Modern Trader’s 40 key moments that made the markets

December 18, 2015 01:00 PM

5 key moments of 2015 

Crashing Oil Prices: The global economy is still in the second chapter of a story about the effect of falling oil prices on the budgets of producer nations. Falling prices pushed Canada and Russia into recession. U.S. production has cratered and companies are failing under a mountain of toxic debt. The International Energy Agency says that oil prices are likely not going to tick above $80 per barrel until 2020. What will that do to nations like Iran, Libya and Russia, which need prices to be above $110 just to break even on production costs?

Bill Ackman’s Blues: In 2014, he was the Comeback Kid as Pershing Square returned more than 40%. But 2015 has been brutal for Ackman between his investments in Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Platform Specialty Products. He will survive, but the sobering nature of the markets will put additional spotlights on his performance heading into 2016.

The Dollar’s Surge Hits Home: The Federal Reserve is going one way, and central banks around the globe the other. The dollar bull market remained strong this year, and even a minor bump by the Fed in interest rates will fuel more money into Treasuries. But those gains have consequences. Countless U.S. firms cited a strong dollar as the biggest strain on their earnings from abroad.

China Currency Manipulation: No single force has fueled greater offshoring of U.S. jobs more during the last 30 years than currency devaluation abroad. August’s devaluation efforts from China and its six cuts to interest rates during the last year will have a lasting impact on global markets. However, these actions could lead the IMF to reject China’s long-standing desire to establish the Yuan as a reserve currency.

JP Morgan Hack Attack: It happened in 2014, but its ramifications will live on for a long time. In mid-November government officials announced the indictment of three hackers accused of the largest cyber attack ever on a U.S. financial firm. The hack generated several hundred million dollars in illegal profit and exposed personal data of more than 100 million people.

Disruptors: The Fintech 7

Neurensic: The company’s new self-learning technology CORE automatically recognizes “disruptive trading” practices and provides compliance assessments that address complex trading behaviors. Risk managers rejoice: Less market harm, reduced potential liability.

DataMinr: The stage is set for DataMinr to disrupt the financial news media industry. It is best-in-class at separating the signal from the noise in a sea of information. Its proprietary feed offers breaking market updates long before the market reacts to reports from Bloomberg or CNBC. The company also could be a force in breaking news as the 2016 election approaches.

Tiingo: Rishi Singh continues to build a fascinating technology that drives a truck through weaknesses of retail-source Yahoo! Finance and brings advanced metrics and tools to retail investors at a minimal cost. The “set your own price” concept has been a success, and the philosophy of “actively do good” has been embraced by the growing community. But the real value is in the technology and data feeds. A decade of structured data, live news feeds that eliminate Click Bait, comparative analytics, stock screeners, stress testing and risk management tools. Did we mention that it’s only been one person building this impressive suite?

Duco: The London-based firm is disrupting the reconciliation process of trading. Using artificial intelligence, Duco’s Cube product matches hundreds of thousands of trades in an instant. As of September, 26 financial firms were using the company’s customizable system for reconciliation purposes.

Ascent: A brilliant compliance engine that started operations in 2015, the service helps financial companies handle the flow of new CFTC rules. After answering a series of questions, a firm receives a to-do-list from Ascent’s software and produces a checklist of documents that need to be filed and rules with which the firm must comply.

TipRanks: When it comes to trade recommendations, no platform provides more transparency and accountability in the markets. The firm’s platform tracks recommendations of Wall Street analysts and bloggers, and offers the performance of corporate insiders to measure the profitability of each transaction. Know who is offering good insight, and who is just making noise.

Estimize: Why are investors still following Wall Street consensus earnings expectations? Research proves that Estimize’s earnings forecasts are 70% more accurate than Wall Street, reinforcing that opening up forecasting to amateurs and professionals alike can be a definite advantage.

Page 1 of 4
About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is the Managing Editor of the Alpha Pages and the Features Editor of Modern Trader. An author and Baltimore native, he earned a BS in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University, an MA in Economic Policy (Security Studies) from The Johns Hopkins University, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University.

Editor-in-Chief of Modern Trader, Daniel Collins is a 25-year veteran of the futures industry having worked on the trading floors of both the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.