Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.
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Permian Basin: high oil price breathes new life into US shale by Myles McCormick (FT)
An on-the-ground report from the heart of US shale country and the good times that are rolling – for now – in West Texas as oil prices run far above break-evens for local producers. [Link; paywall]
Steelmaker CEO Warns North America Market a ‘Falling Knife’ by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg)
Canadian steelmaker Stelco is seeing a sharp drop in demand and building inventories amidst falling steel prices thanks to weak activity in construction and automaking industries and high production from mills [Link; soft paywall]
Police in this tiny Alabama town suck drivers into legal ‘black hole’ by John Archibald (AL.com)
A horror story from a small suburb outside of Birmingham that has turned its police force into a revenue collection agency, complete with shocking over-spending by the department and invented charges designed to justify their budget. [Link]
The strange case of the casino, the Senate leader and the defense bill by Mark Satter (Roll Call)
An effort South Carolina’s Catawba Indian Nation to build a casino in North Carolina has led to strange Congressional bedfellows and a unique example of how the modern Congress functions: interest groups first, regular order out the window. [Link]
Sold To You
Robinhood and Democracy Promotion by Ranjan Roy (Margins)
A feature for Robinhood users that granted them exclusive access to IPOs has created massive losses for retail investors who opted in, blurring the lines between regular customer communications and marketing for the brokerage platform. [Link]
Renaissance Investor Exodus Nears $15 Billion Despite 2021 Gains by Hema Parmar (Bloomberg)
While Renaissance Technologies’ flagship fund delivered 20% returns in 2021, investors aren’t pleased thanks to underperformance versus the fund’s Medallion fund; billions have flowed out of the fund’s public vehicles over the past year. [Link; soft paywall]
German Benchmark Bond Yield Briefly Turns Positive for First Time Since 2019 by Anna Hirtenstein (WSJ)
Increases in US Treasury bond yields have helped push up the yields on global government debt, and it actually costs Germany money to borrow in nominal terms now for the first time in almost two years. [Link; paywall]
Bond Market Forecasts Bad Economic News by Greg Ip (WSJ)
While we wouldn’t necessarily frame it as “bad news”, bond prices don’t reflect much worry over inflation or high policy rates needed to combat that inflation. [Link; paywall]
The Best Starting Words to Win at Wordle by Harry Guiness (Wired)
If you’ve gotten deep in to Wordle, you might want to brows this article which helps narrow down the field with some optimal guesses. [Link]
‘Nocebo’ effect blamed for two-thirds of COVID vaccine symptoms: Study by Hannah Sparks (NYP)
A study of vaccine side-effects report suggest that about two-thirds of side-effects from vaccines were psycho-somatic, given the level of side-effects reported by those who received placebo vaccines during clinical trials. [Link; auto-playing video]
This Week In Tech
‘It’s All Just Wild’: Tech Start-Ups Reach a New Peak of Froth by Erin Griffith (NYT)
More than 900 tech start-ups are unicorns, and investors are getting in to massive scrums over the right to buy in to the latest hot deal. [Link; soft paywall]
I Got Sober in the Pandemic. It Saved My Life. by Danielle Tcholakian (Jezebel)
A wonderful essay about finding community and escaping demons amidst the pandemic, with a little help from caring friends and none at all from booze. [Link]
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Have a great weekend!