Data Trends for Investment Professionals

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Corporate Aviation Intelligence: The Sky’s the Limit

I’m pleased to announce the launch of Quandl’s Corporate Aviation Intelligence (CAI) product. This institutional-grade product tracks corporate air travel to yield actionable insights into M&A, corporate expansion, competitive intelligence and other market-moving events. TAKEOFF In late January 2017 Actelion's stock jumped by more than 20%, taking the market by surprise. Everyone, that is, except for three hedge funds. Och-Ziff, Eton Park and Elliott Management are said to have tracked J&J’s private jet landing near pharmaceutical company Actelion’s Switzerland headquarters in mid-January. Days later J&J announced a $30 billion acquisition of Actelion, resulting in $300M in upside for these three...

Searching for an Edge with Alternative Data

When Johnson & Johnson agreed to buy Actelion for $30 billion on January 26, 2017, its stock soared almost 20 percent. The deal was the largest in J&J’s 130-year history. This was good news for Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (who had built a stake worth about USD 766 million), Eton Park Capital Management (whose bet was almost USD 500 million) and Elliott Management Corp. (USD 200 million). The three funds, however, did not make their bets blind; they had backed up their belief by good old-fashioned sleuthing: They tracked J&J’s private jet movements with alternative data. According to Bloomberg,...

Change to Quandl API Limits

We have made changes to our API limits as of November 21, 2016 at 8AM EST. Users of the Quandl API may be affected by these changes. Specifically, because of unsustainable usage levels, we are now prohibiting simultaneous API calls from a single user. New API Limits Registered users are now limited to one API request at a time, with additional requests being throttled until the first request has been returned. These changes will not impact subscribers of premium databases on Quandl. Open Database Users Premium Database Subscribers Concurrent calls to the API prohibited Concurrent calls to the API permitted (unchanged) 50,000...

Finally: A Comprehensive, Global Foreign Exchange (FX) Volume Database

There is a paradigm change towards increased transparency in the currency market.  CLS has just published the first true global foreign exchange (FX) volume database.  Commercially available for the first time via Quandl, this database is the most accurate, most comprehensive and timeliest gauge of currency trading volume ever published.  CLS’ new FX volume data has been described by one of our customers as “the missing link”.  This post explains why. The Challenge of FX Trading FX is one of the hardest markets from which to profit.  Currencies are incredibly volatile and masquerade as normally distributed only to pop violently in...

The (Weak) Link Between Alternative Data and Inside Information

The alternative data business is an art and a science—in that order. The science—in the form of statistics—kicks in once our quant team gets its hands on a new dataset. There is of course plenty of creativity and innovation in this process: instincts honed from years as quants on Wall Street play a big role in guiding the research process. But the work is grounded in scientific discipline. Before any data mining can begin at all, the mine itself has to be found. Finding data that can potentially yield alpha is very much an art. It involves a continuous conversation...

The Unbearable Transience of Alpha

In 2004 I enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame for an article I wrote called The Tao of Alpha, in which I explained the concept of alpha as a zero-sum game. Sources of alpha in 2004 were much different than those available in the mid-1990s when I started my career and they are also different from today's. Alpha is highly transient and has been coming and going for as long as capital markets have existed. The term “alpha” entered the vocabulary of Wall Street sometime in the 1980s, gaining widespread use in the 1990s with the proliferation of hedge funds.It...

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