Alternative Data News. 25, March 2020

March 03, 2020

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.


Week by Week telemetry (traffic) Changes in Europe

Last week Buzzfeed News and the Los Angeles Times featured street-level visualizations of how COVID-19 is affecting traffic patterns in major cities around the world. The visualizations were generated from Mapbox Traffic data.
For this post, we dug further into our telemetry data to show how much and where movement and local travel patterns have changed around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mapbox telemetry data comprises 16 billion anonymous location points a day which we collect and aggregate for the purposes of improving the map, observing real-time traffic, and predicting traffic based on historical observations. Because we only collect telemetry from moving devices, not stationary ones, telemetry data also allows us to observe large-scale changes in movement.

Read the full story…

CloudQuant Thoughts : The markets may recover because of a temporary steriod injection of cash but until the people of Europe and the world start moving around again, profits can only fall.

RavenPack makes their COVID-19 Global News Monitor Dashboard open access

Given the extraordinary number of requests we received, RavenPack has made public its COVID-19 news monitoring dashboard. The COVID-19 Global News Monitor tracks the latest info on the novel coronavirus and measures the current levels of panic, misinformation, and other topics conveyed in the media.

You may access the dashboard here : RavenPack Coronavirus Dashboard

CloudQuant Thoughts : Discerning the #covid19 virus news vs hype is difficult. Ravenpack’s dashboards the sentiment with hype, fake news, sentiment, and panic indexes. We are glad to be one of their clients.

Hedge funds are using these 10 alt-data sources to gain an investing edge as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on global markets

With companies revising their forecasts, and governments scrambling to put out up-to-date statistics, more investors are turning to alternative data to gauge the impact of the global spread of the coronavirus.

The top datasets identified by BattleFin’s Tim Harrington include supply-chain tracking information, social-media-sentiment analysis, and web-traffic data.

“Traditional information and data isn’t timely enough,” the founder of Eagle Alpha…
2020-03-23 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 7.1179, Raw Interest Score: 1.9312,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0386, Negative Sentiment 0.1159

CloudQuant Thoughts : Since the start, this Virus has demonstrated the value of AltData and thinking outside the box when looking at tracking data options.

Coronavirus Has Slashed Global Air Pollution. This Interactive Map Shows How.

The covid-19 pandemic has changed the world, grinding to a halt increasingly large geographic areas and portions of the economy in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.

The impacts have been profound on the ground, but government-mandated lockdowns have also remade the atmosphere. Satellite data from China, the first epicenter of the outbreak, and Italy, the second hot spot, have shown big drops in pollution following lockdowns that limited the movement of people and goods and factories’ ability to produce stuff. With the pandemic now becoming increasingly prevalent in the U.S., Americans have already started moving less as mayors and governors have turned to similar measures.

In an effort to track the impacts, Earther assembled an interactive map to explore the changes in air pollution not just in the U.S. but globally. The map runs on Google Earth Engine and uses data collected by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite, which circles the Earth capturing various types of data. It includes four snapshots from December 2019 through March 20, 2020. The Sentinel satellite data shows nitrogen dioxide, which is a handy proxy for human activity.

2020-03-25 23:53:00+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.3744, Raw Interest Score: 0.7422,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0412, Negative Sentiment 0.2474

CloudQuant Thoughts : Not a lot of data points on this interactive map but it gives you an idea of the data available to track the downturn in the economy. HOWEVER, the market has seen a major downturn as a result of the Corona Virus outbreak but no amount of pollution / traffic tracking / Infection tracking will help you if you do not also track more traditional data such as FED activity. None of these new data sources could have prepared you for the Fed backstop that took place this week. All signals would have said the market was headed down not up. Be careful out there.

Forecasting In A Time Of Rapid Change: Tips For CIOs And Tech Vendor CEOs In Charting The COVID-19 Outlook

Every CIO operates budget plans, and every tech vendor prepares revenue projections. One of my primary jobs at Forrester is to prepare our tech market sizing and forecasts, which I hope they use as inputs into these plans. At this time, when the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced massive uncertainties about the future, preparing forecasts has become increasingly difficult, so I thought I would share with our clients my tips and techniques in preparing tech market forecasts in this fast-changing environment.

2020-03-23 16:52:49-04:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.3585, Raw Interest Score: 0.8860,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1181, Negative Sentiment 0.1181

CloudQuant Thoughts : I am astonished at how many people (including this article) are lauding the John Hopkins website as a great way to track this virus outbreak. I have no doubt that their tracking technology is excellent but I cannot be alone in thinking that their data presentation is woefully inadequate. The main data point required by most people is not the running total infected, it is the rate of increase. Sure NY has 55k cases today but did it increase by more in the last 24 hours than the previous 24 hours or by less. That data is impossible to obtain from this website. A slightly better website was created by 17 year old Avi Schiffmann, you have to wait for the individual states to report but then at least you know how much it has gone up in the last 24 hours. The current best source of trend data is, as always, the SubReddit DataIsBeautiful. Head there to see how lots of data scientists are wrangling this Corona Virus data in order to make it more rapidly digestible. The animated gif at the top of this weeks blog post was found on this subreddit.

How Hedge Funds Are Profiting From Your Data

The Full Extent of How Your Personal Data is Being (Mis)used : You are going to the supermarket for groceries; on your shopping list, you have fruits, chocolate, and paper towels. While this is a simple purchase, the data gathered from this transaction is anything but simple. This transaction creates a detailed dataset that includes your demographic profile, what you are buying, and where you are shopping. The same customers who shopped that day will have their data aggregated with yours and turned into a report to be sold.

So who’s the buyer? It’s likely to be a hedge fund. Hedge funds are using this type of consumer data to get an information edge. Often consumers are not aware of how their everyday activities are being collected and fed through complex computer models that boost hedge funds’ alphas or returns in excess of market benchmarks.

Today we want to explore the full extent of how personal data is gathered and used by hedge funds.
2020-03-25 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 7.0276, Raw Interest Score: 2.6374,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1282, Negative Sentiment 0.0549

Learn to Optimize Algorithms in Our New Algorithm Complexity Course

Algorithms are at the center of almost any programming job. And particularly in the world of data engineering, using efficient algorithms is important enough that it’s a common topic to be quizzed about in job interviews.

Algorithm Complexity is the latest course in our Data Engineer career path. It adds five all-new missions and a completely new guided project aimed at helping you master the assessment and implementation of efficient algorithms to fit your use case.

This course requires a Dataquest Premium subscription (which is currently available for 50% off , although that offer ends soon).

2020-03-24 18:52:11+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.9024, Raw Interest Score: 1.5943,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1993, Negative Sentiment 0.0399

Driving Good Data Management Across the Enterprise

Data Management develops in stages across the enterprise, according to the DATAVERSITY® Trends in Data Management Report. One or a few teams take the lead doing Data Management, ensuring successful data knowledge, protection, access, and value for projects or products. Then the good practices stay with that team or project, while others miss out on this knowledge. This problem seems to be intensifying.

2020-03-24 07:35:27+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.6679, Raw Interest Score: 2.2444,
Positive Sentiment: 0.6234, Negative Sentiment 0.1974

FIX Aims To Reduce Pain Points in ESG Data

FIX Trading Community, the non-profit standards body, aims to make it easier for the financial industry to use environmental, social and governance data as asset managers could spend roughly $554m ($515m) for ESG data next year.

Rebecca Healey, global head of market structure & strategy at Liquidnet and co-chair of the FIX Trading Community’s EMEA regulatory subcommittee, told Markets Media that the group can provide a backbone of how new data fields are defined, the assumptions that are made and the reports that end-investors find useful so each market participant does not have to reinvent the wheel.

“The organisation provided the same service for MiFID II and saved the industry hundreds of millions of dollars,” she added. “FIX helped solve the pain points between data providers and the buy side.”
2020-03-23 17:45:21+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.4131, Raw Interest Score: 1.7881,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1601, Negative Sentiment 0.0801

Ascend.io Expands Its Unified Data Engineering Platform

A new press release states, “Ascend.io, the data engineering company, today announced it has expanded the Ascend Unified Data Engineering Platform with the addition of Ascend Govern, a first of its kind suite of tracking, reporting, and security capabilities for a more granular understanding of how data is being used throughout an organization. Ascend Govern records and permanently maintains an in-depth understanding of the linkages between code, data, …
2020-03-25 07:15:24+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.1654, Raw Interest Score: 2.0508,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0446, Negative Sentiment 0.1337

The Chief Data Officer and the Chief Digital Officer: Work Together, Not Apart

Data vs. digital: That’s a big tension within many organizations.

Chief Data Officer s and Chief Digital Officers don’t always agree about some important things, said Joe Caserta, president of consulting firm Caserta, during his DATAVERSITY® Enterprise Data World Conference presentation titled Building a Foundation for Disruption and Advanced Analytics. What’s the disconnect between the two roles that share the CDO acronym?

2020-03-19 07:35:13+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.7915, Raw Interest Score: 1.5427,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2160, Negative Sentiment 0.1388

Tech lenders push for a piece of the coronavirus, small-business bailout

Tech-focused lenders are lobbying to be part of a government stimulus plan for businesses hurting from the coronavirus slowdown.

Financial Innovation Now — an industry group representing Square, PayPal, Intuit, Stripe and other non-bank finance companies — sent a letter to Congress on Friday asking that their members be included in any emergency U.S. government funding.

2020-03-23 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.7688, Raw Interest Score: 1.2968,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1441, Negative Sentiment 0.2522

6 Spectacular Reasons You Must Master the Data Sciences in 2020

The data sciences in 2020 are thriving and growing. There’s never been a better time to study them and make them part of your business. The global demand for big data is surging. It will be worth $274 billion within the next two years. It is understandable that many computer science majors are considering pursuing careers in this evolving field. But is it really right for you?

Is the Booming Big Data Field Right for You? Everyone has heard about Data Science in 2020. But not many people understand what it really is and how it’s going to change the world. It’s a skill that you would want to learn this year considering how its demand is growing. The field might already be too saturated before you can enter the profession. However, this doesn’t mean you should jump right in without any research. First, you should learn how Data Science is relevant to you, whether you will like, and if there are opportunities for you. Let’s start by first understanding what this field is, and then we will discuss why you need to learn it.
2020-03-17 20:26:08+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.5872, Raw Interest Score: 1.5685,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2811, Negative Sentiment 0.0888

Right Data Selection Makes A Right Impact On Your Analysis

Analyzing your data right and selecting the right data are mutually dependent, in fact, this is a key activity to ensure if there are apt data samples coming through, which will eventually lead to success. Getting your data right is not possible as it is user-driven, however, getting the right data for your analysis is absolutely in the control of a data analyst!

Data is often biased, mainly due to the nature of the business, geographies operated, seasonal variations and multiple other factors, you shouldn’t ever let this biasness flow into the data selection sample.

Let’s assume, your business is taking a survey to launch a new product in geography you have never been before, how would you arrive at a decision? What sort of sampling techniques would help? Biasness on survey results might lead to an incorrect decision as we sway around the negativity found in the information, eventually making bad decisions and launching an incorrect product, or possibly the bigger mistake that can further impact the revenue. It is highly important for data analysts to be involved in this process as this part of the activity is picked up with loads of considerations.

2020-03-25 13:00:00+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.2244, Raw Interest Score: 1.4974,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0998, Negative Sentiment 0.4742

Amazon and Microsoft join White House team to unleash high-performance computing on COVID-19

Less than a week after the White House’s Office of Science and Technology organized a consortium to focus the power of artificial intelligence on addressing the coronavirus outbreak, another tech team is joining the fight — this time, armed with supercomputers and the cloud. The COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium includes the Seattle area’s powerhouses of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, as well as IBM and Google Cloud.

There are also academic partners (MIT and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), federal agency partners (NASA and the National Science Foundation) and five Department of Energy labs (Argonne, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia). Among the resources being brought to bear is the world’s most powerful supercomputer, the Oak Ridge Summit, which packs a 200-petaflop punch.

2020-03-23 03:47:16+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.1266, Raw Interest Score: 1.2308,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0754, Negative Sentiment 0.0754

Now is the time for cash-rich Big Tech to step up and save the world

As the world grinds to a halt, production lines close and shelves empty, one breed of company has been stockpiling long before Covid-19 made itself known. Big Tech firms are among the richest in the world, holding some the largest reserves of offshore cash and investments. Alphabet, for instance, has $121bn (£98.8bn) in cash and short-term securities, according to data from FactSet. Apple has $100bn.

These huge reserves will help tech firms pay suppliers and keep their supply chains afloat during what now could be months of disruption. But they could also put their piles of cash to broader use, and they must, in order to help governments and economies find ways to fight the coronavirus pandemic….
2020-03-17 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.9802, Raw Interest Score: 1.3201,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0000, Negative Sentiment 0.1650

New CEO pay limits loom as investors confront coronavirus crisis

The havoc wrought by the coronavirus crisis could give investors leverage to put new limits on CEO pay packages and link them more closely to a range of social and environmental issues at companies’ annual meetings this spring.

Executive compensation is among issues expected to dominate AGMs around the world, many to be held virtually via video-conferencing, as management and shareholders weigh the impact of the pandemic on their businesses.

Even before the economic shock, many companies were linking executives’ paychecks to new measures. Now there is more political and reputational risk; bumper pay packages for CEOs, who at the top level can earn hundreds of times more than average workers, could prove a sensitive issue for companies at a time when thousands of people are dying, health systems are buckling and millions of people are losing their jobs.

2020-03-25 14:12:22+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.8681, Raw Interest Score: 1.2021,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0812, Negative Sentiment 0.2112

Facebook, Google discuss sharing smartphone data with government to fight coronavirus, but there are risks

The U.S. government is currently in discussions with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about the possibility of using location and movement data from Americans’ smartphones to combat coronavirus. Officials believe that the data they can glean from smartphones could help them decipher where the next flood of cases will be and ultimately where to allocate additional health resources. “Focusing on only privacy while ignoring public health would be a mistake,” said Daniel Castro, vice president at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Not everyone agrees.

The disclosure that the U.S. government is currently in discussions with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about the possibility of using location and movement data from Americans’ smartphones to combat coronavirus has some people on edge about potential privacy and cybersecurity issues. Some technology advocates believe the effort could help change the narrative for these companies when it comes to data privacy.
2020-03-19 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.7404, Raw Interest Score: 1.0703,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1189, Negative Sentiment 0.2703

Smartphone location data could be used to track social distancing

This morning, millions of Britons woke up to an unprecedented text message from the Government. “New rules now in force: you must stay at home.” Mobile operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – had all responded to the Government’s request to send a mass text to the British public to alert them of the UK’s shut down of public life.

But behind the scenes, operators are having to consider an even broader use of their services. Data collected from customers could be used to check whether social distancing measures – that people must not leave their homes and must stay two meters away from people – are being followed. The Government is hoping to use data gathered as mobile phones connect to, or “ping”, their network to create movement maps that can tell how well citizens are responding to various distancing and isolation measures….

2020-03-24 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.6419, Raw Interest Score: 1.2827,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0513, Negative Sentiment 0.1539

5 Ingenious Ways To Use Big Data For Customer Engagement

Big data is changing the direction of our economy in unprecedented ways. Every business should look forways to monetize big data and use it to optimize your business model.

The number of companies using big data is growing at an accelerated rate. One poll found that 53% of businesses were using big data analytics in 2017. This figure has presumably risen in the years since.

However, companies need to use big data wisely. One of the smartest ways to leverage big data is by improving customer engagement.

2020-03-24 15:36:05+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.3780, Raw Interest Score: 0.9187,
Positive Sentiment: 0.4083, Negative Sentiment 0.0510

Coronavirus could kill the tech backlash

On a financial level, Silicon Valley’s tech giants have not had a good pandemic. Tech’s big five have lost a combined $1.3 trillion (£1.1 trillion) in market value in the last month. But in the court of public opinion, coronavirus represents an opportunity for their redemption.

In the last couple of years, trust in major tech companies has fallen to record lows. Facebook and Twitter have been accused of being havens for foreign election meddling…
2020-03-22 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.3040, Raw Interest Score: 0.7207,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2745, Negative Sentiment 0.5148

Rich Barton lays out Zillow’s coronavirus playbook: Freeze hiring; cut expenses; pause home-buying

“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”

Warren Buffett uses this phrase in shareholder letters to describe how companies get exposed during less-than-ideal circumstances.

Zillow Group CEO Rich Barton alluded to the wisdom on an investor call this week to explain how the Seattle real estate giant plans to weather the storm amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Coronavirus Live Updates: The latest COVID-19 developments in Seattle a…
2020-03-25 05:24:22+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.2319, Raw Interest Score: 0.7826,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2899, Negative Sentiment 0.3188

Data Analytics Provides New Insights on Email Marketing Metrics

as developed at MIT back in 1965, long before the existence of big data. However, big data is changing the future of email in countless ways.

One of the biggest developments is with email marketing. Data analytics is changing the future of email marketing.

What is the Future of Email Marketing in a World Shaped by Big Data

You wouldn’t run PPC ads unless you knew the conversion rate, right? New big data developments are making it easier for companies to get the highest ROI from their marketing budgets.

Liga Bizune is a renowned data analytics expert that has written about the benefits of big data in ema…
2020-03-17 12:04:08+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 1.2253, Raw Interest Score: 0.5601,
Positive Sentiment: 0.6126, Negative Sentiment 0.1925


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.

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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.