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The latest news from Business Insider

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    china ghost town

    • China has an astounding housing vacancy problem.
    • There are cities all over the country that are almost entirely unoccupied.
    • About 50 million apartments are abandoned across the country.

    When you picture a ghost town, images of an abandoned town in the wild west probably come to mind.

    In China, however, there are a surprising number of "ghost cities," or modern developments that have failed to attract residents.

    The Kangbashi District in Inner Mongolia, China, for example, is a city that has been in development for the past 14 years. The district is filled with residential skyscrapers, a modern museum and library, and schools — but it is dramatically underpopulated. Developers originally intended for a million residents, though they have since lowered the goal to 300,000.

    Keep reading for an inside look at China's ghost cities.

    In the Yunnan Province, the Chenggong district of Kunming was filled with largely unoccupied residential skyscrapers until recently.

    The city's development from farmland to urban center began in 2003.

    Source: Go Kunming

    However, by 2012, the city's population had not grown to match the new infrastructure.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows Yahoo logo in Rolle, Switzerland (top) in 2012 and a Verizon sign at a retail store in San Diego, California, U.S. In 2016. REUTERS/File Photos/

    • Oath is changing its name to Verizon Media Group, according to an announcement Tuesday.
    • News of the rebranding was accompanied with what many guessed to be the new logo — the letter "Y."
    • The Y logo appears to have been a gaffe that immersed the rebranding effort in confusion.

    Verizon announced Tuesday that Oath, the business unit comprising Yahoo and AOL, will be rebranded as Verizon Media Group starting January 8.

    verizon media group y logo

    But the brand's name change wasn't what necessarily caught the attention of those who viewed the announcement. Instead, people were puzzled by the graphic at the top of the announcement — a purple box with the letter "Y."

    It was not clear whether the graphic was supposed to be the new logo for the rebranded business. Although the purple and white Y is very likely related to Yahoo (which uses a similar looking purple Y in its logo), Verizon's use of the Y seemed incongruous with the new Verizon branding. 

    And Twitter users didn't waste any time in roasting the company.

    Verizon did not immediately respond to Business Insider's inquiry seeking clarification about the "Y" logo.

    But later on Tuesday, the announcement had been updated. Gone was the "Y" logo. In its place was a box bearing the names of various Verizon Media Group owned brands, such as Yahoo!, Yahoo! Mail, Tumblr, Aol, and HuffPost.


    News of Oath's rebranding comes a week after Verizon said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it expected to write down the value of Oath by $4.6 billion. The write-down was due to competitive pressures in the digital ad business, Verizon said.

    Business Insider first broke the news in April 2017 that the combined unit of AOL and Yahoo would be named "Oath." The new division was created following Verizon's acquisition of Yahoo for about $4.8 billion in cash.

    Read more: AOL and Yahoo plan to call themselves by a new name after the Verizon deal closes: Oath

    Verizon paid about $9 billion to acquire AOL and Verizon. The integration of the two companies as Oath never achieved the benefits Verizon hoped for, the company said in its SEC filing.

    SEE ALSO: Russia's disinformation campaign wasn't just on Facebook and Twitter. Here are all the social media platforms Russian trolls weaponized during the 2016 US elections

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic plan on taking you to space

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    Rosette Pambakian

    • Tinder has fired its vice president of marketing and communications, Rosette Pambakian, and a "number" of other employees who participated in a $2 billion lawsuit against the dating app's owners, according to a report by The Verge
    • Tinder employees involved in the lawsuit, including Pambakian, had been put on leave back in August, but were recently let go because they were "unable to fulfill their job responsibilities."
    • In August, a group of 10 current and former Tinder employees sued the dating app's parent company IAC and Match Group for $2 billion for allegedly undervaluing the startup on purpose to devalue early employee options.
    • Part of the lawsuit also involved allegations that former Tinder CEO Greg Blatt "groped and sexually harassed" Pambakian at a company holiday party. 
    • Match and IAC have previously called key claims of the lawsuit "meritless." 

    Tinder has fired its vice president of marketing and communications, Rosette Pambakian, as well as a "number" of other employees who participated in a $2 billion lawsuit against the Match Group, the owners of the dating app, according to a report by The Verge

    Tinder employees involved in the lawsuit, including Pambakian, had been put on leave back in August. A spokesperson for the Match Group confirms to Business Insider that "we’ve terminated a number of employees who are unable to perform their responsibilities.”

    In an email addressed to Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg and published by the Verge, Pambakian said:

    "I love Tinder. And I love my colleagues. But you have now fired me from a company I was so proud to build in blatant retaliation for joining a group of colleagues and Tinder’s original founding members in a lawsuit against Match and IAC, standing up for our rights, calling out the company’s CEO Greg for sexual misconduct, and confronting the company about covering up what happened to me."

    "Your position was never at risk due to any sexual harassment complaints. I wanted to find a way to keep you employed at Tinder," Ginsberg said in a reply e-mail sent to Pambakian, as provided by a spokesperson to Match. You can read Ginsberg's full letter below. 

    In August, a group of 10 current and former Tinder employees sued the dating app's parent company Match Group, which is itself owned by conglomerate IAC, for $2 billion for allegedly undervaluing the startup on purpose to devalue early employee options. Match and IAC have said these claims are "meritless." 

    Part of the lawsuit also involves allegations that former Tinder CEO Greg Blatt "groped and sexually harassed" Pambakian at a company holiday party in 2016. 

    Read more:Tinder founders say former CEO 'groped and sexually harassed' an executive at a company party in a bombshell $2 billion lawsuit

    Match said of the sexual harassment allegations at the time that it had "conducted a careful and thorough investigation under the direction of independent Board members, concluded, among other things, that there was no violation of law or company policy." 

    The full Verge report — including Pambakian's email and Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg's response — can be found here

    Here's Tinder CEO Mandy Ginsberg's full response to Pambakian, provided by a Match spokesperson:

    Dear Rosette,

    I’m glad you reached out to me directly and I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a few points, because there seems to be a very real disconnect here that I truly want to fix.

    You were not terminated because you reported Greg for sexual harassment. You couldn’t have been, as you never reported Greg for sexual harassment. When Sean Rad brought the subject up nearly five months later, right after the valuation process commenced, it was immediately and thoroughly investigated by the Board, independently without any involvement from Greg, which concluded that no sexual harassment occurred. I was not the CEO at the time, but I know that you were interviewed on at least two separate occasions and you never alleged sexual harassment.

    On the topic of sexual harassment at Tinder, you know how seriously reports are taken. You yourself reported two other male colleagues, whom Sean Rad hired, and they were very quickly dismissed. Clearly, it was taken very seriously given the company terminated those individuals. More importantly though, Greg is no longer here. I am. And I promise you, we do not retaliate against anyone who reports sexual harassment. Your position was never at risk due to any sexual harassment complaints. I wanted to find a way to keep you employed at Tinder.

    As explained in the letter we sent you, you were terminated because it was not possible for you to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of your role as Tinder’s spokesperson for a number of reasons, including your public position against the company over a valuation process. We also recently asked you to come to the office for a meeting with the HR department to discuss work-related activities and policies and were told that we can only contact you through your attorneys. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for you to do your work at Tinder if all communications related to your job have to go through your lawyers. As it relates to your personal information, any suggestion that we have been trying to access it is just not true. Like any company, we’ve asked for you, and all other employees involved, to return company laptops, phones and other devices to us. And unfortunately, we couldn’t retrieve a number of company devices from you and the others since you claimed that they were coincidentally all lost or damaged just before you decided to sue the company.

    There are two last points I want to make: on the point about your equity, those options have already been accelerated, and should be exercisable in your account, along with the other equity awards that have vested since August. However, on the arbitration agreements, there is no NDA in them and we never tried to force you to sign a non-disparagement agreement. You’re free to talk about anything publicly that you’d like. You have already done so and that’s your prerogative. But the arbitration agreement is attached again. As you already know from when you signed it, it’s clearly labeled “Agreement to Arbitrate.”

    I am a strong female advocate and have said to the women in the organization that as a female CEO in charge, I have zero tolerance for bad behavior and I am very much invested in every single employee’s success. If you’d like to discuss any of the above, or have a productive dialogue, I am here and will make myself available for an in person meeting. Just let me know.


    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic plan on taking you to space

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    This is a preview of The Digital Media Forecast Book from Business Insider Intelligence. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Media consumption has changed rapidly over the past decade, with digital increasingly claiming a larger share of the daily time spent with media. Increased mobile usage is driving much of the growth in digital time spent, as smartphones become more powerful and capable of handling tasks otherwise completed on desktop.

    Digital Media Forecast Book 2018

    Meanwhile, cord-cutting and cord-shaving will continue as consumers seek more affordable alternatives to traditional pay-TV. Marketers need to understand the underlying consumer trends that are driving billions of dollars in global advertising, and how those behaviors are likely to play out in the near term.

    In this three-part forecast book, Business Insider Intelligence forecasts how much time users spend consuming each format as we approach peak media, and how those changes reflect how advertising dollars are spent globally and in the US.


    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Lauder family

    • The US may not have any rich royals, but it does have rich families with net worths in the billions.
    • These billionaire clans have accumulated their fortunes in vastly different ways, from publishing and cosmetics to retail and hotels.
    • See the top 25 richest families in the US, ranked by net worth, starting at $10 billion. 

    America may not be home to any rich royal families, but that doesn't mean some families haven't created their own sort of empire.

    In fact, the United States has quite a few billionaire clans who accumulated their fortunes in vastly different ways. There are the publishing powerhouses that built the Hearst and Newhouse family fortunes; a cosmetics giant, which laid the foundation for the Lauder family fortune; and the families that created their wealth out of household names, like Walmart for the Waltons and Hyatt Hotels for the Pritzers.

    But not all of America's richest families began as entrepreneurs— some were also savvy investors.

    Below, meet the richest families in the US, ranked from lowest net worth to highest net worth, starting at $10 billion. Rankings were determined by the most up-to-date estimated net worths available from Forbes and Bloomberg.

    SEE ALSO: The 10 richest royal families in Europe, ranked

    DON'T MISS: Meet the 10 richest billionaire royals in the world right now

    25. The Gallo family

    Net worth: $10.7 billion

    Source of wealth: E & J Gallo Winery

    The Gallo family fortune is derived from a few avenues. Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo founded the world's largest winemaker in Modesto, California. Their other brother, Joseph, assisted with the family business until he opened his first dairy and sold cheese as "Joseph Gallow Cheese." His children currently run Joseph Farms, while the descendants of Ernest and Julio run E & J Gallo Winery, which generates estimated annual revenues of $3.8 billion. The company sells more than wine these days having added liquor to the list.


    24. The Rockefeller family

    Net worth: $11 billion

    Source of wealth: Standard Oil

    John D. Rockefeller became America's first billionaire after founding Standard Oil in 1870, which eventually controlled a majority of the country's oil refining. He and his son, John Jr., donated more than $1 billion in philanthropic efforts. The family's fortune is split among 174 members.


    23. The Butt family

    Net worth: $11 billion

    Source of wealth: H.E. Butt

    Florence Butt founded H-E-B grocery store in Texas in 1905, which her son Howard expanded throughout the state when he took over the company in the 1920s. His son, Charles, is the majority shareholder and currently runs the company, which has 400 stores in Texas and Mexico and generates $25 billion in annual sales. Charles' siblings and two nephews also have stakes in the business.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    FILE PHOTO - Foliage partly covers a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 3, 2015.REUTERS/Olivia Harris

    The story of 1MDB has it all: missing billions, Hollywood celebrities, and high-flying investment bankers. A scandal involving Malaysia's state-owned investment fund has become one of the most notorious alleged frauds of all time.

    The fallout has been widespread. More than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund during the scheme that lasted from 2009 through 2015, according to the US Department of Justice. It's also triggered investigations in at least six countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, and Switzerland.

    Earlier this week, the Malaysian government filed criminal charges against four people involved in the scheme, including former employees of Goldman Sachs, a superrich Malaysian businessman, and a former executive of the fund.

    Below we've listed the key figures intertwined with the scandal, from whistleblowers who sought to expose the scheme to the public to the alleged masterminds.

    Najib Razak

    In 2009, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up the state-owned investment fund 1MDB, whose full name is 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The fund was meant to attract foreign investment and boost economic development in Malaysia. But according to prosecutors for the Malaysian government, Najib and his second wife, Rosmah Mansor, funneled money from the fund to enrich themselves.

    Malaysian investigators say that $681 million was transferred into Najib's personal accounts, while the country's then attorney general claimed the money was a donation from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

    Najib lost power in a general election in May and Malaysia's new government swiftly renewed investigations into the former prime minister, who is now facing a string of charges including abuse of power and money laundering related to 1MDB. Malaysian authorities raided properties linked to him and his wife earlier this year and seized luxury handbags, jewelry, watches, and other goods worth millions of dollars.

    A senior Malaysian government minister told the BBC that Razak was the high-ranking “Malaysian Official #1” related to the 1MDB scheme described by the US Justice Department.

    He has constantly denied any wrongdoing.

    Jho Low

    At the center of the 1MDB scandal is the fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, popularly known as Jho Low. He was believed by US investigators to be the mastermind orchestrating the scandal.

    Court filings show Low advised on the creation of 1MDB but didn’t hold a formal position at the fund. He is also the owner of a Swiss bank account, Good Star Limited, through which millions of dollars were funneled from the 1MDB fund into the US. The filings show the money was used by him and associates to purchase luxurious properties, artworks by Monet and Picasso, jewelry, and more.

    The 37-year-old is known for his lavish lifestyle, mysterious wealth, and social circle, which included Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton, and top bankers from Goldman Sachs.

    Born to a wealthy Asian family, Low was raised in Malaysia. His father founded an investment holding company called MWE Holdings Bhd, and his grandfather Low Meng Tak reportedly amassed family fortunes through mining and liquor-distilleries businesses.

    Low studied at Wharton's business school. Previously he attended London’s Harrow School, during which he was believed to have met Riza Aziz, the former Malaysian prime minister’s stepson.

    Now an international fugitive, Low is wanted in Malaysia for multiple criminal charges. While China is believed to be the preferred hideout for this Malaysian financier, his whereabouts remains unknown.

    Low has denied wrongdoing. On December 17, a spokesman at a Australian-based PR firm released a statement through his lawyers, claiming that he "cannot get a fair trial in Malaysia." The statement came right after the Malaysian government’s move to file criminal charges against Low and three other individuals, among whom were two former partners of Goldman Sachs.

    Riza Aziz

    Riza Aziz is the stepson of Najib Razak, a friend of Jho Low, and a cofounder of a movie-production company called Red Granite Pictures. The Los Angeles-based company coproduced the Hollywood blockbuster "Wolf of Wall Street" starring DiCaprio.

    Court filings say that he misappropriated money originating from 1MDB to finance a number of movies including the aforementioned blockbuster and "Dumb and Dumber To." The company has agreed to pay $60 million to settle the allegations.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    boss employee work computer

    We’re hiring a VP of Subscription Marketing to aggressively grow subscriptions and lead our marketing team from our New York office. Insider Inc.’s subscriptions team is passionate about producing research products that help industry leaders transform their organizations using emerging digital technologies, along with premium business news in finance, markets, enterprise, and tech.


    Job overview

    Insider Inc. is an organization of doers from the top on down. We’re looking for someone who is a fountain of good ideas, moves fast, and loves to experiment, build, and iterate. It’s a role for someone with at least 7 years of email marketing experience, who is deeply curious about what compels people to take action and who has the technical and data chops to test their theories, build a strategy, and drive results.

    As a team leader you’ll be responsible for our developing our marketing strategy, driving subscriptions, optimization, and engagement through email campaigns, maintaining relationships with technology vendors, forming new partnerships, and managing our marketing team. The VP of Subscription Marketing will also collaborate with stakeholders responsible for email across Insider.



    • Build the vision and growth strategy of digital subscription marketing at Insider. Meet aggressive free and paid subscription signup goals to support individual / consumer business, as well as qualification and lead generation for enterprise business. Iterate quickly, generate new ideas, and double-down on winners.

    • Optimize and execute on email. Develop and execute email campaigns to meet engagement, lead generation, and conversion goals. Optimize email campaigns and engagement. Delight our readers and subscribers.

    • Develop a friction-free marketing funnel. From emails to landing pages to sign-ups to product/content delivery, make it a frictionless experience for our readers. Dive into audience data to make campaigns even better and remove sources of friction from our conversion process to create hassle-free sign ups across channels.

    • Lead and train a high-performing team of digitally-savvy marketers to support the strategic goals of the business.

    • Stay up to date on the newest digital tools and tactics in digital marketing. Review, recommend, and manage tools, services, and vendors. Evaluate, hire, and develop relationships with existing and new platforms, partners and vendors.



    • 7+ years in marketing with an exceptional digital and email marketing background

    • Top-notch organizational skills and attention to detail

    • Goal-oriented, data-driven, and errs on the side of action

    • Technical expertise in digital analytics tools (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, ComScore etc.)

    • Ability to closely manage timelines on concurrent campaigns supporting diverse business goals

    • Up-to-date on industry developments and competitors and active in the media community

    • Excellent technical implementation skills in HTML, email CRM platforms, etc.

    • Solid experience managing a team of dedicated marketing professionals

    • Hands on experience with paid digital campaigns (PPC, display, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and managing budgets, overseeing vendors, platforms


    If this sounds like a great job for you, please apply online and include a cover letter highlighting why you’d be a good fit for the role

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The reason some men can't grow full beards, according to a dermatologist

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Smart speakers in shoppingConsumers are finally starting to adopt smart home devices, with nearly 60% owning at least one device. This presents an opportunity for e-commerce companies to enter the smart home and encourage purchasing through the devices.

    The smart speaker has become the face of the smart home in many ways, attracting the lion’s share of attention as companies look for ways to take advantage of the growing platform. But there’s a problem: Consumers aren’t using the smart speaker to actually buy products very often.

    Instead, one of the clearest opportunities outside of the smart speaker is home goods and grocery replenishment through large appliances. Smart devices in the home — especially appliances — can take advantage of built-in sensors to either tell consumers when they need to buy more of a product, or make that purchase autonomously. This will create an opportunity for appliance manufacturers, e-commerce vendors, and product suppliers to ink supply agreements to meet consumers' needs.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines several areas of opportunity for e-commerce companies to leverage smart home technologies to provide new and better services to their customers. First, we explore how smart appliances, including connected dishwashers and laundry machines, are building on one-click purchasing systems to enable automated replenishment. We then discuss the smart fridge and detail how apps, cameras, and voice assistants are enabling takeout and grocery delivery through these appliances. Finally, we examine the role of the voice interface beyond smart speakers as it relates to purchasing products in the home, and how omnipresent voice will be used to organize and interact with automated services.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Blue Apron, Costo, GE, Google, Instacart, Keurig, KitchenAid, LG, Ocado, P&G, Plated, Reynolds, Samsung, Target, Walmart, Whirlpool.

     Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Companies have a clear opportunity to leverage sensors, cameras, and connectivity in a variety of home appliances to revolutionize the way consumers buy home goods.
    • Smart appliance manufacturers, e-tailers, and CPG companies will be able to collaborate and partner to develop new methods of resupplying consumers' homes.
    • The smart fridge will transform into the hub of the kitchen and become the autonomous organizing device that oversees grocery purchasing and food delivery.

    In full, the report:

    • Provides an overview of the key players and types of products in the smart appliance space.
    • Highlights the models that companies can adopt to take advantage of the developing sector.
    • Identifies the key services that will boost automated e-commerce engagement in the home.


    Join the conversation about this story »

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    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.


    We almost always default to Amazon when we need last-minute, well, anything. Because we love procrastinating, we use it most frantically to buy gifts.

    Once you're on Amazon, you can breathe a little and remind yourself to calm down — it's virtually impossible not to find a good gift that will arrive in time.

    Many of these gifts in our list are available with fast Prime shipping, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival. Amazon's detailed holiday delivery calendar notes that the last day for Prime free two-day shipping is Saturday, December 22. 

    If you don't already have an Amazon Prime membership, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of free two-day shipping and dozens of other benefits.

    Looking for more last-minute gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    SEE ALSO: 55 creative last-minute gifts for her that are all under $50

    DON'T MISS: 50 clever and practical last-minute gifts for dad under $50

    A powerful portable speaker

    Soundcore Flare Wireless Speaker, available at Amazon, $49.99

    About the size of a soda can, the Soundcore Flare is a powerful and very portable speaker that puts on a cool LED light show.

    An Instant Pot for easy weeknight meals

    Instant Pot DUO80, $89.95

    The Instant Pot is one of the most versatile appliances you can add to your kitchen for under $100. Help him make delicious home-cooked meals a cinch, even when he has to work late.

    A recipe book for Instant Pot meal inspiration

    The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook, $11.99

    For meal inspiration, you may want to consider gifting the Instant Pot along with an Instant Pot-specific cookbook. This one is a #1 best seller on Amazon.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    steve cohen

    • Michael Graves, a senior portfolio manager at Cubist Systematic, the quant arm of Point72, resigned last week.
    • Graves will continue to be employed at the firm for "a significant period of time," according to one source. 
    • Sources told Business Insider Graves had several PMs reporting to him.

    Steve Cohen's quant arm is losing one of its top portfolio managers.

    Michael Graves, a senior PM in Point72's Cubist Systematic unit, resigned from the multibillion hedge fund manager last week, according to people familiar with the matter. Graves, who was at Point72 for nearly nine years according to his LinkedIn, will continue to be on the firm's payroll for a "significant amount of time," according to a source close to the firm. 

    Graves has several portfolio managers underneath him, sources tell Business Insider. 

    According to his LinkedIn profile, Graves joined Point72 in 2010 after working as a quant for years at firms including the former- Credit Suisse First Boston and BNP quant subsidiary Cooper Neff. His more recent positions included roles in high-frequency trading and "statistical arbitrage" hedge funds. Fortress Investment Group bought the first two hedge funds he founded, FountainHead Capital and Area51, and made Graves a managing director in 2006, where he worked until he left to found Tesseract Capital. He left Tesseract in 2010 to join Cubist. 

    Quants have underperformed the rest of the industry this year, with the average systematic fund declining 2.83% through November, according to Hedge Fund Research, compared to a 2% dip for the entire industry. 

    Cohen, whose two-year ban from managing outside money expired at the end of 2017, has roughly $13 billion in total assets at Point72, which includes Cohen's own personal fortune. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    US Navy destroyer Bainbridge BaltOps Baltic NATO

    With some 50,000 troops and tens of thousands of vehicles, ships, and aircraft, exercise Trident Juncture 2018 was NATO's largest exercise since the end of the Cold War.

    "NATO does a major exercise like this each year," Ben Hodges, who commanded the US Army in Europe before retiring in 2017, told Business Insider earlier this year. "The scale of this one obviously is bigger than some of the past, but nonetheless, the fact that this exercise is happening is a normal part of NATO's battle rhythm."

    In 2017, NATO conducted 108 exercises, and its members held 162 national and multinational exercises. This year, the alliance had 106 NATO exercises planned, and its members were expected to lead about 180 national and multinational exercises.

    Those exercises vary in scope, duration, and form, ranging from live exercises involving thousands of troops to computer-assisted exercises in a classroom.

    Below you can see just a few of the exercises NATO conducted this year with its members and partners.

    SEE ALSO: 'We can do better': The Navy's newest fleet commander says US ships and sailors got 'beat up' during NATO's biggest exercise since the Cold War

    Dynamic Manta, conducted March 5 through March 16, is an annual NATO exercise meant to train submarines, surface ships, and maritime patrol aircraft in submarine and anti-submarine warfare.

    Led by NATO's Allied Maritime Command, Dynamic Manta 18 took place in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily.

    For this year's iteration, subs from Canada, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the US, working under the control of NATO Submarine Command, joined nine surface ships from Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the US.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • FedEx said on Tuesday that it will offer a buyout program for US employees.
    • Earlier this year, FedEx announced $3.2 billion in wage increases, bonuses, domestic investments, and pension funding. 
    • But an economic downturn in Europe has led FedEx to slash its profit outlook. 


    FedEx told investors on Tuesday that it will offer a voluntary buyout program for US employees. 

    Those who participate will receive four weeks of pay and healthcare coverage for every year of employment for a maximum of two years.

    The Memphis, Tenn.-based company will spend $450 million to $575 million on buyouts, depending on how many participate. That will save FedEx $225 million to $275 million in fiscal 2020, it estimates. 

    It's quite a different tune than what FedEx was whistling just a few months ago. 

    In April, FedEx bumped compensation by $200 million among its 425,000-plus employees. Two-thirds went to hourly employees and the rest to salaried workers. The delivery company announced those annual raises, which normally take place in October, in January.

    FedEx also announced contributions of $1.5 billion to its pension plan and domestic investments of $1.5 billion in January.

    The announcement of $3.2 billion of increased spending followed the US tax reform that cut corporate rates. 

    Read more: USPS is hemorrhaging billions of dollars a year and it might sell the rights to your mailbox to turn a profit

    But unexpected economic downturns in Europe and looming troubles in China sank FedEx's profit outlook, even though its domestic business has been flourishing. On Tuesday, FedEx dropped its 2019 earnings guidance to $15.50 to $16.60 per share. Previously, the company forecasted $17.20 to $17.80 a share.

    "Global trade has slowed in recent months and leading indicators point to ongoing deceleration in global trade near-term," said Alan Graf, FedEx executive vice president and chief financial officer, on Tuesday.

    The buyout program is one of FedEx's planned measures to cost cuts. FedEx will also limit hiring, reduce discretionary spending, and reduce international network capacity.

    Are you a FedEx employee with thoughts on the buyout program? Contact the reporter at

    SEE ALSO: FedEx just slashed its 2019 forecast because of 'global economic uncertainty'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Craig Jackson of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company has one of the world's most expensive private garages — take a look inside

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    bryant park holiday market

    • I visited an iconic New York City holiday market to see if it lived up to the hype.
    • The Bank of America Winter Village is at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, a short walk from Times Square.
    • I expected it to be overcrowded with tourists, filled with cheesy souvenir shops, and completely overrated. 
    • But it was actually a lovely NYC holiday experience and I think everyone should visit.


    I had low expectations going to the Bryant Park Winter Village, a holiday market in New York City.

    It's in Midtown Manhattan, a short walk from Times Square, and it's on top of five subway lines, so I was sure it would be packed with people.

    The market, which opened on October 27 this year, includes more than 170 holiday pop-up shops, an ice skating rink, and a heated lodge with food and a cocktail bar. There are also various eateries mixed in with the boutiques.

    Read more: Disappointing photos show what iconic New York City attractions really look like during the holidays

    To my surprise, the market was actually far from overcrowded. Even when it got busier as the evening wore on, I could always walk freely and I never felt like I was being surrounded by too many people. The atmosphere was calm yet festive, the shops sold artisanal wares from all over the world rather than just cheap tourist souvenirs, and everybody just genuinely seemed to be having a lovely time.

    Here's what the market is actually like, and why I suggest any New York City local or visitor should give it a visit.

    SEE ALSO: I went to a Veuve Clicquot holiday pop-up where you can drink $16 cocktails inside a rooftop 'snow globe,' and it seemed to be 100% made for Instagram

    DON'T MISS: A private jet company is letting rich people celebrate New Year's Eve twice by flying them around the world in a Gulfstream G550 for $250,000

    Bryant Park is in Midtown Manhattan, a short walk from Times Square.

    I got there a little after 4 p.m. on a weekday in mid-December, just as it was starting to get dark.

    The sidewalks surrounding the park were busy with wandering tourists and with locals leaving work. You can access five subway lines at the park, so the area always gets busy around rush hour.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kate Middleton plaid skirt christmas party

    • Kate Middleton has worn a wide array of outfits in 2018.
    • She debuted new looks from some of her go-to designers like Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham.
    • The duchess wore everything from sleek blazers to extravagant ball gowns.

    Much like her new sister-in-law Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton has had an incredibly busy year. If attending two major royal weddings wasn't enough, she also gave birth to her third child Prince Louis in April and added some new roles to her list of royal duties.

    The duchess also had quite a busy year in terms of fashion. While she still smartly recycled a few of her favorite pieces as usual, she also debuted brand-new ensembles that ranged from chic pantsuits to show-stopping Cinderella-style ball gowns. 

    Here are her 25 best outfits of the year.

    The Duchess of Cambridge started the year by debuting a new navy blue coat in January.

    She visited Reach Academy wearing the double-breasted Gianna coat by Hobbs London, which she paired with the $625 Georgia pumps by Jimmy Choo, and a navy clutch by Stuart Weitzman.

    Middleton then debuted another coat in a striking shade of orange-red.

    According to What Kate Wore, this is the first time the duchess has been spotted in a design by Boden. She opted for the $330 Lena Coat with dark pumps and a $435 brown suede clutch by Emma London for a visit to the Mittal Children's Medical Centre in January.

    Read more:Kate Middleton's mom recreated one of her daughter's outfits, and it's proof that style runs in the family

    As her royal tour of Norway and Sweden kicked off, Middleton bundled up in a chic ensemble.

    She wore a double-breasted black trenchcoat by Burberry while playing a round of Bandy hockey in Stockholm, Sweden. Middleton also wore a pair of $130 Tivoli III boots by Sorel.

    Read more:Kate Middleton made $130 snow boots look chic — and she's not the only celebrity who owns a pair

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    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.

    homesick, $29.95

    I live in New York, but given that I'm from Connecticut, I'm not a New Yorker. State pride is serious business — no matter where you live, you'll always have a unique connection to where you're from. Showing your state pride can manifest in many different ways. Maybe you're a committed fan of all of your states sports teams. Maybe you fervently hold that your hometown pizzeria has the best slice in the country — and you're willing to fight for that one. 

    Wherever they live, whatever way they choose to show their state pride, anyone will appreciate a state-inspired present this holiday season. It's a thoughtful, nostalgic gift that's sure to make them smile.

    If you haven't done your holiday shopping yet, a state-inspired gift still has a personal feel — so they won't feel let down with a generic last-minute gift. We found plenty of great options, plus they're all from Amazon so you can get them under the tree in time for Christmas. 

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

    Keep scrolling for 19 great state-inspired gifts they'll love:

    A more simple state cutting board

    Totally Bamboo State Shaped Serving and Cutting Board, $19.95

    A beautiful bamboo cutting board is just what they need for cheese platters and charcuterie. The sleek state shape is a definite conversation piece, sure to up the ante for their next dinner party.

    Note: Some states may arrive after Christmas

    A candle that smells like home

    Homesick Candles, $29.95

    We've all had that feeling when we get a whiff of salty air or sweet cinnamon rolls and, suddenly, it's like we're immediately transported home. Homesick did plenty of research and crowdsourcing to capture the scents of every state and turn those into candles. With choices ranging from states, cities, and even experiences, lighting one of these is sure to conjure up lots of great memories. 

    A state-shaped cutting and serving board

    Totally Bamboo Engraved Serving and Cutting Board, $30

    If you think the plain bamboo is too simple, go for this board that's actually engraved with the state name, plenty of locations, icons, and important figures. If they're not the cheese platter type, they can still enjoy this board and hang it up as an interesting piece of wall decor. 

    Note: Some states may arrive after Christmas

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • FedEx released its 2019 Q2 earnings report on Tuesday.
    • The results were mediocre.
    • FedEx CEO Fred Smith attributed the drop in profit expectations to a global economic turndown caused by "bad political choices."
    • He said Amazon isn't a threat to FedEx's business. Analysts told Business Insider it's not that simple. 

    FedEx released a disappointing forecast for 2019 on Tuesday — and now its stock is on track for its worst day in 10 years.

    FedEx CEO Fred Smith insisted to investors on a call that the shoddy earnings report was caused by "bad political choices" that have led to a global economic slowdown. He called out Brexit, immigration in Germany, state-owned firms in China, and Donald Trump's tariff war. 

    "So you just go down the list, and they're all things that have created macroeconomic slowdowns," Smith said. 

    Smith also wrote off the idea that Amazon is a threat to their business.

    "The prospects that this company (FedEx) is going to be 'disrupted' ... is fantastical," Smith said. "I'll leave it at that."

    But analysts say FedEx shouldn't just ignore Amazon's efforts in expanding its own air fleet capacity and potentially transiting from FedEx. "It's obvious Amazon is going to continue to grow their air fleet," Kevin Sterling, managing director of Seaport Global Securities, told Business Insider.

    Amazon depends on the delivery capacity of FedEx, as well as UPS, USPS, and others. 

    "I would simply say no one has benefitted more from the transportation networks built out by FedEx, UPS, and USPS than Amazon,"Trip Miller, founder and managing partner of Gullane Capital, told Business Insider. (Disclosure: Gullane Capital has shares in Amazon and FedEx.) "Amazon can’t deliver on their Prime commitments without FedEx, UPS, and USPS."

    And those shipping firms depend on Amazon as well. Miller said Amazon comprises around 3%-5% of FedEx's revenue, while Amazon's revenue percentage at UPS is around the low teens.

    "They have a unique partnership," Miller said. 

    Amazon's own fleet is small but quickly growing

    The e-commerce juggernaut has been building out its own cargo fleet, presently with around 40 cargo planes. That's pretty puny compared to FedEx Express' fleet of 675 aircraft and UPS with 247 cargo planes.

    amazon air

    But Amazon is quickly expanding. Just last week, Amazon announced it will expand its 72,000-square-foot cargo facility at Chicago Rockford International Airport to 200,000 square feet. It also announced last week it would build a new regional hub at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, and a new sorting facility in Ohio's Wilmington Air Park.

    That matches plans to expand its hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to three million square feet. The space could then accommodate more than 100 Amazon Air cargo planes.

    Regardless, FedEx's Smith continues to hold that Amazon is nothing more than a customer.

    "We don't see them as a peer competitor of ours for many reasons," he said. 

    It's indeed not likely, in the short term, that Amazon would become a third-party carrier like FedEx. Helane Becker, managing director and senior research analyst at Cowen, told Business Insider that Amazon's cargo fleet moves deliveries from its own fulfillment centers, rather than servicing other retailers as well.

    What is more likely is Amazon building so much capacity that it lessens its dependence on FedEx and other freight haulers. 

    Even if that does happen, Sterling said FedEx is still set on the e-commerce front. Most retailers expanding their online shopping capabilities aren't also building out their own air fleet — like Walmart, for instance.

    "Amazon is going to do their own thing, but there's going to be enough growth in e-commerce that they (FedEx and others) will be able to grow with companies outside of Amazon," Sterling said.

    SEE ALSO: Months after lavishing raises and bonuses, FedEx is pushing an employee buyout program

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This Rolls-Royce feature might be the world's fanciest way to tailgate

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    powell stocks trader

    • Stocks fell Wednesday, erasing earlier gains after the Federal Reserved increased borrowing costs.
    • The Fed signaled it expects to hike rates twice in 2019. It previously had expected three rate hikes next year.
    • All three major US indices fell into correction territory earlier this month.
    • Watch the major US indexes trade in real time here.

    Stocks wiped out gains and ended at their lowest levels in more than a year Wednesday after the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point, while also signaling fewer rate hikes in 2019 than previously expected. 

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 700 points from session highs to trade down 1.54%, its lowest close since November 2017. After rising more than 1% each ahead of the Fed meeting, the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2.17% and the S&P 500 shed 1.25%. 

    A series of sell-offs this month have sent all three indices into correction territory, or down more than 10% from recent highs, as investors fret over rising rates and the prospect of slowing economic growth.

    The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate to a target range of between 2.25% and 2.5%, as was widely expected, marking the fourth hike this year and the ninth since 2015. The central bank also signaled it would take a tentative approach to monetary policy next year.

    "The Fed's projections for the path of interest rates in the year ahead tilted dovish relative to its stance three months ago, as policymakers appear to be backing off their previous intentions to raise rates three times in 2019," said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede.

    The dollar slid against a basket of peers following the data. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 4.7 basis points to 2.776%, while the yield on the 2-year was mostly unchanged at 2.654%.

    Facebook wiped out billions of dollars in market value as it came under scrutiny on multiple fronts. The attorney general for Washington, DC, said it had sued Facebook over its involvement with Cambridge Analytica. A day earlier, the New York Times reported the social media giant granted some technology companies greater access to user data than has been disclosed.

    Semiconductor shares were broadly lower, with NXP and Nvidia down 7.4% and 5.7%, respectively. Micron, which posted guidance that missed Wall Street expectations after the bell Tuesday, dropped 7.9%.

    Oil prices jumped more than 3% after the US reported a drawdown in inventories for a third straight week. West Texas Intermediate was trading around $47.30 per barrel, and Brent just under $57.

    SEE ALSO: Fed raises interest rates amid fierce pushback from Trump, signals fewer hikes in 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

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    Navy Lockheed Martin littoral combat ship LCS 19 St. Louis launch

    • Lockheed Martin launched the latest Freedom-class littoral combat ship over the weekend.
    • The ship, to be named USS St. Louis, was dumped in the river on its side.
    • It's one of the few ships to be launched that way, and it is done so because of the ship's design and shallow draft.

    The newest Freedom-class littoral combat ship, LCS 19, the future USS St. Louis, was christened and launched in Marinette, Wisconsin, on Saturday, when the 3,900-ton warship tumbled into the icy water of the Menominee River on its side.

    Freedom-class littoral combat ships are among the few ships in the world that are launched sideways.

    Read more: The US Navy is thinking about sending advanced sub-hunting planes to Alaska to keep a closer eye on Russia and China

    That method was used "because the size of the ship and the capabilities of the shipyard allow for a side launch," Joe DePietro, Lockheed's vice presidentvice president of small combatants and ship systems, said in a statement.

    "The ship has a shallow draft (it requires less than 14 feet of water to operate in) and is a small combatant (about 381 feet long), and can therefore be side launched, where many other ships cannot."

    "Our partner Fincantieri Marinette Marine has delivered more than 1,300 vessels and has used the side launch method across multiple Navy and Coast Guard platforms," DePietro added. "The size and capacity of the vessels under construction enable use of the side-launch method."

    Lockheed Martin got the contract to build the ship in December 2010, and the name St. Louis was selected in April 2015. It will be the seventh Navy ship to bear that name — the first since the amphibious cargo ship St. Louis left service in 1991.

    Read more: The Navy's newest, most sophisticated aircraft carrier doesn't have urinals

    LCS 19's keel was laid in May 2017, when the ship's sponsor Barbara Taylor — wife of the CEO of the St. Louis-based company Enterprise rental car — welded her initials into a steel plate that was included in the ship's hull.

    On December 15, Taylor christened the ship by smashing a bottle of champagne on its bow and then watched the warship tip over into the water.

    Navy LCS St. Louis launch

    "LCS 19 is the second ship we've christened and launched this year," DePietro said in a release, adding that the defense firm's shipbuilding team had "truly hit its stride."

    "We completed trials on three ships and delivered two more," DePietro added. "Once delivered to the Navy, LCS 19 will be on its way to independently completing targeted missions around the world."

    Read more: Norway has released video from inside the elite warship that sank after getting rammed by a tanker

    Lockheed has delivered seven littoral combat ships to the Navy and seven more are in various stages of production and testing at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, where LCS 19 was launched on Saturday.

    While LCS 19 has been christened and launched, it won't become part of the Navy until it's commissioned. At that point, the name St. Louis will become official.

    USS Independence mine countermeasures UUV remote vehicle littoral combat ship

    The Navy's littoral-combat-ship program is divided into two classes. Freedom-class ships are steel monohull vessels that are slightly smaller than their Independence-class counterparts, which are aluminum trimarans by General Dynamics that have a revolutionary design.

    The LCS is meant to be a relatively cheap surface warship — about one-third the cost of a new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, according to Lockheed — with a modular design that allows it to be quickly outfitted with a variety of different equipment suited for different types of missions.

    While both classes are open-ocean capable, they are designed for operations close to shore, with modular packages for their primary missions of antisubmarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and surface warfare against smaller boats. (Issues with the LCS program may lead to its mine-countermeasure assets being deployed on other ships.)

    US Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock Buffalo

    The LCS is also meant to carry out intelligence-gathering, maritime-security, and homeland-security missions and support for Marine or special-operations forces regardless of its installed mission package.

    The LCS program has encountered numerous problems however, including controversy about cost overruns, issues with design and construction of the first models, and concerns about their ability to survive damage in combat. Late Sen. John McCain was a vociferous critic of the LCS program's expense and mechanical issues.

    The program has also faced more conventional hurdles. The USS Little Rock, the fifth Freedom-class LCS, was stuck in Montreal for three months at the beginning of this year, hemmed in by winter weather and sea ice.

    SEE ALSO: The Coast Guard turned down a request for an Arctic exercise out of concern the US's only heavy icebreaker would break down and Russia would have to rescue it

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Step aboard the USS Kearsarge, the US Navy workhorse that takes Marines to war

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    Affordable Care Act Obamacare Protesters

    • Sign ups for Obamacare health insurance plans through the marketplace fell 4% for 2019.
    • While this is the second straight year that enrollment declined, the final tally is much better than earlier numbers suggested.
    • The drop was due to a slew of reasons ranging from the repeal of the individual mandate in the GOP tax law to Virginia's expansion of Medicaid.

    Obamacare enrollment declined for the second straight year, but the number of people enrolling in health insurance plans for 2019 remained relatively resilient following a year of uncertainty fueled by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress.

    Enrollment in Affordable Care Act health plans through the federally-managed platform totaled about 8.5 million during this year's open enrollment period, down 4% from last year, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

    34 of the 39 states that use reported enrollment declines compared to the same period in 2017 with just Wyoming, Hawaii, Florida, Mississippi, and Oklahoma showing enrollment increases. Others states, such as New York and California, run their own sign-up systems and have different deadlines.

    Read more: Here's how much Obamacare premiums will increase in every state

    The numbers come as a substantial rebound for enrollment. Previous weekly updates from CMS showed enrollment on track to fall as much as 12% year-over-year. A lot of people usually sign up for health plans right around the deadline, which was December 15.

    Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the health policy think tank The Kaiser Family Foundation, said the numbers prove the continued strength of the Obamacare market despite a slew of changes by the Trump administration.

    "With 8.5 million people signed up for health insurance for 2019 in the federal ACA marketplace, it is far from dead and remarkably resilient," Levitt tweeted Wednesday.

    These enrollment numbers are preliminary, 2017's total fell slightly between the end of open enrollment and CMS's final evaluation.

    Obamacare faced a lot of challenges during this sign-up season

    There were a slew of challenges facing Obamacare during the sixth open enrollment period, with everything from the elimination of the individual mandate to the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia contributing to the slowdown in sign-ups.

    Seema Verma, the chief of CMS, told reporters that the overall sign-up numbers were "steady as compared to previous years" and proved that the Trump administration had stabilized the marketplaces. Verma also pointed to the strong economy as a key reason for the enrollment decline.

    "People are now getting jobs and those jobs are providing health insurance, so those individuals may not need to come to the exchange to get health coverage," Verma said.

    In addition to the strong economy, some of the factors that makes the enrollment numbers even more impressive are:

    • The elimination of the individual mandate, the financial penalty for not having insurance. The penalty was decreased to $0 as part of the GOP tax law, making it possible for people to decline coverage without facing a financial hit.
    • The Trump administration's drastic cuts to Obamacare's advertising and outreach budget which fell to $10 million from $100 million during the Obama administration. Verma disputed the notion that the advertising cuts made a difference in enrollment. "We see no correlation between what we’re spending on advertising and effectuated enrollments," she said.
    • The expansion of short-term, limited-duration plans by the Trump administration. The plans offer a cheaper alternative for younger and healthier consumers, but carry increased risk since the plans offer less coverage.
    • The expansion of Medicaid in Virginia. The state saw the largest drop in enrollees this year, and Verma said about 100,000 people who previously bought exchange plans were now eligible for Medicaid coverage.
    • Uncertainty over the future of the law, likely exacerbated by a judge's ruling on Friday— the day before the final day of enrollment — that the entire Affordable Care Act (Obamacare's official name) is unconstitutional.

    obama smile

    Add up all of those factors and you've got the recipe for the enrollment decrease.

    West Virginia saw the biggest decline in enrollment compared to last year.

    Rusty Harvilla has been helping people in West Virginia sign up for ACA health plans since 2013. He said he thinks two big changes are responsible for the decline: the end of Obamacare's requirement that everybody buy insurance, and a big reduction in advertising and enrollment support from the Trump administration.

    Harvilla said he often got phone calls from people asking if they still had to buy health insurance this year. He said he'd answer that they didn't have to buy it, but he'd also tell them it was a good idea to be covered.

    "I had that question a lot this time around,'' he said. "And I would be honest with them and say no, you don’t have to buy it."

    Harvilla said Obamacare has never been popular.

    "It's toxic," Harvilla, a certified application counselor at Clay-Battelle Health Services, said by phone. "If they bring it up, we try to steer them toward ACA, the marketplace, those kind of terminologies."

    Still, he said, people are usually grateful for the coverage.

    Here's a breakdown of state-by-state changes in enrollment, compared to enrollment through December 15, 2017, from largest drop to smallest:

    • West Virginia -18.74%
    • Virginia -17.11%
    • Louisiana -16.22%
    • Indiana -11.00%
    • New Hampshire -10.63%
    • New Mexico -10.50%
    • Ohio -10.34%
    • Missouri -9.35%
    • Wisconsin -9.05%
    • Delaware -8.86%
    • Kansas -8.82%
    • Nevada -8.04%
    • New Jersey -7.96%
    • Iowa -7.79%
    • Michigan -7.69%
    • Illinois -7.35%
    • Pennsylvania -6.75%
    • Maine -6.41%
    • Oregon -5.75%
    • Montana -5.61%
    • Kentucky -5.38%
    • Georgia -4.71%
    • North Dakota -4.54%
    • North Carolina -4.11%
    • Texas -3.62%
    • Arizona -3.43%
    • Tennessee -3.11%
    • Alaska -2.89%
    • South Dakota -2.67%
    • Arkansas -1.75%
    • Alabama -1.73%
    • South Carolina -0.71%
    • Nebraska -0.56%
    • Utah -0.16%
    • Wyoming 0.19%
    • Hawaii 1.15%
    • Florida 3.20%
    • Mississippi 5.56%
    • Oklahoma 6.60%

    SEE ALSO: Experts think the ruling that declared Obamacare unconstitutional is 'insanity in print' and will likely be overturned

    Join the conversation about this 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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    fastest growing tech AI

    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    Artificial intelligence (AI), often used as an umbrella term to describe types of technology that can simulate human intelligence, is one of today’s hottest topics across a number of business sectors. AI techniques teach computers to parse data in a contextual manner to provide requested information, supply analysis, or trigger an event based on their findings.

    Marketers are already leveraging the power of AI to glean valuable insights about their customers, automate tasks, and improve workflows. Just over half (51%) of marketers currently use AI, and an additional 27% are expected to incorporate the technology by 2019, according to Salesforce. This represents the highest anticipated year-over-year (YoY) growth of any leading technology that marketers expect to adopt in the next year, beating out the Internet of Things and marketing automation. And, as the volume of consumer-generated data grows, AI computing techniques — like machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing (NLP) — will become increasingly important to data-driven decision-making.

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence examines the current and potential applications of AI within marketing. We dive into how AI enhances personalization, and identify the best practices for marketers looking to integrate the nascent tech into their strategies. We also look at how marketers cam implement AI to better target audiences, gain a competitive edge, and analyze data from social platforms. Finally, we evaluate how these applications will transform — and enhance — the way marketers analyze data, conduct burdensome tasks, and create content. 

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • AI is advancing beyond data analysis and moving rapidly into data generation, as machines get better at automating two basic human senses: sight and hearing. Gleaning insights from data-rich media like voice and video is now possible, and humans no longer have to manually categorize or describe various types of media.
    • AI will transform marketers from reactive to proactive planners. The enhanced analytics that AI provides will help marketers more efficiently plan and execute campaigns in three main areas: segmentation, tracking, and keyword tagging.
    • However, the rapid pace of innovation is contributing to marketers’ sense of unpreparedness for AI implementation and future use cases. When asked to choose which trending technology they felt most unprepared for, 34% of global marketing executives chose AI, the most of any option, according to Conductor.
    • AI will aid in content creation, but human marketers are still necessary. It’s still early days for marketers to use AI to automatically create editorial content or stitch together the right image with the right messaging for display ads. Machines will help cut down on production time, but humans are needed for their creative juices.

    In full, the report:

    • Discusses the top use cases for AI in marketing and examines those with the greatest potential in the next few years. 
    • Breaks down how the role of marketers will evolve once AI automates remedial tasks. 
    • Explores how the customer experience is becoming more personalized, relevant, and timely. 
    • Provides potential roadmaps for companies that are beginning to invest in AI and machine learning.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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