Robots go haywire in a mechanical market



Review: Beyond Mechanical Markets: Asset Price Swings, Risk, and the Role of the State, US$22.97 (Dh84.35) Amazon.com, by Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg

If the central argument of Beyond Mechanical Markets were accepted, we would effectively have to discard decades of economic and market research. This would involve throwing away mathematical models with which central banks, the IMF and many other prestigious bodies make their predictions and decisions.

Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg, two professors at US universities, offer a fairly compelling case that just such a brash rethinking is necessary. While early modern economists such as John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek understood properly the limits of economics as a forecasting tool, the authors say time and technology ultimately led to wide acceptance of mathematical models that hinged on the presumption that people behave rationally and uniformly.

This, of course, is not the case - people buy and sell stocks, for example, for reasons that are inherently unpredictable. They also change their strategies and outlooks based on what Frydman and Goldberg term "nonroutine" events that mathematical models do not and indeed cannot account for. When people invest, they first get what relevant information they can, and then, facing an unknowable future, take their best stab at it.

So how should economists confront a chaotic market composed of humans armed with varying degrees of information and insight? Frydman and Goldberg do not yet have bountiful answers, aside from proposing a Contingent Market Hypothesis to replace the old Efficient Market Hyphothesis.

The new approach scraps the simple formulation that undergirded the old one: that market prices, on the whole, accurately reflect the "correct" value of the stock, bond or other security in question. In its place comes a view of markets as an agglomeration of understandings and philosophies that vary over time in response to unpredictable events.

It is hard to argue with eschewing mechanical models of markets that treat people as mere robots and the future as a problem to solve rather than an uncertainty to stare in awe at.

But while Beyond Mechanical Markets is an instructive look at the nature of markets and forecasts, its railing against the fragile underpinnings of conventional economics is facile. Its authors do recommend a few real-world responses, including having regulators announce price ranges they deem acceptable as a means of containing asset price bubbles.

What other major adjustments in policy spring from the Contingent Market Hypothesis, though, remain to be seen.

match info

Chelsea 2
Willian (13'), Ross Barkley (64')

Liverpool 0

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.

The specs

Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbo

Transmission: CVT

Power: 170bhp

Torque: 220Nm

Price: Dh98,900

LEADERBOARD

-19 T Fleetwood (Eng); -18 R McIlroy (NI), T Lawrence (SA); -16 J Smith; -15 F Molinari (Ita); -14 Z Lombard (SA), S Crocker (US)

Selected: -11 A Meronk (Pol); -10 E Ferguson (Sco); -8 R Fox (NZ) -7 L Donald (Eng); -5 T McKibbin (NI), N Hoejgaard (Den)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

Champion v Champion (PFL v Bellator)

Heavyweight: Renan Ferreira v Ryan Bader
Middleweight: Impa Kasanganay v Johnny Eblen
Featherweight: Jesus Pinedo v Patricio Pitbull
Catchweight: Ray Cooper III v Jason Jackson

Showcase Bouts
Heavyweight: Bruno Cappelozza (former PFL World champ) v Vadim Nemkov (former Bellator champ)
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos (PFL title contender) v Yoel Romero (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Clay Collard (PFL title contender) v AJ McKee (former Bellator champ)
Featherweight: Gabriel Braga (PFL title contender) v Aaron Pico (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Biaggio Ali Walsh (pro debut) v Emmanuel Palacios (pro debut)
Women’s Lightweight: Claressa Shields v Kelsey DeSantis
Featherweight: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Edukondal Rao
Amateur Flyweight: Malik Basahel v Vinicius Pereira

MATCH INFO

Manchester United 1 (Greenwood 77')

Everton 1 (Lindelof 36' og)

Retirement funds heavily invested in equities at a risky time

Pension funds in growing economies in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have a sharply higher percentage of assets parked in stocks, just at a time when trade tensions threaten to derail markets.

Retirement money managers in 14 geographies now allocate 40 per cent of their assets to equities, an 8 percentage-point climb over the past five years, according to a Mercer survey released last week that canvassed government, corporate and mandatory pension funds with almost $5 trillion in assets under management. That compares with about 25 per cent for pension funds in Europe.

The escalating trade spat between the US and China has heightened fears that stocks are ripe for a downturn. With tensions mounting and outcomes driven more by politics than economics, the S&P 500 Index will be on course for a “full-scale bear market” without Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts, Citigroup’s global macro strategy team said earlier this week.

The increased allocation to equities by growth-market pension funds has come at the expense of fixed-income investments, which declined 11 percentage points over the five years, according to the survey.

Hong Kong funds have the highest exposure to equities at 66 per cent, although that’s been relatively stable over the period. Japan’s equity allocation jumped 13 percentage points while South Korea’s increased 8 percentage points.

The money managers are also directing a higher portion of their funds to assets outside of their home countries. On average, foreign stocks now account for 49 per cent of respondents’ equity investments, 4 percentage points higher than five years ago, while foreign fixed-income exposure climbed 7 percentage points to 23 per cent. Funds in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are among those seeking greater diversification in stocks and fixed income.

• Bloomberg

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Other simple ideas for sushi rice dishes

Cheat’s nigiri 
This is easier to make than sushi rolls. With damp hands, form the cooled rice into small tablet shapes. Place slices of fresh, raw salmon, mackerel or trout (or smoked salmon) lightly touched with wasabi, then press, wasabi side-down, onto the rice. Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger.

Easy omurice
This fusion dish combines Asian fried rice with a western omelette. To make, fry cooked and cooled sushi rice with chopped vegetables such as carrot and onion and lashings of sweet-tangy ketchup, then wrap in a soft egg omelette.

Deconstructed sushi salad platter 
This makes a great, fuss-free sharing meal. Arrange sushi rice on a platter or board, then fill the space with all your favourite sushi ingredients (edamame beans, cooked prawns or tuna, tempura veggies, pickled ginger and chilli tofu), with a dressing or dipping sauce on the side.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed


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