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Quant juggernaut AQR is putting a €1.3 billion short bet on Germany as hedge funds seize on the DAX’s very bad year



  • AQR, a quant-driven hedge fund, has built up short positions in Deutsche Bank, Bayer and ThyssenKrupp. Marshall Wace and Merian Global also have also shorted German stocks.
  • Germany’s DAX Index has underperformed the broader European benchmark this year, hurt by trade-war fears, Deutsche Bank’s woes, and government uncertainty

AQR Capital, a quant-driven hedge fund, is betting about €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) on a decline in German stocks, joining other short sellers in swirling the index for returns after a brutal year for the country’s equities. 

AQR, which has about $226 billion in assets under management, last week opened a 0.5% Deutsche Bank short bet valued at about €435 million, according to data firm Breakout Point. The positions are in addition to the fund’s bearish bets on pharmaceutical company Bayer, semiconductor firm Infineon, automotive manufacturer Continental, and the industrial giant ThyssenKrupp.

The DAX Index is underperforming its broader European benchmark for the year, down about 17% versus a 13% drop in the Euro Stoxx 50. A whole host of factors has been hurting German companies lately the US-China trade war has been hammering German automakers; Deutsche Bank has been clobbered week after week with terrible news; and uncertainty about the future of the German government isn’t helping. For the powerhouse of Europe, things aren’t looking good.

"We have not seen so many DAX big shorts by a hedge fund" since the first quarter, when it said Bridgewater built up short trades on the index, Breakout Point said.

Read more: Germany’s economy is getting hammered by the rest of the world’s problems

German regulators require disclosure of short positions when they reach 0.5% of the target company’s stock.

AQR has the following short positions in German stocks, according to Breakout Point: 

  • AQR’s short in Deutsche Bank 2.58% (about €435 million)
  • AQR’s short in Bayer 0.7% (about €420 million)
  • AQR’s short in Infineon 1.22% (about €255 million)
  • AQR’s short in Continental 0.5% (about €130 million)
  • AQR’s short in ThyssenKrupp 0.89% (about €85 million)
  • Total € in AQR’s big DAX shorts: about €1.325 million

AQR, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, could not immediately be reached for comment. 

AQR is not alone in betting against German stocks. Marshall Wace reported a 1.46% short in Deutsche Bank, valued at about €245 million, and a 1.4% short in ThyssenKrupp at about €135 million. Hedge fund Merian Global Investors, formerly called Old Mutual, reported a 0.9% short in HeidelbergCement (about €95 million) and a 0.5% short in the stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse, about €105 million.

AQR’s bet on Bayer comes as the German company faces thousands of lawsuits over a suspected cancer link to the Roundup weedkiller, made by Bayer’s Monsanto unit.

"Our estimate is that AQR is up about €80 million on their Bayer short since mid October," Breakout Point said.

The decision by AQR and Marshall Wace to short Deutsche Bank is perhaps not a surprise. The bank’s stock has been getting clobbered by bad news week after week — with links to the Danske Bank scandal, police raids on its headquarters for alleged ties to money laundering, and suspicious transactions that may lead to even more fines.

Deutsche Bank sharesMarkets Insider

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The 19 most interesting ad-tech and mar-tech companies of 2018

hottest adtech companies 2018 2x1Samantha Lee/Business Insider

After a few quiet years, 2018 was a big one for advertising and marketing tech.

Before May, investors and observers worried whether the increasing regulatory scrutiny from Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation would shut down companies or dry up venture-capital funding even more than it has in recent years. And while there were a fewinitial casualties of GDPR, VC money continued to flow to a variety of companies, from established programmatic players to data-minded startups trying to shake up TV and digital measurement.

Seemingly everyone from private-equity firms, agency holding companies, telecoms, and marketing clouds went on acquisition tears, snatching up "mad-tech," a blend of advertising- and marketing-tech companies. A handful of ad-tech companies either quietly faded or went up for sale.

"You could certainly say that 2018 was a year of consolidation," Mark Wagman, managing director of MediaLink, told Business Insider. "In the view of the marketers and brands we work with, it’s still not yet enough consolidation. They hope that more will happen that will simplify their media-value chain."

In the past our list has often highlighted the hottest pre-IPO companies, but given all the activity this year — and a dwindling number of private companies — we’ve now opened it to public and private firms. So on this list, major companies that generate billions of dollars in revenue join startups expecting to make a few million dollars this year.

"Both advertising and marketing professionals should be following a wider swatch of companies who are innovating and executing in this space," said Ana Milicevic, principal and cofounder of Sparrow Advisers, a boutique consultancy that advises advertising and media companies.

Since we’re focusing on upstarts and companies born out of media companies, Facebook, Google and Amazon are intentionally not on the list. That said, the big three are circling practically every one of these companies in some way, whether it’s with its data, power, or potential to disrupt an industry.


There was no one criterion used to decide which companies made our list.

The lines between ad-tech companies and mar-tech companies continue to blur. So, similar to last year, this list reflects the growing number of mar-tech players we’re watching, including some that don’t touch paid media at all but instead specialize in data or analytics.

We looked at a number of factors in evaluating companies, such as headcount, revenue, and recent funding. We also considered what issues the companies are trying to solve, whether it’s powering millions of programmatic spend or experimenting with blockchain technology.

We talked to a lot of execs, analysts, and investors to figure out which companies should, and shouldn’t, be included, based on their reputation and with whom they work.

We tried our best to follow where money and marketers’ interest are going. That means a handful of firms valued at billions and have raised millions aren’t included. Most notably, you’ll notice two categories that are less represented this year than in previous years: social-media management and native advertising.

Here are the 19 most intriguing ad-tech and mar-tech firms of 2018, listed alphabetically.



CEO: Kim Perell

Employees: More than 850

2017 revenue: $800 million

Comment: The growing competition and squeezed margins make it difficult for independent ad-tech companies to operate. Amobee is betting that building a digital-ad business within the Singapore telecommunications company Singtel can save some of those firms and keep money flowing through the industry. Amobee’s bread and butter is software that helps marketers manage data across channels and plan media. It owns data-management platform and demand-side platform Turn, and this year it acquired Videology for $100 million and has hinted that more acquisitions could be coming.


CEO: Ari Paparo

Employees: 60

2018 revenue: $25 million

Total funding to date: $13.3 million

Comment: Most ad-tech companies work by charging advertisers a fee based on the amount of ad spend. Beeswax’s model is different and promises to save customers like Foursquare money by charging them a flat fee based on how much tech and software they need (starting at $10,000 a month), then stores their tech stack in the cloud. The startup says that business has increased 150% year-over-year, primarily from marketers taking programmatic buying in-house.



CEO: Bill Magnuson

Employees: 270

2018 revenue: $53 million

Total funding to date: $175 million

Comment: Brands are increasingly pumping money into technology that crunches reams of web, email, and mobile data and can fire off millions of personalized push notifications and emails. Braze (formerly Appboy) is somewhat of an alternative to marketing clouds like Salesforce and Adobe but without the high costs and cookie-cutter deals that marketing clouds are known for. And as more marketers focus on collecting first-party data in light of regulation like Europe’s GDPR, the hype is at least winning over investors: Braze raised $80 million in Series E funding in October. The company is now valued at $850 million.

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How the founder of $5.1 trillion Vanguard built his firm from his Princeton thesis

Jack Bogle VanguardWiley

  • Jack Bogle wrote his senior thesis at Princeton University about the concept of open-end mutual fund companies. 
  • The thesis would lead to his first job, and some of the principles would become the foundation for Vanguard, which now manages $5.1 trillion. 
  • At the time, mutual funds only oversaw $2 billion. Now, the industry counts $21 trillion of assets. 

Jack Bogle’s senior thesis led to an A+ grade, a job offer, and the foundation for what would become a $5.1 trillion company. 

As a Princeton University student, Bogle found inspiration for his thesis while flipping through the December 1949 issue of Fortune magazine, he detailed in a book released Thursday, "Stay the Course: The Story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution."

The article described an unfamiliar business: an open-end fund company, which continuously offers shares for sale, with shares redeemable on demand. The piece chronicled the history of the first such company, Massachusetts Investor Trust, which was founded in 1924 and now does business as MFS Investment Management.

Bogle’s interest was piqued, so he spent the next 18 months researching what became a senior thesis on the history and future prospects of open-end investment companies – the then-standard term for mutual funds. He fell "madly in love with the subject," he wrote. 

"I was convinced that the ‘tiny’ $2 billion mutual fund industry would become huge, and would remain ‘contentious,’" he wrote, quoting language from the Fortune article. "I was right on both counts: today’s $21 trillion mutual fund colossus is among the nation’s largest and most dominant financial sectors." 

Read more: Vanguard’s founder nearly failed out of Princeton and was fired from his first company. Here’s how he went on to lead a $5.1 trillion firm.

His 130-page thesis, "The Economic Role of the Investment Company," concluded that such investment companies should be operated as efficiently, honestly, and economically as possible, with future growth maximized by reducing sales charges and management fees. Among his other principles, he said that companies should focus on managing their investment portfolios and serving shareholders, and that they should exert influence on corporate policy. 

"Mutual funds seem destined to fulfill this crucial segment of their economic responsibility," he wrote. In the year ending June 30, Vanguard engaged with 721 companies under its investment stewardship program, according to its annual report. 

"Yes, there was a lot of idealism in those conclusions. But, barely out of my teenage years, I was a typically idealistic scholar," Bogle wrote.

"Six-plus decades after I first read that Fortune article, my idealism has hardly diminished. Indeed, likely because of my lifelong experience in investing, that idealism is even more passionate and unyielding today. There’s little question that many of the values I identified in my thesis would constitute the core of Vanguard’s remarkable growth." 

Read more: The man who upended investing by founding $5.1 trillion Vanguard says he admires only 3 rivals, and even made some money off 1 of them

The thesis earned Bogle an A+. It also impressed the founder of an investment company – Walter Morgan, another Princeton alumnus – who offered Bogle a job at his firm, Wellington Management Company. Bogle would rise to be Morgan’s successor as chief executive officer at age 35, before being fired and then founding what would become Vanguard

Today, Vanguard oversees $5.1 trillion and employs more than 40,000 people. 

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The head of India’s central bank steps down for ‘personal reasons’

Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit PatelReuters/Danish Siddiqui

  • Urjit Patel, the head of India’s central bank has resigned for "personal reasons."
  • His departure comes five days after the Indian government invoked special powers that would give it more say on some aspects of monetary policy. 
  • Watch the Indian rupee trade live.

The head of the Reserve Bank of India has resigned for "personal reasons," according to a statement put out by the central bank on Monday morning.

"On account of personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately," Urjit Patel said in a press release.

"It has been my privilege and honour to serve in the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities over the years. The support and hard work of RBI staff, officers and management has been the proximate driver of the Bank’s considerable accomplishments in recent years. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to my colleagues and Directors of the RBI Central Board, and wish them all the best for the future."

Patel’s resignation comes just five days after the Indian government announced it was invoking the never-before-used special powers under Section 7 of the RBI Act, which allows it consult on things like the central bank’s capital reserves and liquidity problem in non-banking financial companies, according to the Indian business publication The Financial Express.

Patel was named head of India’s central bank in August 2016, following the departure of Raghuram Rajan, who returned to academia.

It is unclear who is in line to be the next central-bank head.

"The most worrying scenario for investors would be if the government appointed someone from the finance ministry," according to a note put out by Mark Williams, Capital Economics’ chief Asia economist.

"But with two successive governors bowing out under pressure from the government, whoever comes next will have their work cut out to convince markets and investors that the RBI is focused on stabilising inflation close to target.

The Indian rupee was down 0.75% at 71.3375 per dollar. 


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The 10 most important things in the world right now

elon musk60 Minutes

Hello! Here’s everything you need to know on Monday.

1.  Vice President Mike Pence’s top man is no longer the choice to replace White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Nick Ayers has been ruled out to take over the key job in the President’s ever-evolving inner circle.

2.  An all-out political war has broken out ahead of the Parliamentary vote on UK prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The deal faces delay or humiliation in parliament on Tuesday.

3. Jamal Khashoggi’s last words were reportedly "I can’t breathe." A source told CNN that a transcript of an audio recording describes the gruesome final moments of the murdered Saudi dissident.

4. China threatened the US with "further action" if Huawei’s CFO isn’t freed. Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on December 1 on US orders, over concerns that Huawei violated sanctions on equipment sales to Iran.

5. Elon Musk said he "does not respect" the Securities and Exchange Commission. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Musk unloaded on the SEC, which sued Musk in September alleging that he shared "false and misleading statements" about taking Tesla private.

6. US president Donald Trump has reportedly told the Pentagon to lift the defense budget to $750 billion. However, he’d already been on record promising to cut spending by 5%.

7.  Two people have been shot in Atlanta not far from CNN’s HQ. A"highly intoxicated" man shot two people inside a downtown Atlanta hotel that is connected to CNN’s headquarters.

8. For the fourth weekend in a row, "Yellow Vest" protesters took to the streets across France to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron. The continued clashes fueled a tweetstorm by President Trump, who mocked: "The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris."

9. Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn was reportedly charged with underreporting his income. Ghosn was fired as Nissan chairman following his arrest in November. 

10. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is facing backlash for encouraging people to visit Myanmar.Social media platforms like Twitter may have played a role there in mass genocide, and people have called his endorsement "tone-deaf."

And finally …

 An arrest, a debutante ball and 3 marriages: welcome to life inside Huawei.  

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This 17-piece nonstick cookware set has all the pots and pans I need to cook at home — and it costs less than $170

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


  • Cookware sets are an affordable way to get all of the pots and pans you need to outfit your kitchen.
  • The experts recommend purchasing fully clad, tri-ply stainless steel, but I’ve found these sets are pricey and not as user-friendly as nonstick alternatives.
  • I appreciated the T-fal Cookware Set because the nonstick surface made cooking and cleaning effortless, and the set features every pot and pan size I would need for just about any recipe.
  • For its size, the T-fal 17-Piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set is incredibly affordable and it’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

I love The Wirecutter and Cook’s Illustrated. If I don’t know much about something in the kitchen space, I usually begin my research on these sites. Well, both recommend fully clad, tri-ply stainless steel cookware. This is cookware that has a layer of aluminum sandwiched by two layers of stainless steel. I have a cookware set that is fully clad, tri-ply stainless steel. And, you know what? Nine times out of 10, I end up reaching for nonstick cookware instead. Nonstick cookware is easier to clean, requires less oil, and allows more room for error, which is important when ADHD family members forget they’re cooking.

The nonstick cookware I use in my kitchen is the T-fal 17-Piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set. T-fal sent this set to me for free to test out about three months ago. Here are my experiences with it so far.

My first experiences with the T-fal Cookware Set

Manufacturers want you to think that you are getting more than you actually are so when they list the number of pieces in a set, you need to keep in mind that included in this number are lids, utensils, or other items that one would hardly consider to be "cookware." Excluding lids, this set has 11 pieces:

  • 8-inch, 10.25-inch, and 11.5-inch (with lid) frying pans
  • 10.25-inch square griddle
  • 1-, 2-, and 3-quart saucepans with lids
  • 3.5-quart deep sauté pan
  • 5-quart Dutch oven with lid
  • 3-quart steamer insert
  • One Egg Wonder frying pan

All of the pieces except for the steamer insert are made of hard-anodized aluminum, which is resistant to scratching from metal utensils. T-fal states that the set is oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (350 for the lids). They also say that the cookware is dishwasher safe, but washing your pots in the dishwasher will void the warranty.

How the T-fal Cookware Set performed

I used the pots and pans for a variety of purposes. Below is a list of the cookware ranked from most used to least and how I used them:

  • 8-inch frying panI use this just about every morning to fry up a few eggs.
  • 11.5-inch frying pan – This was useful for frying and sautéing dishes for family dinners.
  • 2-quart saucepan – If I was boiling pasta for one or two, this was ideal.
  • 5-quart Dutch oven – I put this to work making soup, chicken stock, chili, and boiling water for larger batches of pasta.
  • One Egg Wonder frying pan – As the name suggests, this tiny pan can be used for frying one egg at a time. My teenager loved using this.
  • 3-quart saucepan – I mainly used this for reheating leftovers, especially soups.
  • 10.25-inch frying pan – When making a family breakfast, such as corned beef hash, I turned to this pan.
  • 1-quart saucepan – This was another favorite for the teen, who loves efficient ramen noodle cooking.
  • 10.25-inch square griddle – I found the shape of the square griddle was perfect for cooking bacon.
  • 3-quart steamer insert – I actually used this more as a colander than as a steamer.
  • 3.5-quart deep sauté pan – This piece just wasn’t very useful. It’s like a hybrid of a pot and a pan. It seemed redundant, and I kept wishing it had a larger diameter. It’s 10 inches, and I would have preferred maybe 12 inches, which would make it closer to five quarts.

The handles come riveted to the cookware, and all the handles except those on the steamer insert are covered with silicone. At no point did any of the handles get so hot that I couldn’t hold them with my bare hands.

I found that ingredients did not stick to the bottoms or sides of the cookware. Even when I skipped adding cooking oil, I was able to loosen food up with minimal effort.

I simmered a number of soups, chilis, and tomato sauces in the Dutch oven and 3-quart saucepan. Even when I wandered off, these pieces did a wonderful job of maintaining a steady simmer without scorching my creation.

The nonstick surface made the cookware easy to clean by hand. Due to a criminal combination of laziness and absentmindedness, some of the pots and pans went through the dishwasher. The exteriors of these pieces showed significant wear. However, the interiors still look the same as the day I unboxed them. If you want your cookware to last, I strongly recommend washing it by hand.


Some concerns about the set

The only piece missing from the set that I wished it had was a big stockpot. The Dutch oven is too small for boiling a turkey carcass, which is one of my favorite pastimes during the winter. Another popular mainstay on stoves across the country is a 12-inch cast iron skillet, which this set lacked.

Hard anodized aluminum is great because it’s durable, conducts heat well, and has an excellent nonstick surface. But, I found that the pots and pans did not heat evenly. I tested this out by sprinkling flour on the surface of the 11.5 inch frying pan and watched to see how it browned. The flour in the middle browned before the flour around the outside.

Lastly, since nothing would stick, the pans could not produce a good fond – the brown bits left over after browning meats. I’m not particularly fond of fond, or the pan sauces it produces, so it wasn’t a major negative for me. If fond is your jam, adding a cast iron skillet to your arsenal will get the job done.

The bottom line

Overall, I am happy with the T-fal 17-Piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set. For the past three months, I have used it on a daily basis, and I appreciate how there is a pot or pan for just about any recipe I try, the nonstick surface keeps my oil use to a minimum, and cleanup is a snap. I strongly recommend this set to beginner cooks as well as seasoned home chefs who want nonstick options.

At its current price of $170, the T-fal Cookware Set is a good deal. However, according to the Honey app, the price has been known to drop significantly. So, if you are looking to save a few bucks and don’t mind waiting, you might consider keeping an eye out for deals.

Buy the T-fal 17-Piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set on Amazon for $170

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SEE ALSO: I tried the $125 cast iron skillet that raised $1.6 million on Kickstarter — it’s lighter, smoother, and worth the extra cost

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Theresa May delays Brexit deal vote to avoid huge defeat in Parliament

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a news conference after an extraordinary EU leaders summit to finalise and formalise the Brexit agreement in Brussels, Belgium November 25, 2018Reuters / Dylan Martinez

  • Theresa May has delayed the Brexit vote scheduled for Tuesday amid fears she would lose by a significant margin.
  • Over 100 Conservative MPs have already voiced their opposition to the deal.
  • The vote was scheduled for 1900 GMT on Tuesday.

LONDON — Theresa May will seek to delay the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal amid fears that she could suffer a crushing defeat, according to multiple sources.

The Commons vote on whether to accept or reject May’s proposed plan for exiting the EU was due to be held on Tuesday evening, but the prime minister has reportedly told Cabinet ministers that she will now seek to delay the vote.

The Prime Minister will make a statement to the House of Commons at 15.30 GMT on Monday afteroon, followed by an emergency statement on forthcoming parliamentary business by the Leader of the House.

May is expected to confirm that the vote will be delayed until some point after the EU summit in Brussels on Thusday.

The decision to pull the vote comes amid speculation that the government could have lost the vote by more than 100 votes, risking the biggest government defeat since the Second World War.

To date, 111 Tory MPs have pledged to vote against the government, along with the vast majority of MPs from opposition parties

The news led to the pound falling to its lowest level against the dollar in a year and a half.

Brexiteers in the Cabinet now want May to use the delay to push for changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, particularly on the terms of the backstop for avoiding a hard Irish border, Cabinet sources told BI. 

"It’s not a complicated negotiation — some amendment to the backstop would be fine," one Cabinet source said.

There was widespread confusion on Monday morning as to whether the vote would go ahead on Tuesday as planned, with senior government figures rating the chances 50/50. 

A spokesperson for the prime minister had insisted on Monday morning that the so-called "meaningful vote" would take place on Tuesday evening as planned and added that May was "confident" of winning it.

"The vote’s going ahead as planned…What we have negotiated over the past months is the best deal and the only deal," May’s spokesperson told journalists at a briefing attended by Business Insider.

They added that they were "confident" May would win the vote.

The decision to pull the vote followed a series of phone calls by the prime minister to EU leaders over the weekend.

May spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, European President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk over the weekend, in an apparent attempt to secure last-minute concessions on the Withdrawal Agreement.

However, EU sources suggest there is no appetite to re-open negotiations.

This is a developing story.

NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn’t a nationalist: ‘He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists’

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SEE ALSO: The UK can unilaterally reverse Brexit, rules EU court

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10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, TSLA)

MEGA hat

Here is what you need to know. 

  1. Trump’s trade war is sending the S&P 500 towards its worst December in 16 yearsThe S&P 500 has fallen 4.6% so far in December, and is on track for its worst closing month of the year since 2002.
  2. China warns of ‘grave consequences’ if Huawei’s CFO isn’t releasedChina summoned US ambassador Terry Branstad to Beijing to protest Canada’s detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and warned that it will take further steps based on the US’s response, the AP reports.
  3. The UK can unilaterally reverse BrexitThe European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, ruled Monday that the UK can reverse Brexit by revoking Article 50 — the mechanism that outlines the steps a country needs to take to exit the bloc.
  4. Japan’s economy just went sharply into reverse. Japan’s economy contracted 2.5% in the third quarter — more than double the preliminary reading of a 1.2% drop — according to government data released Monday.
  5. A bubble in the stock market is bursting — and its demise marks a significant regime change for investorsThe low-volatility bubble is bursting and Bank of America explains why market turbulence is about to become the norm.
  6. Nissan and its ousted CEO have reportedly been indicted. Nissan Motors and former CEO Carlos Ghosn have been indicted for falsifying financial statements, according to reports from Japanese media.
  7. Softbank prices its IPOThe initial public offering, which will be one of the largest of all time, priced at 1,500 Japanese yen per share and will raise 2.65 trillion yen ($23.5 billion), Reuters reports, citing a regulatory filing. 
  8. Elon Musk says he does ‘not respect the SEC.’ Tesla’s CEO told 60 Minutes that he does not respect the Securities and Exchange Commission and that no one has reviewed any of his tweets since his settlement with the agency.
  9. Stock markets around the world are lowerJapan’s Nikkei (-2.12%) led the losses in Europe and Germany’s DAX (-0.43%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.18% near 2,628.
  10. US economic data trickles out. JOLTS Job Openings will cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up two basis points at 2.86%. 

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I roped my parents into pursuing travel rewards — here’s why more baby boomers should do the same

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

Screen Shot 2018 12 09 at 10.34.03 PMThe Points Guy

  • Pursuing travel rewards makes the most sense for people with great credit and a debt-free lifestyle. Many people from the baby boomer generation meet both those criteria. 
  • Travel rewards make it possible to travel further from home and stretch your vacation budget as far as it can go.
  • If you love to travel with your parents but don’t have the cash to pay for everyone, travel rewards offered through credit cards can help you save on the biggest components of travel including airfare and hotels. 

The internet and modern technology have made it easier than ever to create a travel lifestyle on your own terms, which is exactly what my husband and I have done. Since we’re self-employed, we can travel wherever we want for three or four months of the year. We still have to work, but we work remotely and on our own terms. Because our kids are on a modified, year-round school calendar, we even get to bring them along most of the time.

My husband and I do all our own travel research online and use websites like Google Flights and to find amazing airfare discounts. We also lean heavily on points and miles to fund part of our trips, which helps us save even more.

It would be difficult to imagine living this way just a few decades ago, wouldn’t it? Back then, you would have to be fabulously rich to travel most of the year and you would likely need to work with a travel agent to plan it.

Today’s world also stands in stark contrast to the world my parents, who are both in their 70s, grew up in. Since both my mom and dad came from families with financial struggles, most of their childhood trips were cross-country road trips to visit family or friends. Even if they had wanted to traverse the globe, they couldn’t afford to go far.

And while airline and travel credit cards have existed in various forms since the 1980s, people didn’t obsess over their rewards as much back then. They didn’t have blogs like The Points Guy (an Insider Picks e-commerce partner) to show them the way, after all.

Read more: 5 great benefits you might not realize your credit card comes with

While my parent’s upbringing taught them to be credit averse, I still figured out a way to talk them into pursuing their own credit card rewards — not too much at a time, mind you, but a reasonable amount of rewards at their own pace.

Here are a few reasons I tried to get them on board, and why you might want to consider the same strategy in your own life:

1. They’re debt-free and have great credit

The biggest roadblock stopping people from pursuing credit cards rewards is usually credit, and this makes sense since credit score requirements for travel credit cards tend to be high. While different card issuers have their own framework that dictates who they’ll approve, you usually need "very good" credit — or a FICO score of 740 or above — to get approved for the most lucrative travel credit cards.

Since the average credit card interest rate is now over 17%, it’s also true that travel rewards are best for people who don’t carry any debt. If you’re earning 1-3% back on your spending but paying over 17% APR on your balance each month, it’s obvious that you’re not really getting ahead.

In either case, the financial side of credit card rewards is one area where the older generation has an advantage. Many people in their 70s are debt-free (or should be), and they’re more likely to have a good credit score and a lifetime of credit history working in their favor.

Read more: 11 lucrative credit card deals you can get when opening a new card in December — including a 200,000-mile bonus

2. They get to book caviar travel on a beer budget

If you have good credit and a debt-free lifestyle, a solid travel rewards strategy can help you travel further from home and more luxuriously than you could otherwise afford. Thanks to rewards, my parents have been able to upgrade our family trips quite a bit over time, changing things up from the beachfront condo rentals I grew up with to all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, cruises, and even trips to Europe.

For older generations living on a fixed budget, travel rewards can offer outsized value and make it possible to book trips that were only a pipe dream years before. For older people with some money to spend (but not an unlimited source of funds), travel rewards can be utilized to stretch a travel budget as far as it can go. When you’re living on a fixed income, rewards can even mean the difference between checking off your travel bucket list and staying home.

Read more: How I book free flights using my credit-card points and frequent-flyer miles — it’s easier than you think

3. We can coordinate our rewards

My husband and I earn approximately 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per month with our Ink Business Preferred Credit Card thanks to our business ventures. We also sign up for quite a few new cards each year to earn big sign-up bonuses. However, that’s not always enough to pay for 3-4 months of travel per year — especially when we bring other people along.

This brings me to the final reason I convinced my parents to earn their own rewards; I want to go on vacation with them a few times per year without forking over the entire cost of international travel for six.

While I sometimes use my rewards for other people when it makes sense, it helps when my parents earn some of their own. We usually coordinate our points and miles strategies as well to make sure we have the same type of rewards when it’s time to book.

Read more: 4 reasons anyone who cares about credit card points and miles should be using Chase Ultimate Rewards

For last year’s spring break, for example, we hatched a plan to start racking up Southwest Rapid Rewards points, World of Hyatt points, and IHG Rewards points more than a year in advance. Once we had all the points we needed, we booked round-trip flights from Indianapolis to Jamaica on Southwest Airlines, three nights at the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Resort in Rose Hall, Jamaica, and four more nights at the all-inclusive Holiday Inn Jamaica Resort in Montego Bay.

In the end, we each got a seven-night, all-inclusive vacation for the cost of airline taxes and fees, transportation to and from the airport, and tips. I called each of our hotels ahead of time to ask if we could have rooms close together, and both were happy to oblige.

We typically pursue a strategy like this at least once per year. We figure out where we want to go and how to get there, then we figure out which rewards programs to pursue. From there, we decide to sign up for new cards or refocus on regular spending to earn points in specific rewards programs. It may sound complicated, but it’s not that hard to plan a coordinated trip like this if you start early enough.

The bottom line

If you wish your parents would travel further from home or outside their comfort zone, it may be time to get them into the travel rewards game. Doing so can help them earn points they can use to offset their travel expenses and see the world at a price they can afford.

And maybe — just maybe — you’ll get to plan a special trip you’ll remember long after they’re gone.

To get started, read all about our favorite credit cards with good rewards programs and great new member offers that make it easier than ever to rack up a lot of points, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum.

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DON’T MISS: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks

SEE ALSO: Southwest is making it too easy to qualify for its lucrative Companion Pass

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A $9 billion hedge fund manager gives his best career advice to Wall Street hopefuls. Here’s the 1 thing he wishes he’d done differently.

wall street
David Abrams, who manages nearly $9 billion with his fund Abrams Capital, rarely makes public appearances.
He gave career advice to attendees at a New York conference on Friday that included students looking to land jobs on Wall Street. 
David Abrams, who has worked on Wall Street for over 20 years, manages nearly $9 billion at his Boston-based hedge fund Abrams Capital.

He also rarely makes public appearances, with hedge funders describing him as a "unicorn," because he’s often talked about, but never seen. He gave a rare address on Friday at a conference in New York for Project Punch Card, a charity aspiring to improve access to investing and finance jobs for underrepresented people

For students attending his talk, Abrams told them to pick their future jobs by focusing on the "half-dozen people you’ll be working with everyday," and "not prestige of the firm."

Read more: $9 billion hedge fund manager David Abrams, who rarely makes public appearances, lays out his investing strategy — and cautions against being too patient

"It’s not about if your parents or mother-in-law have heard of the place you’ll be working," he said. 

He also advised students to do the opposite of what he did from an education standpoint. Abrams graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in history and then worked for Seth Klarman at Baupost Group in 1988. He started his firm in 1999.

"I would have taken some business courses, that’s for sure," he said about things he would have done differently.

"I would not advise people doing what I did, which is entering the business knowing absolutely nothing."

NOW WATCH: This 13-year-old scientist invented a safer way to treat pancreatic cancer, and he hasn’t even started high school yet

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