Alternative Data News. 10, June 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.


Corporate Flight Tracker from Reddit – Data is Beautiful

Data Sources : FAA Registry, Open-Sky Network

Tools : Python

I built a tool that tracks flights by executive private jets. Data that hedge funds buy in order to predict corporate mergers is now available to you for free.

In April 2019, a jet owned by Occidental Petroleum Corp. touched down in Omaha. Two days later, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway made a $10 billion investment in the company.

Hedge funds have been using corporate flight data to predict M&A activity and investments for years, but existing data providers are too expensive for non-institutional investors, sometimes costing upwards of $100,000 a year.

I built this free dashboard using publicly-available data from the FAA and the Open-Sky Network.

The way that the planes are tracked is by recording information sent from their ADS-B, which periodically broadcasts the plane’s position. This can be used to calculate the plane’s velocity, direction, and it is how we are able to accurately estimate points of departure and arrival.

2020-06-08 Read the full story… 

CloudQuant Thoughts : Alternative Data is not the exclusive resource of experts. QuiverQuant was set up by a couple of students in February 2020 to take advantage of freely available data and present it in an easy to view and use way. Also check out their tracker of Robin Hood users’ trading activity. Kudos!

Data science in the age of accelerations – Diary of a Data Scientist

How data scientists, their managers, and their executives can stay on the accelerating treadmill of data science.

In 2004, Google published a white paper describing MapReduce, an innovative programming model for parallel processing of large data. As a data scientist in 2013, my company paid for me to take a course on MapReduce. But by 2014, Google had abandoned MapReduce as its primary processing model for large data, leading to questions like, is MapReduce already obsolete or outdated? Is there any benefit of using it over newer alternatives? Is there still a future for MapReduce?

In only 7 years as a data scientist, I’ve watched many technologies come and go. Some, like MapReduce, I got to on their decay into obsolescence. Others, like computational notebooks, I caught on as a practitioner and continue using to this day. Yet for new ones, like deep learning frameworks, it’s the data scientists I manage who have had the time and exposure to master them while I only offer strategic advice on their implementation and deployment. Part of the accelerated lifecycle of these technologies is due to the infancy of data science and my progression into management, but much of it reflects a radical, structural shift in how our world works. As Thomas Friedman argues in Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, the world is experiencing a series of accelerations — across technology, globalization, and climate change — that require people to adapt more and faster as the world changes across many domains. And data science as a profession is no exception.
2020-06-10 02:48:54.684000+00:00 Read the full story…

Weighted Interest Score: 3.7581, Raw Interest Score: 2.2222,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1434, Negative Sentiment 0.2509

CloudQuant Thoughts : An interesting article, who’s main thrust is that most Data Scientists know next to nothing about the subjects they are tasked to investigate, they learn on the job. And that the most successful companies recognize that and allow their data scientists breathing room and support to both learn and educate. An interesting article, pity it is behind the Medium.com paywall.

Coatue’s $350 million quant hedge fund pulled money out of the market in a move that exposes the dangers of data-driven trades

At billionaire Philippe Laffont’s Coatue Management, a new $350 million quant fund significantly reduced its exposure to the markets starting in early April, sources tell Business Insider. The fund relies on real-time data feeds to inform its investment process, but the global shutdown that slammed many quant funds distorted the feeds. The fund is still active and trading, but not at the level it was before the pandemic hit, sources said.
2020-06-03 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 6.0562, Raw Interest Score: 2.4030,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0000, Negative Sentiment 0.4343

CloudQuant Thoughts : You are only as good as your historical data, and if current market activity bears no relation to anything in history then you cannot complain that the data driven model didn’t work!

Hedge funds continue fightback, as equity managers soar amid lockdown-easing and activists seize on dislocation

Hedge funds are continuing to recover from sharp losses suffered earlier this year, notching up positive returns for the second successive month in May as economies slowly reopen following the coronavirus lockdown, new data from Hedge Fund Research shows. All long/short equity hedge fund strategies clawed back profits last month, including sector-specialist managers such as technology and materials, while activist and special situations funds are making hay amid widespread global market dislocations.

The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index – which tracks the performance of more than 1,400 single manager funds of various strategies globally – gained 2.5 per cent in May, with equity hedge funds and event driven strategies leading the pack. The rise follows a 4.79 per cent advance in April – the index’s first positive return of 2020 and its biggest monthly rise since the 5.15 per cent gain in May 2009.
2020-06-08 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 5.3640, Raw Interest Score: 2.4377,
Positive Sentiment: 0.4382, Negative Sentiment 0.3561

CloudQuant Thoughts : As one rises, another falls, Zero Sum Game. Discretionary Traders and Hedge Fund Managers have been able to spot and quickly adapt to the new normal. No model could predict the massive injection of cash by the FED into Bonds (and now Bond related ETFs) but human discretionary traders were able pivot rapidly to the new normal.

Online Brokers Launch New Products and Features as Markets Rally

While bullish retail traders continued to place online transactions at a record pace amid a historical rally for stocks, online brokers and fintech developers are rolling out new products and features. Early statistics for trading in May show continued trading surges compared to the same month in 2019, though they are flat compared to April.

More Outages on Big Trading Days – A surge in trading the morning of June 5 caused a number of problems for online trading platforms, peaking around 9:30AM Eastern time. Downdetector reported1 issues at Charles Schwab, E*TRADE, Fidelity, Merrill, Robinhood, and TD Ameritrade. On Twitter, customers of M1 Finance, and thinkorswim were complaining. Customers who lodged complaints with their brokers on Twitter were asked to call support lines.

2020-06-05 22:07:22.920000+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.0889, Raw Interest Score: 1.4826,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0710, Negative Sentiment 0.2042

CloudQuant Thoughts : Most traditional software development takes advantage of new hardware power to the maximum of its benefit. Stock Trading is one of those unusual beasts where, if you do follow this model, come the Grey/Black Swan events, your software WILL FAIL.

What Investors Should Look For In AI Startups?

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically deranged the economic activity globally, and the startup ecosystem hasn’t been spared as well. Majority of them have been struggling with their cash inflows as investors have been hesitant in spending their money, which, in turn, has diminished startups’ ability to continue their businesses. In fact, in a recent NASSCOM report, it has been revealed that approximately 3 to 40 percent of the tech startups have temporarily paused their business operations or are scrambling to continue it all together. A lot of this could be attributed to the short runway time that majority of these tech startups come with.

However, this pandemic has been a hopeful prospect for AI startups as the majority of the investors are currently looking to tap into the opportunities this disruption has created. With businesses getting halted amid this lockdown, many of them, from a range of industries, are relying on data science to keep up their relevance in the market. Many of them are also embracing artificial intelligence to automate their processes, cut their costs and stable their finances amid this crisis.
2020-06-10 02:30:00+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.7135, Raw Interest Score: 2.0300,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1986, Negative Sentiment 0.3199

CloudQuant Thoughts : Quoting a Barclays report, “40% of AI startups, in reality, do not use artificial intelligence in the core of their business process”. “26% of companies only use AI for chatbots, whereas other 21% only use it for cyber-attack protection”. This is annoying yet it should not be a surprise and should provide succor to those of us in honest AI and ML research.


ESG Section

Are Sustainable Investment Options Coming to Your 401(k)?

Go green in more ways than one with responsible retirement investing.

You recycle, ride a bike whenever possible, avoid products with excessive packaging, and never let the faucet run while brushing your teeth. Given the opportunity, you’d love to align your eco-conscious approach with your financial goals by supporting companies that prioritize sustainability. But the last time you looked, your 401(k) fund options ranged from target-date funds to index funds — without a hint of sustainability to be found.

The good news is that may be changing. Sustainable investing is on the rise, and only partly because more people care about corporations’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. The other factor is an increasing recognition that companies with solid ESG track records can also produce competitive financial results.
2020-06-09 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.1344, Raw Interest Score: 1.9846,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2426, Negative Sentiment 0.2426

CloudQuant Thoughts : “According to Morningstar, 89% of its ESG indexes outperformed their broader market counterparts in the first quarter of 2020”. 401k’s are still stuck in the past mindset that Environment = Poor Financial Performance. There is no doubt that the current and upcoming generations are more aggressive about the Environment, Social and Governance behavior of the companies they work for and buy from. CloudQuant seeks out high quality data sets, tests them and makes them available (with source code and access to data so the results can be confirmed). Head over to our Catalog page for more information.

ESG Fund Ratings: Not Perfect, but Still Valuable

Critics of environmental, social and governance fund ratings often cite numerous reasons as to why the ratings lack validity. While the ratings aren’t perfect, we explore some of the reasons why we believe they are worthwhile and how they may continue to improve.

Rating ESG Funds – One common argument regarding the validity of ESG ratings is that there are hundreds of ESG data, analytics and research providers, and that their scores are sometimes conflicting, making it difficult to draw conclusions. The reality is that there are only a handful of prominent ESG research firms, most notably Sustainalytics and MSCI.

These firms have long played an important role in gathering and assessing information about companies’ ESG practices. This has been and remains a considerable challenge. Company disclosures on ESG practices have always been voluntary, are rarely audited, and are not standardized. But the quality and quantity of ESG data continue to evolve and improve. And, as companies realize that risks to their brands and reputations could harm their social license to operate, they are increasingly disclosing their ESG practices. In fact, in 2011, only 20% of companies in the S&P 500 published a sustainability report, increasing to 86% in 2018.
2020-06-09 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.7071, Raw Interest Score: 1.5094,
Positive Sentiment: 0.2012, Negative Sentiment 0.3019

Investors Don’t Want to Shun Companies With Sustainability Issues: Survey

One in three U.S. investors in a survey released Monday by Newton Investment Management said they wanted their fund managers to actively engage with management of companies with sustainability issues rather than invest just in sustainable ones.

This preference showed up a stark difference between generations, with 43% of millennials wanting engagement versus only 19% of investors older than 50.
“We believe that ESG is not a label, it’s finance 101,” Andrew Parry, head of sustainable investment at Newton Investment Management, said in a statement.

“That is, environmental, social and governance insights are not add-ons, but part of the mosaic of inputs that influence good investing decisions. That’s a message that’s resonating more and more with investors, and one we believe the study findings help to underscore.”

2020-06-09 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.6844, Raw Interest Score: 1.7802,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1695, Negative Sentiment 0.1978

Jacqueline Loh: Keeping green and impact in focus

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to the eighth AVPN Conference. I am very glad that AVPN has pressed on with this flagship event virtually in these unprecedented times.

Global investments that factor in environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations have increased by 70% between 2014 and 20185.
2020-06-10 03:44:53+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.9491, Raw Interest Score: 1.7778,
Positive Sentiment: 0.3686, Negative Sentiment 0.2060


Wilshire Liquid Alternative Index returns 1.54 per cent in May

The Wilshire Liquid Alternative Index, which provides a representative baseline for how the broad liquid alternative investment category performs, returned 1.54 per cent in May, outperforming the 1.44 per cent monthly return of the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index. The Wilshire Liquid Alternative Index family aims to deliver precise market measures for the performance of diversified liquid alternative investment strategies implemented through mutual fund structures, backed by a proprietary classification methodology.

“Markets continued to rally in May as optimism surrounding the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and the steady re-opening of the economy encouraged investors,” says Jason Schwarz, Chief Operating Officer of Wilshire Associates. The Wilshire Liquid Alternative Multi-Strategy Index, which includes both single and multi-manager funds, returned 1.36 per cent in May.

2020-06-09 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 4.7335, Raw Interest Score: 2.8711,
Positive Sentiment: 0.3501, Negative Sentiment 0.1751

Microsoft Wants To Speed Up The Growth Of Indian Agritech Startups With Azure Platform

Microsoft has announced the launch of a program for agritech startups in India that are committed to driving transformation in agriculture. The Microsoft for Agritech Startups program is designed to help startups build industry-specific solutions, scale and grow with access to deep technology, business and marketing resources.

Agritech startups in India are transforming agriculture by developing innovative digital solutions to maximize productivity, improve market linkages, increase supply chain efficiency and provide greater access to inputs for agri-businesses. In its efforts to bolster the country’s startup ecosystem, this program offers the best-in-class tech and business enablement resources to help agritech startups innovate and scale fast.

Startups can also get access to Azure FarmBeats, which can help them focus on core value-adds instead of the undifferentiated heavy lifting of data engineering. Available on the Azure Marketplace, Azure FarmBeats enables aggregation of agricultural datasets across providers and generation of actionable insights by building AI/ML models based on fused datasets.

2020-06-03 09:25:30+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.9574, Raw Interest Score: 2.2831,
Positive Sentiment: 0.4947, Negative Sentiment 0.0381

Sentieo Redistributes 10,000+ Third Bridge Research Reports • Integrity Research

San Francisco-based financial search, data and research platform, Sentieo, recently announced that it has signed a deal to enable its investor and corporate clients to access more than 10,000 of Third Bridge’s research reports through its platform.

Sentieo’s platform is designed to streamline the workflow of buy-side analysts, using AI to scan financial documents. It replicates an equity data terminal, offering data visualization, financial models, company valuation and comps tables, as well as transcripts, reported financial statements with links to notes and indexed access to key filings/presentations, all organized by ticker. The platform offers search capabilities powered by machine learning and natural language processing to sort through SEC documents, earnings call transcripts, press releases and other financial documents, now including news articles.

2020-06-08 07:30:00+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.8130, Raw Interest Score: 1.9033,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1903, Negative Sentiment 0.2474

Data Governance for 2020 and Beyond

Companies have short attention spans when it comes to data governance. Even for organizations with sustained programs, the continuous push and pull of new regulations, projects, or data and analytics investments create constant disruption. To address these expansions, data owners either search for the simple approach or re-educate on data governance 101.

Here is the truth: There is nothing simple or basic about data governance. Effective data governance grows out of data management maturity. It is why, to make progress, organizations are hiring chief data officers and activating strategic and unified data, analytics, and data governance competency centers. Data governance policies and procedures designed to herd your organization’s “data cats” require experience and expertise.
2020-06-10 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.7589, Raw Interest Score: 2.1673,
Positive Sentiment: 0.4064, Negative Sentiment 0.0339

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Artificial Intelligence?

The pros and cons of artificial intelligence are important to consider as the technology grows. Here’s what to know about it.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic these days, but it’s not a perfect technology. AI is like almost anything else in that it has both advantages and downsides. What are the pros and cons of artificial intelligence? Here’s what people bring up most often.

  1. It Boosts Efficiency
  2. It Improves Forecasting
  3. It Enhances Quality Control
  4. It Makes Humans Too Trusting in Technology
  5. It Shows Biases
  6. It Lacks Universal Ethical Standards

2020-06-08 10:30:00+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.5066, Raw Interest Score: 1.2459,
Positive Sentiment: 0.3250, Negative Sentiment 0.2979

5 Essential Papers on Sentiment Analysis

To highlight some of the work being done in the field, here are five essential papers on sentiment analysis and sentiment classification.

From virtual assistants to content moderation, sentiment analysis has a wide range of use cases. AI models that can recognize emotion and opinion have a myriad of applications in numerous industries. Therefore, there is a large growing interest in the creation of emotionally intelligent machines. The same can be said for the research being done in natural language processing (NLP). To highlight some of the work being done in the field, below are five essential papers on sentiment analysis and sentiment classification.

  1. Deep Learning for Hate Speech Detection in Tweets
  2. DepecheMood++: a Bilingual Emotion Lexicon
  3. Expressively Vulgar: The Socio-dynamics of Vulgarity
  4. Multilingual Twitter Sentiment Classification: The Role of Human Annotators
  5. MELD: A Multimodal Multi-Party Dataset for Emotion Recognition

2020-06-05 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.4408, Raw Interest Score: 1.3525,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1643, Negative Sentiment 0.0632

Xignite enhances two cloud APIs to streamline delivery of news headlines and company earnings

Xignite has enhanced two of its financial data cloud APIs. Now offering functionality built for greater speed and specificity, these APIs enable fintechs to provide their users with the ability to follow worldwide business news and track upcoming earnings announcements.

Demand for these capabilities has increased significantly since the pandemic started as Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on corporate financials.

Unlike other financial data APIs, Xignite’s APIs are cloud native and offer a robust selection of use case-based end points. These end points are ready-to-use pieces of code that developers can easily integrate into their product or app, regardless of type, amount or frequency of data, without the need for any complex integration logic. In addition, Xignite APIs offer institutional-quality data and global coverage. They are endlessly scalable, offer multiple delivery options and include flexible, use case-based pricing and unlimited usage, adding up to a transformative financial and market data solution that fintechs can leverage in countless ways to build a better experience for their end users.

2020-06-09 00:00:00 Read the full story (Hedgeweek)…
2020-06-09 14:48:54+00:00 Read the full story (TradersMagazine)…
Weighted Interest Score: 3.4215, Raw Interest Score: 1.6796,
Positive Sentiment: 0.3421, Negative Sentiment 0.1244

6 Important Big Data Future Trends, According To Experts

These big data future trends as predicted by experts are key to watch for in the coming future. Here’s what to expect down the line.

Many people agree that big data is here to stay and not a mere fad. Something that is not so clear-cut to everyday individuals concerns the future trends of big data analytics. These technologies are quickly evolving. What does that mean for the businesses that use them now or will soon?

What is big data in simple terms? It encompasses both the structured and unstructured information kept by an entity that is collectively too large for traditional systems and techniques to process. It also relates to the speed of the processing capability. Some businesses need insights in virtually real-time, and big data software can provide them, whereas traditional methods could not.

Understanding what’s ahead for big data technologies and use cases is more straightforward if people tune in to what experts have to say. Here are some glimpses into what’s possible, based on their perceptions.

  1. A Sharper Focus on Data Governance
  2. Augmented Analytics Will Speed Decision-Making
  3. Big Data Will Supplement — Not Replace — Researchers’ Work
  4. Cloud Data Will Shape Customer Experiences
  5. The Increasing Coexistence of Public and Private Clouds
  6. Cloud Technology Will Make Big Data More Accessible

2020-06-09 09:05:00+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.5419, Raw Interest Score: 1.5291,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1133, Negative Sentiment 0.0566

20 Developer Roles with Notably High Salaries

Which types of developer roles result in the biggest salaries? That’s a vital question for developers who are plotting out their career trajectory, and questioning whether they should aim for a management role at some point.

This year’s Stack Overflow Developer Survey is a good place to start. Based on 8,006 responses, the survey’s data shows that, at least in the United States, engineering managers make the most money (at an average of $152,000 per year) followed by specialists in various development categories such as data science, machine learning, and DevOps. Check out the chart:

Burning Glass also estimates the median data analyst salary at $78,676, below Stack Overflow’s numbers—but as with software engineers, data analysts’ compensation rises considerably with education and experience.

Machine learning engineer, a very highly specialized position, always seems to pay well, even for those without much experience in the workforce (presumably, they’ve learned most of the skills they need to effectively do the job in school).

2020-06-08 00:00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.4937, Raw Interest Score: 1.8644,
Positive Sentiment: 0.1271, Negative Sentiment 0.1695

IIT Madras Is Offering Stipend Up To ₹60,000 For Internship In AI Research

IIT Madras through its Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI) offers a Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship Program to aspirants who are interested in research.

Founded in 2017, the idea of Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship Program is to provide facilities for AI research to graduates to blaze a trail in the cutting-edge technologies. However, the fellowship is only for aspirants who have been graduated within the last two years. On selection, one can be involved in the internship for up to two years. The stipend varies for the internship but is between ₹40,000 to ₹60,000 per month.

To apply, aspirants would be required to submit their CV, short research proposal (300-500 words), list of interesting research areas (keywords), relevant courses completed (Coursera, NPTEL, or others), and a research proposal (300-500 words).

2020-06-09 14:10:21+00:00 Read the full story…
Weighted Interest Score: 2.3465, Raw Interest Score: 1.2987,
Positive Sentiment: 0.0999, Negative Sentiment 0.0000


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