The Economics Nobel Highlights a Big Unanswered Question: We still don’t know nearly enough about why the prices of stocks, bonds and other assets move the way they do

The Economics Nobel Highlights a Big Unanswered Question

The awarding of a Nobel Prize to three economists with divergent views on the working of markets highlights a troubling truth about the state of the discipline: We still don’t know nearly enough about why the prices of stocks, bonds and other assets move the way they do. If the economics profession wants to help the world avert – – or at least better survive — financial crises, it will have to be more open to new ways of looking at this question. Read more of this post

Nobel Prize Shows Both Wisdom and Madness of Crowds

Nobel Prize Shows Both Wisdom and Madness of Crowds

Financial markets provide a useful reminder of just how humble we economists should be about our understanding of the world. The three winners of the 2013 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences neatly capture this tension. Eugene Fama is the intellectual godfather of the view that financial markets are efficient, while no one has done more than Robert Shiller to highlight their inefficiencies. Lars Peter Hansen developed statistical techniques that both sides have used to help resolve their differences. Read more of this post

Fama’s Nobel Work Shows Active Managers Fated to Lose

Fama’s Nobel Work Shows Active Managers Fated to Lose

The work that earned Eugene Fama the Nobel Prize in economics provided the intellectual foundation for index-tracking funds, which have upended stock picking as investors abandon active money managers. Fama, 74, has argued that financial markets are efficient and that stock-price movements are unpredictable, making it impossible for even professional money managers to gain an advantage. His conclusion that investors would be better off in low-cost funds that track the market’s performance helps explain the success of Vanguard Group Inc., the biggest U.S. mutual-fund company, as well as the rise of passive investments, which had more than $2.6 trillion in U.S. assets between exchange-traded funds and mutual funds at the end of 2012. Read more of this post

Bristol-Myers, Merck and Roche Develop Drugs to Zap Tumors Via Immune System

Bristol-Myers, Merck and Roche Develop Drugs to Zap Tumors Via Immune System

RON WINSLOW and PETER LOFTUS

Oct. 14, 2013 7:25 p.m. ET

As genetically targeted therapies gain ground against cancer, another treatment strategy called immunotherapy is emerging as a potentially powerful new partner against malignancies. At least five major drug companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. BMY -0.02% ,Merck MRK -1.14% & Co. and Roche Holding AG ROG.VX +0.42% , are developing drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors that work by unleashing the body’s immune system to enable it to recognize and attack tumor cells. Small biotechnology companies are also embracing the approach. Read more of this post

When The New-York Daily Times began publication in 1851, China was ruled by a weak and stagnating Qing dynasty

OCTOBER 14, 2013, 10:31 AM

“Interesting From China.”

By AUSTIN RAMZY and PHILIP P. PAN

When The New-York Daily Times began publication in 1851, China was ruled by a weak and stagnating Qing dynasty. Hong Kong was a young British colony, ceded to Queen Victoria at the end of the first Opium War only nine years earlier. And the devastating Taiping Rebellion, which would leave at least 20 million dead, more than almost any other military conflict in history, had just begun in a corner of what is now the southern region of Guangxi. Read more of this post

Nobels and National Greatness; Anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind it should take a close look at the latest Nobel haul

October 14, 2013, 7:35 p.m. ET

Stephens: Nobels and National Greatness

Anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind it should take a close look at the latest Nobel haul.

BRET STEPHENS

In its proud and storied history, Hungary has produced a dozen winners of the Nobel Prize: four for chemistry; three for physics; three for medicine; one for economics; and one for literature. Not bad for a little country of not quite 10 million people. But one curious fact: All of Hungary’s laureates ultimately left, or fled, the country. If you are brilliant, ambitious and Hungarian, better get out while you can. Read more of this post

Blood found in 46-million-year-old mosquito

Blood found in 46-million-year-old mosquito

October 15, 2013 – 9:48AM

Nicky Phillips

Mozzies have been annoying humans for centuries, but they’ve been sucking blood from other creatures for far longer, close to 50 million years, say scientists, who have ancient blood to prove it. Researchers have found components of red blood cells in a 46-million-year-old fossilised mosquito. While the discovery sounds like the plot of the popular sci-fi novel Jurassic Park – where scientists use DNA extracted from an amber-encased mosquito to revive dinosaurs – the female specimen represents the world’s first fossil of a blood-engorged mosquito. Read more of this post

Need a book? Call a drone. Australia may soon be the first country in the world to see commercial courier deliveries by drone, if a launch by a textbook rental service and an Australian tech start-up goes according to plan.

Push for lift-off on drone deliveries in Australia

October 15, 2013 – 12:01AM

Ben Grubb

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Couriers in the sky: The Flirtey drone will be used by textbook delivery service Zookal. Zookal textbook rental service founder Ahmed Haider, 27, and founder of drone service Flirtey Matthew Sweeny, 26. The app for the Flirtey drone service is seen in this screenshot. Photo: Supplied

Need a book? Call a drone

The world’s first unmanned aerial drone controlled by GPS for deliveries is set to launch next year and will reduce costs by flying rental textbooks directly to users. Australia may soon be the first country in the world to see commercial courier deliveries by drone, if a launch by a textbook rental service and an Australian tech start-up goes according to plan. From March next year and pending regulatory approval, students will be able to order books from Zookal via an Android smartphone app and have one of six Flirtey drones deliver them to their door in Sydney. As the drone arrives, students will be able to track it in real-time on a Google map. Read more of this post

NuOrder, an e-commerce platform for the wholesale fashion industry to sell to shops and for retailers to buy from suppliers around the world

A NuOrder for the global fashion industry

October 15, 2013 – 3:00AM

Matthew Hall

On the surface, everything should have been against them: Aussies Olivia Skuza and husband Heath Wells, founders of US-based technology disrupter NuOrder. Photo: Supplied

An Australian company that turned start-up rules upside down is poised to turn the fashion industry inside out. That, at least, is the plan for Heath Wells and wife Olivia Skuza and their technology disrupter, NuOrder. Wells and Skuza’s idea is simple – an e-commerce platform for the wholesale fashion industry to sell to shops and for retailers to buy from suppliers around the world. Though cutting edge on the runway, fashion’s business methods are often stuck in the 1980s. Read more of this post

New app being tested to spot California whales so ships can avoid them

New app being tested to spot California whales so ships can avoid them

Tue, Oct 1 2013

By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Marine biologists have begun testing a smartphone application that would allow boaters and conservationists to identify whales outside San Francisco Bay so ships can avoid striking the endangered mammals. Whale Spotter, the app developed by Conserve.IO, will be used to map the feeding grounds of the enormous creatures, which large ships too frequently strike as they migrate along the California coast. Read more of this post

HTC Turns to China in Turnaround Push

HTC Turns to China in Turnaround Push

Taiwan Maker to Launch Flagship Smartphone in China Before U.S.

EVA DOU

Updated Oct. 14, 2013 2:47 p.m. ET

TAIPEI—After falling out of favor among U.S. consumers, struggling handset maker HTCCorp. 2498.TW +1.19% is pinning its hopes for survival on China’s gigantic but fiercely competitive smartphone market. For the first time, the Taiwanese company has chosen China, rather than the U.S., as the first market to launch its new flagship model, an indication of its changing priorities. The HTC One Max, which comes with a 5.9-inch screen and a fingerprint sensor, will make its debut in Beijing on Tuesday, three days ahead of its U.S. launch. Read more of this post

Chinese scientist may have discovered the future of batteries

Chinese scientist may have discovered the future of batteries

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 – 10:17

Chris Davis

China Daily/Asia News Network

Ford Motor Co and the University of Michigan just announced they would open a new $88 million battery research and manufacturing lab that they hope will accelerate a much-needed breakthrough for the stalling electric auto non-boom (electric cars accounted for less than 1 per cent of US auto sales last year; hybrids 3 per cent, according to the AP). And batteries are getting the blame. Read more of this post

A Truce in the Videogame Wars; Sony, Microsoft Court Developers of Free-to-Play Titles for Its Consoles

A Truce in the Videogame Wars

Sony, Microsoft Court Developers of Free-to-Play Titles for Its Consoles

MAYUMI NEGISHI

Oct. 14, 2013 7:12 p.m. ET

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Once seen as warring factions within the $66 billion videogame industry, advocates of the traditional console and free-to-play games are striking an unlikely alliance to reach out to new players in each other’s camps. Both sides see opportunities to bridge the divide with a new generation of videogame machines from Sony Corp.6758.TO +2.14% and Microsoft Corp.MSFT +0.94% launching next month. Read more of this post

Chinese Regulators Crack Down on Cartoons to address violent programming content

October 14, 2013, 9:24 PM

Chinese Regulators Crack Down on Cartoons

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Chinese cartoon “Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf” hasn’t been so pleasant as of late, according to the country’s TV regulators. China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television called out the popular cartoon, which made headlines earlier this year for episodes containing violent scenes, and the regulator said Saturday in a statement that it plans to outline new content standards for TV animation to address violent programming content. Read more of this post

Why the World’s Cheapest Car Flopped; No-Frills Tata Minicar Gets Chrome, Sound System, Higher Price to Boost Appeal

Why the World’s Cheapest Car Flopped

No-Frills Minicar Gets Chrome, Sound System, Higher Price to Boost Appeal

SEAN MCLAIN

Oct. 14, 2013 1:55 p.m. ET

MUMBAI—When the Tata Nano, a stripped-down minicar priced at around $2,000, was introduced in 2009, it was marketed as a car that would transform the way aspiring consumers in India and other developing countries got around. But the low-cost automotive revolution fizzled. Selling poorly at home and with exports drying up, the Nano has become a cautionary tale of misplaced ambitions and a drag on sales and profit at Tata MotorsLtd. 500570.BY +1.34% , India’s fourth-largest auto maker and the owner of Jaguar and Land Rover luxury vehicles. Read more of this post

Soap Opera: Amazon Moves in With P&G; E-Commerce Giant Sets Up Shop Inside Warehouses of Suppliers

Soap Opera: Amazon Moves in With P&G

E-Commerce Giant Sets Up Shop Inside Warehouses of Suppliers

SERENA NG

Oct. 14, 2013 7:36 p.m. ET

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa.—Atop a hill at the end of a road called P&G Warehouse Way sits a warehouse stocked with Pampers diapers, Bounty paper towels and other items made byProcter & Gamble Co. PG +0.33% It also houses an ambitious experiment byAmazon.com Inc. AMZN -0.06% Each day, P&G loads products onto pallets and passes them over to Amazon inside a small, fenced-off area. Amazon employees then package, label and ship the items directly to the people who ordered them. Read more of this post

Sony Pictures Television will become the first big Hollywood studio to produce a new TV show for Netflix, underscoring how the TV industry’s elite are starting to view the streaming video service as a launch pad for original series

Sony Strikes Production Deal With Netflix

Streaming-Video Service Is Becoming a Launch Pad for Original Series

AMOL SHARMA

Updated Oct. 14, 2013 5:36 p.m. ET

Sony SNE -0.15% Pictures Television will become the first big Hollywood studio to produce a new TV show for Netflix Inc., NFLX +7.82% underscoring how the TV industry’s elite are starting to view the streaming-video service as a launch pad for original series. Sony Corp.’s TV studio, maker of hit shows such as AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and this year’s new NBC drama “The Blacklist,” said Monday it will begin production early next year on a psychological thriller for Netflix from the creators of the FX legal drama “Damages.” Read more of this post

Netflix Ages Gracefully; Getting on Cable Set-Top Boxes Brings the Company Closer to the TV Mainstream—and Could Shake Up the Landscape

October 14, 2013, 5:31 p.m. ET

Netflix Ages Gracefully

Getting on Cable Set-Top Boxes Brings the Company Closer to the TV Mainstream—and Could Shake Up the Landscape

MIRIAM GOTTFRIED

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Netflix NFLX +7.82% wants to be a cable channel when it grows up. And it may be moving one step closer to its coming of age. The online video company is in talks with several U.S. pay-TV providers to put a Netflix app on their set-top boxes. Netflix, often viewed as an alternative to pay-TV, is already available on many devices. But the fact that cable companies are considering inviting it in suggests they no longer view it as a threat. Read more of this post

Electric Car Rentals Stalled in U.S. by Range Anxiety; “Until you get people comfortable with this technology it won’t really take off”

Electric Car Rentals Stalled in U.S. by Range Anxiety

Rental car drivers just aren’t plugging into electric vehicles, largely because of fears the batteries will die. In fact, people who drive off in electric vehicles from Enterprise Holdings Inc., the biggest U.S. auto renter, often bring them back to trade for a car that runs on gasoline. “People are very keen to try it, but they will switch out of the contract part way through,” Lee Broughton, head of sustainability at Enterprise, said in an interview. “Range anxiety makes them think they can’t get to a charging station.” Read more of this post

CSR Plc (CSR), a pioneer of Bluetooth technology, is on a round-the-world shopping trip, looking for small companies that can boost its prowess in mapping, voice recognition and other areas

CSR Chief Scours Globe for Startups in Connected-Devices Push

CSR Plc (CSR), a pioneer of Bluetooth technology, is on a round-the-world shopping trip, looking for small companies that can boost its prowess in mapping, voice recognition and other areas. “We have a small team that’s going literally around the world, here in Israel, in Silicon Valley, in Asia, looking for these types of interesting, usually young technology companies,” Chief Executive Officer Joep van Beurden said yesterday in Tel Aviv. Read more of this post

Kinh Do Corp., Vietnam’s biggest listed confectionery maker, may expand into noodles, cooking oils and sauces within three years as it seeks new products to weather slowing economic growth

Kinh Do Looks to Noodles as Vietnam Growth Slows: Southeast Asia

Kinh Do Corp., Vietnam’s biggest listed confectionery maker, may expand into noodles, cooking oils and sauces within three years as it seeks new products to weather slowing economic growth. “Our existing products are still somewhat seasonal in that we sell a lot during the holidays and a lot less during the regular time of year,” Chief Financial Officer Kelly Wong said in an interview at a Kinh Do office in Ho Chi Minh City. “We want to sell products that people eat more regularly.” Read more of this post

Coal Slump Leaves Aussie Port Half-Used and Bank Lenders at Risk

Coal Slump Leaves Aussie Port Half-Used and Bank Lenders at Risk

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corp. are among lenders risking losses on $3 billion of loans backing a coal port in Australia that will be twice its required size. Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal Pty, the group comprising the unfinished project’s owners, including Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN) and Wesfarmers Ltd. (WES), in 2011 borrowed the debt from 19 banks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. When the port in the state of Queensland begins shipping in early 2015, only about half of its 27 million metric tons of initial annual export capacity will be used after a slump in coal demand, forecaster Wood Mackenzie Ltd. estimates. Read more of this post

Global public opinion poll reveals an increasingly negative view of China

Global public opinion poll reveals an increasingly negative view of China

Monday, 14 October, 2013, 12:00am

Kate Whitehead life@scmp.com

China could do with an image makeover, judging by the increasingly negative perceptions of the country revealed in a global public opinion poll

First up the good news for China: around the world people increasingly see the country as an emerging superpower, or indeed a superpower already. The bad news? They don’t much like China. Public opinion, especially in the US, towards China is at an all-time low. Read more of this post

Norway fund blacklists Malaysia’ WTK, Tan Ann and 3 others for taking part in activities that damage the environment or for being linked to child labour

Updated: Tuesday October 15, 2013 MYT 7:56:26 AM

Norway fund blacklists Malaysia’ WTK, Tan Ann and 3 others

PETALING JAYA: Norway has excluded five companies from the investments of the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, for taking part in activities that damage the environment or for being linked to child labour, Bloomberg reported. Local timber firms WTK Holdings Bhd and Ta Ann Holdings Bhd were excluded alongside China’s Zijin Mining Group and Peru’s Volcan Cia Minera SAA. Read more of this post

Business Trusts Gain Fans in Hong Kong; Hong Kong is home to just two business trusts, a fraction of the 15 in Singapore

Oct 14, 2013

Business Trusts Gain Fans in Hong Kong

By Prudence Ho

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Hong Kong is poised to take a big step forward as a destination for business-trust listings in the region, with an electricity company and a hotel operator aiming to raise up to US$6 billion before the year is out. So far, Hong Kong is home to just two business trusts, a fraction of the 15 in Singapore, the dominant regional market for such listings. But tycoon Li Ka-shing’s plan to carve out and list the Hong Kong electricity assets from Power Assets Holdings Ltd. in the city, if successful, could be the biggest initial public offering in Asia this year, according to Dealogic data. Read more of this post

Stewart Cowley, the Bond-Fund Manager Who Can’t Stand Bonds; Convinced Bonds Are Due to Plummet, Fund Manager Bets Against Them

Stewart Cowley, the Bond-Fund Manager Who Can’t Stand Bonds

Convinced Bonds Are Due to Plummet, Fund Manager Bets Against Them

TOMMY STUBBINGTON and NEELABH CHATURVEDI

Updated Oct. 14, 2013 5:01 p.m. ET

Stewart Cowley manages $1.5 billion in the Old Mutual ODMTY +0.54% Global Strategic Bond Fund. One place he generally avoids investing that money: bonds. Mr. Cowley doesn’t hold conventional U.S. Treasury bonds. He doesn’t hold traditional U.K. gilts. He doesn’t hold Japanese government bonds. “I’m the bond manager who doesn’t like bonds,” he says, sitting in the modern London headquarters of Old Mutual Global Investors, a unit of Old Mutual PLC, which is a venerable City institution with roots going back to 19th-century Cape Town, South Africa. Read more of this post

No Payoff in Coca-Cola’s Thirst for Growth; It May Be High Time to Question Where the Drinks Company Is Putting Its Emphasis

October 14, 2013, 7:03 p.m. ET

No Payoff in Coca-Cola’s Thirst for Growth

It May Be High Time to Question Where the Drinks Company Is Putting Its Emphasis

SPENCER JAKAB

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Coca-Cola KO +0.37% Zero is popular with soda drinkers, but zero isn’t flavor-of-the-month with shareholders. Coca-Cola Co.’s stock is flat over the past 12 months. But don’t expect the drinks giant’s management to accentuate the negative when third-quarter results are unveiled Tuesday. In its Vision 2020 goals, Coca-Cola seeks to double unit sales to three billion servings a day from 2009 levels. But achieving this would require a growth rate of nearly twice that. Read more of this post

Daniel Yergin: Why OPEC No Longer Calls the Shots

October 14, 2013, 7:26 p.m. ET

Daniel Yergin: Why OPEC No Longer Calls the Shots

The oil embargo 40 years ago spurred an energy revolution. World production is 50% higher today than in 1973.

DANIEL YERGIN

Forty years ago, on Oct. 17, 1973, the world experienced its first “oil shock” as Arab exporters declared an embargo on shipments to Western countries. The OPEC embargo was prompted by America’s military support for Israel, which was repelling a coordinated surprise attack by Arab countries that had begun on Oct. 6, the sacred Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Read more of this post

How Mongolia Brought Nomads TV and Mobile Phones

How Mongolia Brought Nomads TV and Mobile Phones

In global development, as in business, delivery can determine failure or success. The windswept steppes of Mongolia, among the world’s harshest environments, have become a testing ground for how best to deliver something increasingly important to Earth’s entire population: electricity. The conditions in rural Mongolia are forbidding. Winter temperatures on the steppes regularly drop to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit). Over a barren landscape three times the size of France, there are no paved roads. About a quarter of the country’s 2.8 million people herd goats and yaks. They shelter in traditional felt tents known as gers, as they have for thousands of years. Read more of this post

Is Japan Starting a Sovereign Wealth Fund?

Is Japan Starting a Sovereign Wealth Fund?

Years of currency manipulation by Japan’s Ministry of Finance has left it with $1.27 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, most of which are invested in low-yielding U.S. Treasury bonds. Following an account in Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, Bloomberg News reported that the ministry is planning to outsource management of some of this money. Details about the plan are thin. Still, it could mark the first step toward the creation of a Japanese sovereign wealth fund that invests for profit. Read more of this post

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