The Zeitgeist

Every day, Epsilon Theory runs the world's financial news through natural language processing-based cluster analysis to identify the most on-narrative stories. We scan for those with the most similarity to all other stories as well as those with the most interconnectivity to multiple different key topics.

The Zeitgeist – 5.21.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 21, 2019 | 2 Comments

“According to the Aspen Institute, close to 6 in 10 working-age Americans do not have a retirement account. Sadly, the Aspen Institute also warns that things are likely to get worse due to the changing nature of work.”

The American worker is the proverbial boiled frog. Or Milton from Office Space. Same thing.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.20.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 20, 2019 | 1 Comment

The best part of Robert Smith’s pledge to repay student loans? The pressure this puts on other billionaires when they get an invite from alma mater.

Then again, most billionaires are high-functioning sociopaths, so they truly believe that their words and moving speeches are reward enough for graduates. 

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The Weekend Zeitgeist – 5.18.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 18, 2019 | 3 Comments

It’s the Weekend Zeitgeist! In which anti-Semitism raises its ugly head (again), the iconoclasm debate joins the fray (again), we stress about the gig economy, observe a campaign that doesn’t fit the narrative, explain away funeral cost increases and finally – finally! – hear the true story of…sky penis?

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The Zeitgeist – 5.17.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 17, 2019 | 1 Comment

That’s a live shot of me today, reading an important and useful paper by a Fed economist. Seriously.

Also, a Mr. Wonderful bot, and Bill de Blasio winning those Midwestern hearts and minds one camo-wearing diner patron at a time.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.16.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 16, 2019 | 5 Comments

It’s the Thursday Zeitgeist, from sporadic United Wi-fi, high in the air above all of you. Today is about bank cartoons, the warm afterglow of an industry conference that ‘really shook things up’, the drumbeats of value, a reminder to ask ‘why am I reading this NOW’ and some trade war trading advice we can (mostly) get behind.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.15.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 15, 2019 | 4 Comments

Preparing today’s Zeitgeist, I couldn’t stop staring at this picture of Larry Kudlow.

There’s a famous body of work on how serving as President ages you in office, and I’ve got some examples of that here in the note.

My strong sense of the Trump White House is that The Donald will look exactly the same when he leaves as when he entered. It’s the people working for him that age in dog years.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.14.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 14, 2019 | 8 Comments

I’m old enough to remember the Asian financial crisis of 1997, and what happened to the Vietnams of the world the last time we had a shock currency devaluation.

I’m old enough to remember Q4 2015, and what happened to the Vietnams of the world the last time China started threatening a currency devaluation.

It was Barzini all along.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.13.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 13, 2019 | 2 Comments

Cheer up, farmers! Sure, you f’d up by trusting our current frat house leadership, but I’m sure that the crack team at USDA has a great plan in the works to buy up all your soybeans and corn and give it away to the poors.

Will that work?

Hey, it’s gotta work better than the truth.

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The Weekend Zeitgeist – 5.11.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 11, 2019 | 1 Comment

It’s the Weekend Zeitgeist, where we leave the world of finance for a day, in which high costs of credit and criminal justice remain top-of-mind concerns, Bulgaria stems the tide of its brain-drain, Reuters publishes straight opinions as news, Stephen Moore goes on Glassdoor, and we all succumb to the collective solipsism of nostalgic reverie.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.10.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 10, 2019 | 3 Comments

It’s the Friday Zeitgeist! In which we explore new ecological niches, dust off our not-so-dusty trade war battle plans, announce the latest winner of “Who’s Going to Blame Risk Parity First”, and talk fairness and Fair Isaac.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.9.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 9, 2019 | 3 Comments

Process stories (what’s happening behind the scenes at the campaign / the White House / the locker room / the negotiations) are the original Fiat News. They are designed to make you angry and further the aims of whoever sourced the “news”.

Who benefits from making you angry at China and their “reneging” on a deal that never existed in the first place?

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Or was it Eurasia? I don’t seem to remember so well these days.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.8.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 8, 2019 | 2 Comments

It’s the Wednesday Zeitgeist, in which we get the updated odds on the China Trade War, the updated ways to play the odds on the China Trade War, two quasi-sovereign oil & gas operators’ investments in blockchain-as-a-service, financialization again, and a reminder that what is dead may never die.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.7.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Ever wonder why you don’t ever get hit with a year-end taxable gain from ETFs like you do with mutual funds? They use a legal (for now) pseudo-wash trade with in-kind redemptions.

Now Vanguard is doing the same thing with their mutual funds. And get this … they’ve filed a patent on this.

So amazing that I’m not even mad.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.6.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 6, 2019 | 1 Comment

If you’re buying or selling the market because the China deal is on or because the China deal is off, you’re no different from everyone who had a ticket at the Derby. Good luck with that.

Also, what do Warren Buffett and Dune’s Leto Atreides have in common? They both get transformed into near-immortal creatures. I suppose a cartoon cut-out is more attractive than a sandworm.

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The Weekend Zeitgeist – 5.4.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 4, 2019 | 6 Comments

It’s the Weekend Zeitgeist, in which we consider a going-forward rule for infrastructure editorials, a different kind of Valley Girl, an emerging Get Out of Dodge narrative, and SEO as a service.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.3.2019

By Rusty Guinn | May 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

It’s the Friday Zeitgeist, in which people who will never buy a company learn how to do it, Powell delivers a belly-rub and takes away a child’s cookie jar simultaneously, Swiss francs climb the Zeitgeist ladder, a local bank makes it up on volume, and we all declare together that an OK faux-hamburger is more than just a faux-hamburger.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.2.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Content placement by asset managers is like the elaborate red pouch of the male frigate bird. It is SO wasteful and extravagant that – in an economically perverse way – it demonstrates your evolutionary fitness. 

Ditto for why the sell-side still cares about II ratings and “who’s the ax?” and all that stuff that hasn’t mattered for 20 years.

It’s plumage.

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The Zeitgeist – 5.1.2019

By Ben Hunt | May 1, 2019 | 1 Comment

Berkshire Hathaway’s financing for Occidental is in the Zeitgeist today.

What is shadow banking? THIS.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Hey, this is Uncle Warren’s true face, and I’m a fan of authenticity in all its forms and ways. But if you think poorly of a guy like, say, Ken Griffin because you think Citadel was “bailed out by the US taxpayer”, and you don’t think EXACTLY the same about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway … then you’ve been played.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.30.2019

By Rusty Guinn | April 30, 2019 | 1 Comment

It’s the Tuesday Zeitgeist, in which we explore how you could go with this (or you could go with that), the power of AS, my respect for you, IPOs aplenty and the trade/rotation of choice.

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The Zeitgeist – 4.29.2019

By Ben Hunt | April 29, 2019 | 5 Comments

Our lead article today is about Uber (driving-as-a-service) and Amazon (shopping-as-a-service). It’s the triumph of on-demand everything, that makes both production and consumption an experience.

What do you get out experiential consumption and production?

You get to hold up a card that says, “Yay, swineherding!”

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