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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Eli Lilly says its monoclonal antibody cocktail is effective in treating Covid-19 by Matthew Herper (Stat News)

Internal numbers from Eli Lilly this week showed that its monoclonal antibody treatment reduced viral load over the 11 days after treatment, with 0.9% of recipients visiting the ER versus 5.8% for the placebo. This is extremely welcome news, and especially when combined with our next link’s news. [Link]

Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Final Report by John H. Beigel,  Kay M. Tomashek,  Lori E. Dodd, Ph.D., Aneesh K. Mehta,  Barry S. Zingman,  Andre C. Kalil,  Elizabeth Hohmann,  Helen Y. Chu,  Annie Luetkemeyer,  Susan Kline,  Diego Lopez de Castilla,  Robert W. Finberg,  et al.

The second piece of good treatment news this week was this New England Journal of Medicine study which showed impressive positive effects from remdesivir. Recipients had a median recovery time of 10 days versus 15 days for placebo, with mortality of 6.7% versus 11.9% for placebo after 15 days. [Link]


Vatican used charity funds to bet on Hertz credit derivatives by Miles Johnson and Robert Smith (FT)

While the story is sensationalized (including the frankly hilarious observation that the Pope isn’t believed to have known anything about the investment) the details report a relatively generic credit exposure which paid out in full. [Link; paywall]

Fidelity Reviewed Which Investors Did Best And What They Found Was Hilarious by Myles Udland (Business Insider)

A throwback to 2014, but a good one: Fidelity data showed that customers which performed best were those who had forgotten that they had an account with the broker. [Link]

Quis custodiet ipsos cynicis?

AIER Hosts Top Epidemiologists, Authors of the Great Barrington Declaration by AIER

An argument that the most deaths of any year in American history should have unleashed more fatalities in order to satisfy arcane cost-benefit calculations. [Link]

Schools Aren’t Super-Spreaders by Emily Oster (The Atlantic)

Similarly to the Great Barrington Declaration, this analysis relies on an economist to argue that strategies designed to manage the epidemic which may create inconvenience are actually ineffective. [Link]

Using Google Trends to Predict U.S. Elections (Superhighway 98)

This analysis argues raw Google search counts are a perfect predictor of Presidential election outcomes; notably, it does not account for the fact that those searches are relatively ineffective at predicting popular vote outcomes. [Link]

Fiscal Policy

Fed Tenure Boosts Lael Brainard as Potential Biden Treasury Pick by Nick Timiraos (WSJ)

If Google search results are wrong and the President isn’t re-elected, a likely pick for Treasury will be Governor Brainard, who has been working diligently at the Federal Reserve on a range of priorities that might endear her to Democrats. [Link; paywall]


Half a Billion Trips Show China’s Economy Moving Past Covid (Bloomberg)

With almost zero COVID presence in the country of its origin, the Golden Week holiday unleashed almost half a billion domestic travelers to move around China. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Aviation Outsider Builds Supersonic Jet for Transatlantic Flight by Ashlee Vance (Bloomberg)

A small aviation enthusiast has managed to build a supersonic jet prototype that has a realistic shot at becoming a commercial option for overseas flights around the world. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Cruise ship dismantling booms in Turkey after pandemic scuttles sector by Bulent Usta (Reuters)

Ship-breakers in Turkey are stripping large numbers of cruise vessels into scrap and components that are sold on for recycled purposes in a range of industries. [Link]

Remote Work

Microsoft is letting more employees work from home permanently by Tom Warren (The Verge)

Even after it re-opens US offices, Microsoft employees will be permitted to work from home at least half the time, and managers will be able to approve full remote work. [Link]

Economic Research

A B.C. research project gave homeless people $7,500 each — the results were ‘beautifully surprising’ by Bridgette Watson (CBC)

A study in Vancouver tried giving houseless people cash with no strings. Recipients reduced spending on drugs, alcohol and cigarettes by 39%, managed to save an average of $1,000 12 months later, spend fewer days homeless, and moved into stable housing two months faster than the control group. [Link]

Old Stories

“Bruges fishermen can continue fishing in British waters after Brexit thanks to 1666 Charter” by Michaël Torfs (VRT)

A charter granted by English King Charles II dating back to 1666 is being used as precedent as the EU and UK square off over fishing rights. [Link]

How Mosquitoes Changed Everything by Brooke Jarvis (The NYer)

The long and deadly history of a pest that is typically an annoyance for modern Americans but historically felled empires and killed millions. [Link; soft paywall]

K-Shaped Recoveries

High-end retailers, posh eateries rebounding after COVID setback by Steve Cuozzo (NYP)

Despite the author’s efforts to paint the grimmest possible picture of pandemic New York, high-end retailers that don’t rely on middle class consumers are showing green shoots….for those who can afford it. [Link]


Plans to kidnap Whitmer, overthrow government spoiled, officials say by Robert Snell and Melissa Nann Burke (The Detroit News)

A heavily armed gang surveilled and planned to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer this summer, according to communications included in a federal indictment this week. [Link]

Proprietary Data

A Corporate Sleuth Claims Squarepoint Capital Took Her Content. The Hedge Fund Is Threatening Action. What Actually Happened? by Richard Teitelbaum (Institutional Investor)

Widely-used financial research service Footnoted stopped operating, and the owner claims it was in large part out of concern that her data and algorithms had been stolen by a hedge fund masquerading as a customer. [Link]

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