A look at developments in the financial markets over the last week or so.

In the short-term, the market is a popularity contest. In the long-term, it is a weighing machine.” – Ben Graham

Featured Article

Here are the facts:
Some facts about the US economy. “You’re welcome to attach any caveats to this data that you’d like to. You can qualify some or all of it. You can speculate on when any of these trends may end or whether the data comes from trustworthy sources. You can point out the various ways in which any or all of these data points are “not telling the real story” or you can dismiss the meaning of the numbers themselves when compared with A, B or C. That’s up to you. But these are the facts.

Companies

How PayPal’s Venmo is Winning The Battle for Social Payments
Venmo is a free digital wallet that allows you to pay and request money from your friends – think splitting bills and lending each other money. “With simplicity of design, ease-of-use and social engagement as its greatest strengths, Venmo is becoming the standard for how millennial customers think about peer-to-peer payments.

The Coca-Cola Co: Timing Could Be Perfect for New Premium Milk
Coca-Cola recently released its new milk product – Fairlife. Fairlife is lactose-free and has 50% more protein, 50% less sugar and 30% more calcium than typical milk. The company and some commentators think the company could be on to a winner, as consumers are increasingly focused on the health benefits of food. Others think that Fairlife is an unnecessary marketing ploy, with standard milk offering all the nutrients the average consumer needs. Fairlife is significantly more expensive than regular milk, including organic. However the price of organic milk is steadily rising, up ~8% over the last 12 months, as demand continues to outstrip supply. Maybe designer milk isn’t such a crazy idea.

This new Tesla battery will power your home, and maybe the electric grid too
Storage has always been the biggest problem with renewable energy generation. Elon Musk thinks his batteries could solve this problem and make things like residential solar panels a primary source of consumer electricity. Does this news justify the stock price?Tesla is working on a battery that can power your home and even help large-scale utilities store energy more efficiently, according to company chief executive Elon Musk. On an investor call Wednesday, Musk said the designs for a home or business battery are already complete and will likely be unveiled to the public “in the next month or two.” Production could be as little as six months away, he added.

Markets

Here are the facts:
Some facts about the US economy. “You’re welcome to attach any caveats to this data that you’d like to. You can qualify some or all of it. You can speculate on when any of these trends may end or whether the data comes from trustworthy sources. You can point out the various ways in which any or all of these data points are “not telling the real story” or you can dismiss the meaning of the numbers themselves when compared with A, B or C. That’s up to you. But these are the facts.

A New Kind of Investment Outlook
Robert Seawright’s excellent post on what investors should focus on. “here is a different sort of “top ten” list of interrelated investment insights and recommendations – mistakes that are both common and deadly – for us to try to correct for 2015 and beyond.

The Average American Mall Explained In 6 Charts
Your definitive guide to shopping centers (or at least what’s left of them).

Long Reads

A Life On The Line
For four decades, other gamblers have tried to be Billy Walters while investigators have tried to bring him down. And for four decades, the world’s most successful sports bettor has outrun them all.

Why the modern world is bad for your brain
In an era of email, text messages, Facebook and Twitter, we’re all required to do several things at once. But this constant multitasking is taking its toll. Here neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin explains how our addiction to technology is making us less efficient.

Graph of the Week

Household Formation within the “Boomerang Generation”

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