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Saïd Business School launches online Algorithmic Trading Programme

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Saïd Business School launches online Algorithmic Trading Programme

Algorithmic, or systematic, trading is gaining momentum as funds benefit from market efficiencies and performance of investments improve. With algorithmic trading estimated to account for 20% of hedge funds, traders are looking to understand how to engage with funds and manage for risk.

Recognising these emerging trends Saïd Business School, University of Oxford has launched the Oxford Algorithmic Trading Programme, the first of its kind worldwide.

It will provide an understanding of the rules that drive successful algorithmic trading strategies and give participants the ability to decide whether a fund is worth investing in.

Programme Convener Nir Vulkan, Associate Professor of Business Economics at Oxford Saïd commented: ‘Algorithmic trading is a significant part of hedge fund management and it is growing in share and size. If you’re starting in this industry or planning to stay in it, now is the time to educate yourself on algorithmic trading.

‘This is an area where technology, big data and finance collide. There hasn’t been a course of this nature before, that combines different disciplines. It’s relevant now more than ever, because of the increase of automation and because systematic funds have been gaining more momentum and becoming more popular, while AI and machine learning are getting better.’

The programme will be delivered online over 6 weeks giving finance professionals a thorough understanding of the behavioural finance theory that identifies patterns in human behaviour that can be replicated by algorithms. ‘Good traders follow good rules. The next logical step is to keep the rules but remove human bias and emotions completely from decisions, making algo funds potentially stronger,’ said Vulkan.

The programme will explore the history of trading, how to engage and evaluate systems trading, and enable participants to get their hands dirty and see how a simple trading model is built. Alongside Professor Vulkan, programme participants will hear from a variety of industry professionals, including Martin Leuck, Director of Research, Aspect Capital; Matthew Sargaison, co-CEO, MAN AHL; Susi Gorbey, Director of Quantitative Strategies Oversight, Tudor Capital Europe; Euan Kirk, CIO GAM Systematic; and Steve Mobbs, Partner, Oxford Asset Management, as well as academics leading research in the field.

Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean at Saïd Business School, commented: ‘Research suggests that some professional careers might be challenged as technology rapidly transforms markets, institutions, and business models. Supported by our partner GetSmarter, our suite of online programmes that includes fintech, blockchain strategy, and now algorithmic trading, will help entrepreneurs and executives future-proof their careers as they navigate the changing landscape.’

The programme comes after a British financial watchdog recently urged algorithmic trading firms to tighten controls. The British Financial Conduct Authority report warned ‘firms need to do more work to identify and reduce potential conduct risks created by their algorithmic trading strategies.’

The report continued ‘some firms lacked a suitable process to identify algorithmic trading across their business and did not have appropriate documentation in place to demonstrate suitable development and testing procedures are maintained.’

The online programme will begin on 25 July 2018, and will run for 6 weeks.

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Global stocks slide on inflation fears, dollar gains

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Global stocks slide on inflation fears, dollar gains 1

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Nasdaq recovered as the bond rout retreated on Friday, but most other equity markets swooned around the world as data showing a strong rebound in U.S. consumer spending kept fears of rising inflation alive.

Shares of Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc edged up after bearing the brunt of this week’s downdraft to help the Nasdaq shake off its worst day in almost four months on Thursday.

The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.56% while the S&P 500 slipped 0.48% after a late-session surge failed to hold. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.51%.

U.S. consumer spending rose by the most in seven months in January as low-income households got more pandemic relief money and new COVID-19 infections dropped, setting up the U.S. economy for faster growth ahead.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note on Thursday shot to a one-year high of 1.614%, a move that rocked world markets. The note’s yield is up more than 50 basis points this year and is now close to the dividend return of S&P 500 stocks.

Yields on the 10-year note fell steadily throughout the session to trade 11.7 basis points lower at 1.3981%.

The amount of money swirling through markets and U.S. stocks at close to all-time highs has caused investor angst, said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

“Many people are taking some profits and not necessarily reinvesting that money quite yet,” Kinahan said.

“The U.S. equity market is still the best game in terms of safety versus opportunity. But there is a shift going on.”

The scale of the recent Treasury sell-off prompted Australia’s central bank to launch a surprise bond-buying operation to try to stanch the bleeding.

MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets slid 1.61% to 656.29 despite its large weighting to the U.S. tech heavyweights.

In Europe, the broad FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 1.64% at 1,559.48. Technology stocks lost the most as they continued to retreat from 20-year highs.

The dollar rose against most major currencies as U.S. government bond yields held near one-year highs and riskier currencies such as the Aussie dollar weakened.

The dollar index rose 0.683%, with the euro down 0.9% to $1.2066. The Japanese yen weakened 0.31% versus the greenback at 106.55 per dollar.

Gold fell more than 2% to an eight-month low, as the stronger dollar and rising Treasury yields hammered bullion and helped it post its worst month since November 2016.

U.S. gold futures settled 2.6% lower at $1,728.80 an ounce.

Benchmark German government bond yields fell for the first time in three sessions but were still headed for their biggest monthly jump in three years after rising inflation expectations triggered a sell-off.

The 10-year German bund note fell 1.2 basis points to -0.271%.

European Central Bank executive board member Isabel Schnabel reiterated on Friday that changes in nominal interest rates had to be monitored closely.

Copper recoiled after touching successive multi-year peaks in six consecutive sessions, falling more than 3% as risk-off sentiment hit wider financial markets after a spike in bond yields.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) slumped to $9,112 a tonne.

MSCI’s emerging markets equity index slumped 3.36%, its biggest daily drop since markets plunged in March.

The surge in Treasury yields caused ructions in emerging markets, which feared the better returns on offer in the United States might attract funds away.

Currencies favored for leveraged carry trades all suffered, including the Brazil real and Turkish lira, which slid for a fifth straight day, erasing all the year’s gains.

The heaviest selling earlier was in Asia, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sliding more than 3% to a one-month low, its steepest one-day percentage loss since the market rout in late March.

Oil fell. Brent crude futures settled down 75 cents at $66.13 a barrel. U.S. crude futures fell $2.03 to settle at $61.50 a barrel.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash in New York; Additional reporting by Tom Arnold in London, Wayne Cole and Swati Pandey in Sydney; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)

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Dollar gains on higher yields, risky currencies weaken

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Dollar gains on higher yields, risky currencies weaken 2

By Karen Brettell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar gained on Friday as U.S. government bond yields held near one-year highs, while riskier currencies such as the Aussie dollar weakened.

Yields have surged as an acceleration in the pace of vaccinations globally and optimism over improving global growth bolster bets that inflation will rise. That has also led investors to price in earlier monetary tightening than the Federal Reserve and other central banks have signaled.

The dollar move is “a function of what’s happening on the yields side,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC World Markets. The 10-year yield briefly climbed above the S&P 500 dividend yield on Thursday, he noted, indicating “uncertainty that is writ large.”

The dollar index rose 0.59% to 90.847, its highest level in a week.

It gained against the yen, touching 106.69 for the first time since September.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield surged above 1.6% on Thursday for the first time in a year after a weak seven-year note auction. It was last at 1.45%.

U.S. yield increases have accelerated this month as Fed officials refrain from expressing concern about the yield gains.

“The Fed has not really hinted that that’s making them uncomfortable, so the bond market’s going to push that,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. “That’s really dictating this move in the dollar.”

Riskier currencies retreated. The Aussie fell 1.99% to $0.7713, after topping $0.80 on Thursday for the first time since February of 2018.

Marshall Gittler, head of research at BDSwiss, said the Australian dollar was underperforming despite the market signaling higher growth, likely because the country’s central bank’s yield curve control policy would restrain its bond yields from moving much higher. That, in turn, could limit the attractiveness of the currency.

The greenback is likely to continue to benefit from safe- haven flows if risk appetite continues to worsen, and emerging market currencies may be among the biggest losers.

“There’s a big, big concern that this reflation risk is going to get out of hand and that’s going to really pummel the emerging market currencies, and I think you’re going to see that investors are going to need to reassess their dollar positions,” said Moya.

Data on Friday showed U.S. consumer spending increased by the most in seven months in January, while price pressures were muted.

U.S. jobs data for February released next Friday is the next major economic focus.

Investors are also waiting on details of the U.S. fiscal stimulus bill, which is expected to be passed in the coming weeks.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Friday was poised to push through President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, although it looked unlikely to be able to use the bill to raise the minimum wage nationwide.

The euro dipped 0.79% to $1.2078 after touching a seven-week high of $1.2244 on Thursday.

Bitcoin fell 0.32% to $46,946. Ethereum dropped 0.7% to $1,468.

(Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Andrea Ricci)

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Oil drops on dollar strength and OPEC+ supply expectations

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Oil drops on dollar strength and OPEC+ supply expectations 3

By Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Friday as the U.S. dollar rose while forecasts called for crude supply to rise in response to prices climbing above pre-pandemic levels.

Brent crude futures for April, which expire on Friday, fell 74 cents, or 1.1%, to $66.14 a barrel by 12:45 EDT (17:45 GMT). The more actively traded May contract slipped by $1.08 to $65.03.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped $1.42, or 2.2%, to $62.11. The contract was still on track to be up 4.8% on the week.

The U.S. dollar rose as U.S. government bond yields held near one-year highs, making dollar-priced oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

“It’s a dicey time – it doesn’t seem like a time to load up on a risk-asset position,” said Bob Yawger, director of Energy Futures at Mizuho in New York, wary of a potential output increase from OPEC and allies at next week’s meeting. Also, the U.S. stockpile report this week showed a surprise build in oil inventories.

Friday’s gains also reflect profit-taking after both Brent and WTI headed towards monthly gains of about 20% on supply disruptions in the United States and optimism over demand recovery on the back of COVID-19 vaccination programmes.

Investors are betting that next week’s meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, a group known as OPEC+, will result in more supply returning to the market.

U.S. crude production fell in December, the latest month for which data is available, according to a monthly report from the Energy Information Administration.

Despite talk of tightening fundamentals, the demand side of the market is nowhere near warranting current oil price leves, they added.

U.S. crude prices also face pressure from slower refinery demand after several Gulf Coast facilities were shuttered during the winter storm last week.

Refining capacity of about 4 million barrels per day (bpd) remains shut and it could take until March 5 for all capacity to resume, though there is risk of delays, analysts at J.P. Morgan said in a note this week.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla, Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by David Goodman, Louise Heavens and David Gregorio)

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