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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek 8/7/2017

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

5 min
who’s afraid of low volatility?

You can speculate on stocks going up or stocks going down, but you can also wager on how extreme the ups and downs will be. Investors who bet on calm have done stupendously well lately. As in a 180 percent return over the past year on the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term exchange-traded note, which is one of the most popular vehicles for bettors on low volatility. Trouble is, as the late economist Hyman Minsky observed, stability creates its own instability. People get overconfident in their investing savvy and overpay. Professional investors who thrive on volatility find it harder to make a living when markets are calm, so they invest with borrowed money to amplify their meager returns. That makes them as vulnerable to a price decline as any indebted homeowner;…

4 min
where a bad world means good business

Much has been written about the difficulties many high-cost American businesses face when trying to sell to customers outside the U.S. But export demand has never been better at Atlas Survival Shelters LLC, which ships bunkers to customers around the world from its U.S. factories. Among its best sellers: the BombNado, an underground safe room that can be put under a garage, which starts at $18,999. The popularity of the company’s doomsday fortifications is no surprise, considering the state of the world in general and, specifically, Kim Jong-Un’s pursuit of a missile that can hit the continental U.S. The most intense interest is in Japan, which has long been within North Korea’s striking distance. The intercontinental ballistic missile used in the July 28 launch is believed to be North Korea’s most advanced…

5 min
assad allies profit off un money for syria

The United Nations spent $140 million on goods and services in Syria last year. Of that, at least $18 million went to organizations with close ties to President Bashar al-Assad, some of them run by people sanctioned by the U.S. and European Union. Contracts for telecommunications and security were awarded to regime insiders including Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin and one of the wealthiest men in Syria. More than half the money, $9.5 million, was spent by UN staff staying at the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, co-owned by Syria’s tourism ministry. Some UN money even went to a charity set up by Assad’s wife. The data come from the UN’s annual report on procurement for 2016, a 739-page document published in June. The revelation that millions in supposed aid money ended…

3 min
is the dollar in a trump slump?

President Trump loves to trumpet the record run in U.S. stocks. “Highest Stock Market EVER,” he tweeted on July 31, in one of nine posts about the market last month. But there have been few tweets on another measure of Trump’s America: the U.S. dollar. The greenback has fallen hard—almost 9 percent against other major currencies since Dec. 30—and currency traders are betting on more declines. “So many policy decisions and risk events get played out through the currency markets these days” Presidents usually don’t deserve much blame—or credit—for financial market gyrations. Currency markets are typically driven by the vagaries of monetary policy and interest rates. But with central banks around the world pushing interest rates to rock-bottom levels, rate differentials between nations are narrower than ever, leading currency traders to focus…

3 min
in brief

Americas The U.S. tested an intercontinental ballistic missile on Aug. 2. Although the launch came just days after North Korea’s trial of a missile that experts say could reach California, it was “not a response,” military officials said. A company involved in setting up voting systems for Venezuela’s July 30 constituent assembly elections said President Nicolás Maduro’s government manipulated results, inflating turnout by at least 1 million. Venezuelan authorities rejected the allegation. ▷ 10 ● Apple beat Wall Street expectations with a surge in demand for iPads and Mac computers. In the quarter ended July 1, sales rose 7 percent from the previous year and profit jumped 12 percent. ● A faction of bitcoin users created a blockchain-based currency called Bitcoin Cash. ● The number of honeybee colonies in the U.S. increased 3 percent in…

3 min
a silent road warrior

FOR 10 YEARS, California-based Zero Motorcycles Inc. has been carefully breaking into the broader bike market, offering powerful emission-free motorcycles. Its newest bike, the Zero DS ZF6.5, is the two-wheel equivalent of the much anticipated Tesla Model 3: cute, reasonably priced, and superb for day-to-day use. This is key, because even though consumers like to believe they’re altruistic, they’re in fact not. They say they’d buy an electric vehicle (if they could afford it), but studies show they’ll resist anything inconvenient. Who wants to worry about driving miles out of the way—and sitting and waiting—to recharge? The DS 6.5 offers 74 city miles on one charge, usually more than enough for a day’s use. It’s easily topped off; you can plug it into your garage wall like a power saw (or even…