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Scott Barlow

A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the Web

Speculative bets on the oil price reached massive proportions last week, the largest since 2007.

"Wagers on higher and lower prices held by speculators and hedgers reached 1.47 million contracts in the week ended Nov. 15, the most since 2007, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Trading volume of calls giving investors the right to purchase WTI futures rose to a record that day. "There's tension in the market, with both producers and consumers worried about what OPEC does or won't do on Nov. 30," said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York. "They want to be protected from surprising price moves."'

"Oil Bets Are Biggest in 9 Years Amid OPEC, Trump Volatility" – Bloomberg

"Oil rally shrugs off dollar strength as hopes for output cut grow" – Financial Times

"Oil Climbs as Iran, Iraq Signal Deal Hope Before Vienna Meeting" – Bloomberg

"The Very Real Risks That OPEC Won't Cut Crude Oil Production" – Bloomberg

Bank of Montreal strategist Brian Belski released a report predicting that 2017 will see the S&P/TSX Composite underperform the S&P 500.

"Canadian stocks will likely take a back seat to their US neighbors again in 2017. Indeed, a broad policy shift in the US, especially relative to Canada (less regulation and renewed fiscal stimulus), will likely see asset flows swing back to the US at some point during the year."

"Investment Strategy: 2017 Market Outlook" – BMO

Bloomberg details the Renaissance Medallion Fund, the 'blackest box in all of finance'.

"The fabled fund, known for its intense secrecy, has produced about $55 billion in profit over the last 28 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, making it about $10 billion more profitable than funds run by billionaires Ray Dalio and George Soros. What's more, it did so in a shorter time and with fewer assets under management. The fund almost never loses money. Its biggest drawdown in one five-year period was half a percent… "Renaissance is the commercial version of the Manhattan Project," says Andrew Lo, a finance professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management … "They are the pinnacle of quant investing. No one else is even close.""

Before you ask, the fund is closed to all but Renaissance employees.

"Inside a Moneymaking Machine Like No Other" – Bloomberg

I have joked in the past that the brokerage industry and casino were very similar only one has flashing lights and the other wood paneling. This Atlantic feature on how casinos cynically nurture gambling addicts is well worthwhile on its own but, depending on the person, might have implications for active traders also.

"How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts" – The Atlantic

Tweet of the Day: "@bySamRo Investors remain in "panic" mode, which gives 97% probability of appreciation over the next 12 months – Citi " – Twitter

Diversion: Recently released video footage from the 1973 Apollo 17 mission. "The Last Steps | A Really Great Big Story" – Youtube

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