Numlock News: November 30, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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Bet Noir

A professional poker player has agreed to be locked alone in a bathroom in complete darkness for 30 days without communication. I get twitchy when I run out of new tweets to read when I’m in the subway under the East River, so this is a special type of hell for me. Should Rich Alati — who I assume has never seen The Twilight Zone — succeed, he will win $100,000 from fellow poker pro Rory Young. Meals will arrive at discordant hours so the subject will remain unfamiliar with the amount of time that has elapsed. I feel like I would last until day twenty. Not because that’s when I’d chicken out or lose faith, I just think it would take me like twenty days to realize I had a severe gambling problem.

Lance Bradley, PocketFives, Patrick Redford, Deadspin

Financial Advisers Who Box And Produce

Boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled have settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the first case against individuals who didn’t disclose they were compensated to promote a digital cryptocurrency. Mayweather accepted $100,000 to and Khaled took $50,000 to hawk Centra, while Mayweather took a further $200,000 to promote two other initial coin offerings. The boxer agreed to pay $614,775 in disgorgement, penalties and interest, while Khaled will pay $152,725. Most devastating for each, they are both banned from promoting securities for several years.

Liz Moyer, CNBC

No Longer Ruled As Out

NFL ratings are up 5 percent this season following a two-year period where the league was struggling. Games averaged 15.8 million viewers in the first 12 weeks of play, up from 14.9 million on average last season. They’re still off from the 17.9 million average of 2015, but it’s going in the right direction for the league. The 8,502 points and 980 touchdowns through the 12 weeks are the highest 12 weeks of any season. That’s great news for the league’s 24-year plan of “clone Todd Gurley.”

Kevin Seifert, ESPN

Indexes

Index funds are a convenient and low-fee way for consumers to invest with broad exposure to the stock market. But there’s a peril here in having too much of the stock market controlled by those few funds. In 2002, U.S. index mutual funds accounted for 4.5 percent of the total U.S. stock market. That rose to 9 percent in 2009, and today they account for 17 percent of the market. Counting funds that are actively managed, that’s 35 percent of the share of U.S. corporations. Three managers dominate: Vanguard, BlackRock and State Street control 81 percent of that and have enormous financial power that some believe could have distressing effects down the line.

John C. Bogle, The Wall Street Journal

Vicious Generational Smear

A new report from the Federal Reserve finds that people born between 1981 and 1997 are not the free-wheeling, globetrotting, financially wasteful millennials that their elders have smeared them as. Realistically, millennials aged 30 to 34 have annual expenditures almost exactly on par with those born between 1965 and 1980. No, the Fed said, the reason millennials are so broke is because most came of age in a recession they did not cause and they are being paid less in real terms than their elders. The average full-time labor earnings of a millennial male was over 10 percent lower than a comparable baby boomer’s in 1978, and the median labor earnings of women household heads were 3 percent lower than those of comparable Gen X household heads in 1998.

Jeremy Herron and Luke Kawa, Bloomberg, and Christopher Kurz, Geng Li, and Daniel J. Vine, Federal Reserve Board

The Cost Of Redlining

The median listing price of a home in a majority black neighborhood is $184,000, while the median listing price in a neighborhood where blacks make up less than 1 percent of the population is $341,000. Owner-occupied homes account for 54 percent of the wealth of black households in the U.S., but the properties are undervalued by the sheer fact they are in a black neighborhood. Peeling off other explanatory variables — home structure, neighborhood quality, average commute, population, libraries, school quality, proximity to commerce and restaurants, all the things that can tweak the cost of a home — the average home in a majority-black neighborhood is undervalued by $48,000, which amounts to $156 billion in cumulative losses to black homeowners.

Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

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