s boss or Huawei’s chairman, parade on the main stage. Elsewhere people queue for 3D -printed jeans or watch startups pitch from a boxing ring. Money managers announce dazzling funding rounds. Panellists predict a cashless future while gazing into a h…
2019-11-21 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.6124, Raw Interest Score: 1.3365,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0891, Negative Sentiment 0.1634

Asian markets advance following more record highs on Wall Street

Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Wednesday after a fresh set of record highs on Wall Street, spurred by encouraging signs on trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.28% advanced 0.4% while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 XJO, +0.93% climbed 0.6%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.31% gained 0.3% and the Hang Seng HSI, +0.15% in Hong Kong rose slightly. The Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, -0.13% gained 0.2%.

Shares fell in M…
2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.5214, Raw Interest Score: 1.2476,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2691, Negative Sentiment 0.2202

The holiday season will showcase the best and worst of the U.S. economy

Getty Images The busy holiday shopping season is likely to showcase a big divide in the U.S. economy.

The U.S. holiday season is ready to kick off this week after the Thanksgiving feast, but not every part of the economy can expect to share in the bounty.

American households have spent a bundle this year to keep the economy plowing ahead in a record 11th year without a recession. Consumers have accounted for 80% of the economy’s growth, with go…
2019-11-23 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.3927, Raw Interest Score: 1.1704,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2861, Negative Sentiment 0.2601

Here are Wall Street’s most-shorted stocks — and how they’ve performed, in one chart

With U.S. stocks up around 25% so far this year, it would appear to be have been a tough year for short sellers. But a breakdown of the most shorted large-cap stocks indicates Wall Street’s nabobs of negativity have enjoyed a somewhat more upbeat story.

In a Tuesday note, analysts at Bespoke Investment Group observed that Russell 1000 RUI, +0.24% stocks with more than 20% of their float sold short have seen total returns of 14.81% so far in 2019…
2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.3333, Raw Interest Score: 1.5000,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1333, Negative Sentiment 0.2333

Appier raises $80 million for AI that improves marketing decisions

Getting a customer onto a company’s website to check out its products is challenging enough in itself, but getting them to complete a transaction is a whole different ball game. Last year, 75% of all ecommerce orders were abandoned before finalizing the purchase — reasons include an overly complicated checkout process, limited payment options, hidden costs, registration friction, security concerns, and more.

This is one of the problems that Taiw…
2019-11-25 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.3269, Raw Interest Score: 1.2202,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2588, Negative Sentiment 0.1294

Complacency Could Blind Regulators To The Next Financial Crisis Warns Ex SEC Exam Chief

Complacency could blind regulators to the start of the next financial crisis warns Carlo di Florio who helped the Securities and Exchange Commission mop up after the end of the last one as the head of its exam unit.

The danger is even though the regulators solved the problems that brought about the last financial crisis doesn’t mean they’ll prevent the next collapse di Florio said in a phone interview.

He noted the last crisis was all about fin…
2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.2276, Raw Interest Score: 1.0094,
Positive Sentiment: 0.5221, Negative Sentiment 0.8354

BoE and FCA to revise data collection

UK regulators are set to review how they approach data collection, according to the chief data officer at the Bank of England (BoE) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s head of central data services, innovation, strategy and competition division.

“Some of the collections were done many years ago, and were there for different reasons, and different ways of working. We are at the point now where some of those collections, we are finding them hard to read for different questions than the orig…
2019-11-20 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.2241, Raw Interest Score: 1.3454,
Positive Sentiment: 0.3569, Negative Sentiment 0.2197

Pricefx raises $25.3 million to optimize prices with AI

It’s not easy for corporations to price their goods and services appropriately, but getting pricing right is critically important to their success. According to a McKinsey & Company report, a 1% price increase translates to an 8.7% increase in operating profits on average, yet an estimated 30% of the thousands of pricing decisions companies make every year fail to deliver the best prices.

Firms like Pricefx, which was cofounded in 2011 by former…
2019-11-26 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.2212, Raw Interest Score: 1.2500,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2315, Negative Sentiment 0.2083

SRI: How Advisors Can Bridge Idea and Practice

sionally managed assets in the U.S.— invested in line with sustainable, responsible and impact strategies, and the practice continues to gain market share globally.

Companies increasingly tout their environmental and social practices on earnings calls, appealing to growing interest in such information. Environmental, social and governance factors continue to move up the list of investor priorities.

This is all for good reason. Aside from being morally compelling, sustainable investing is increasingly seen as “full-information investing.” The burgeoning availability and sophistication of ESG data equips investors with new ways to assess corporate behavior and subsequently, risk. For investment advisors, it also presents a tremendo…
2019-11-25 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.2123, Raw Interest Score: 1.3415,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2353, Negative Sentiment 0.2118

How Asian Banks are revolutionizing the customer onboarding


As per a report from Forbes1, from 1980 to 2010, the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean banking industries’ assets expanded 20, 15 and 13 fold respectively. And, as per One Road research2, post 2010 the Asian banking markets have demonstrated continuous and consistent growth as compared to their counterparts in US & Europe.

The banking landscape has been changing very significantly in response to the evolving forces of customer exp…
2019-11-26 10:45:52 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.2026, Raw Interest Score: 1.3360,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2712, Negative Sentiment 0.1595

This news clip post is produced algorithmically based upon CloudQuant’s list of sites and focus items we find interesting. We used natural language processing (NLP) to determine an interest score, and to calculate the sentiment of the linked article using the Loughran and McDonald Sentiment Word Lists.

If you would like to add your blog or website to our search crawler, please email We welcome all contributors.

This news clip and any CloudQuant comment is for information and illustrative purposes only. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding a course of action. This information is provided with the understanding that CloudQuant is not acting in a fiduciary or advisory capacity under any contract with you, or any applicable law or regulation. You are responsible to make your own independent decision with respect to any course of action based on the content of this post.