• On Tulips and Bitcoin: Financial Bubbles Then and Now

    The more I hear Bitcoin discussed in everyday conversation as I'm standing in line at the store, the more I am convinced we've gotten ourselves stuck in a crazy time machine and have been plunked down onto the streets of Amsterdam in the 17th...
  • How and Why To Invest In Commodities

    The best assets to add to an investment portfolio are those that increase the portfolio expected return while reducing the total volatility. To find such assets, investors seek those whose returns are not perfectly correlated with the returns of the existing...
  • Why the Weakening US Dollar?

    This Financial Times video shows that the US dollar (USD) has been declining significantly this year, but the reason for the decline is not straightforward. The video offers one possible reason for the weak dollar: the Fed's low probability of raising...
  • What is a Futures Contract

    A futures contract is an agreement between two parties to buy or sell some asset at a pre-specified price on a future settlement date. The video below provides a little more detail about what goes into a futures contract. For discussion 1. What is...
  • What Is Driving Gold?

    Why is gold so valuable? We can turn to science for part of the answer: Of the 118 elements we are now down to just eight contenders: platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium, along with the old familiars, gold and silver. These are...
  • Explaining the Trading Scene in Trading Places

    Dan Ackroyd explains the frenzy in the final scene of the 80s movie, Trading Places. The trading pit depicted in the movie has long been replaced by electronic trading, and the shouting and hand waving is now a relic of the past. Back then, buyers and...
  • Trading Corn Futures and Options

    Corn is grown all over the world and is an important crop for consumers and producers. The supply and demand for corn can push prices to unexpected highs and lows, and so this price risk or volatility needs to be managed by those who rely on the price...
  • The Greatest Store of Wealth

    Gold is trading north of $1,200 per ounce. We don't know whether it is going up or down, but we do know it's a great store of wealth. What makes gold so valuable? What happened to the gold standard? How does gold relate to inflation? These topics...
  • The Story of Silver Thursday

    The Hunt brothers started trading silver in 1973, and by 1979 had amassed a fortune in silver. This video tells the story of Nelson Bunker Hunt, and how they tried to corner the market. For discussion: 1. Who were the Hunt brothers, and what was their...
  • Trading: Nature or Nurture?

    This video describes an experiment from the 1980s to determine whether successful traders are born or trained--that is, nature versus nurture. The strategies that they followed are called "technical analysis" which is the investment method that...
  • Drivers in the Oil Industry

    This video from CFA Institute discusses drivers in the oil industry that matter to investors. According to Jens Zimmerman, CFA (2016), "Energy demand spikes are coming from developing regions in Asia, and by 2035, the region will account for 65%...
  • Working at the CME Group

    From the CME Website : CME Group is the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, handling 3 billion contracts worth approximately $1 quadrillion annually (on average). The company provides a marketplace for buyers and sellers, bringing...
  • The Story of Oil and Exchanges

    This video from the CME group explains the pricing of oil, and how investors can use exchanges to manage their financial risk. Two concepts are touched on here: Price discovery which is defined by Investopedia as a method of determining the price...
  • Taxing Trades

    Taxes serve two purposes: (1) raise government revenue, and (2) discourage specific behaviors. The problem is that goal number 2 erodes the impact of goal number 1. This is likely to be the outcome of recent proposals to tax trading. One proposal focuses...
  • Has Gold Lost its Luster?

    The jury on gold seems to be hung. No consensus in sight. Some say gold will go higher while others say lower. From INC Magazine (AJ Agrawal, 7 May 2016)): With troubled waters ahead for both the US economy and the world economy, this is the time...
  • Benefits of Short-Term Options

    Options give the holder the right to buy (in the case of a CALL OPTION) or the right to sell (in the case of a PUT OPTION) an underlying asset at a predetermined price (called the STRIKE PRICE) on or before a prespecified EXPIRATION date. This video...
  • Where's The Oil?

    This WSJ video reports that approximately 800,000 barrels of oil are unaccounted for. Is this an error? Or a conspiracy? Theft on an international grand scale? Probably not. As explained in the video, supply and demand are estimated values with...
  • Price Discovery on a Metals Exchange

    How are prices on exchanges determined? Who determines where the delivery will take place? Why does it matter? These questions and more are answered in this video from the London Metals Exchange, or the LME. The price at which a commodity trades...
  • The Ups and Downs of Oil

    From the 1920 oil famine to the recent low prices, oil has had a volatile history. Today, oil is trading around $30/barrel and some say it could be lower in the future. For oil consumers, this has been good news but for oil producers, bad news indeed...
  • Impact of Negative Rates on Gold

    In an environment of negative interest rates, investors may look for a safe haven to hold their wealth. Gold is one option for those who wish to avoid the interest expense associated with holding cash. For discussion: What is "cost of carry...
  • All that Glitters...Gold

    Throughout history, gold has captured the imagination of humanity. The goal of treasure seekers and governments, gold is all that glitters. Today, though currencies are no longer linked to the value of gold and it is primarily used for jewelry today,...
  • Is Oil The Barometer For The Entire Market? Answers from Davos 2016

    According to this interview with Goldman Sachs President Gary Kohn, the price of oil is not the bell weather for the entire financial market. The low price of oil does not indicate that the economy is slowing down. Rather, it is driven by the oversupply...
  • The Consequences of Low Oil Prices

    Low oil prices are great for drivers and for consumers, but for oil producers, it's a bust. According to this CNN video, "this is what a crash looks like." How low can oil go? For discussion : What are the four reasons identified...
  • The Low, Low, Low Price of Oil

    Seems like the low price of oil is all anyone wants to talk about these days. Is the low price good for airlines and travelers? What about markets that rely on revenues from oil sales? From a recent article in The Atlantic ( Naim, 31 Mar 2015 ): In...
  • Guilty: High Frequency Trading

    In a recent landmark case, a high frequency trader has been found guilty of "spoofing" in futures markets. What is spoofing? According to this WSJ blog article: “Spoofing” is an illegal type of market manipulation that works...