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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Russia’s Elites Are Starting to Admit the Possibility of Defeat by Tatiana Stanovaya (Carnegie Endowment)

There are emerging signs that Russian elites are losing patience with the disastrous prosecution of the war in Ukraine after months of solid support. [Link]

She’s a Doctor. He Was a Limo Driver. They Pitched a $30 Million Arms Deal. by Justin Scheck (NYT)

A rush to supply arms to Ukraine has led to shady, untested ventures sprawling across countries delivering large scale shipments of weapons to the embattled country. [Link; soft paywall]

Rate Hikes

U.N. Calls On Fed, Other Central Banks to Halt Interest-Rate Increases by Paul Hannon (WSJ)

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) argued that the speed and size of Fed rate hikes risk a global recession and are getting carried away. [Link; paywall]

Fed’s Rate Increases Defy All the Rules by Greg Ip (WSJ)

The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy has departed from a series of different rules that relate inflation, unemployment, and the policy rate. [Link; paywall]

Lives Lived

I just learned I only have months to live. This is what I want to say. by Jack Thomas (Boston Globe)

A heartfelt essay on the meaning of a life spent with family, words, and the many details of life that the author will mis when he shoves off this mortal coil. [Link]


Peloton is slashing 500 more jobs as its CEO says it has 6 months to turn itself around by Grace Dean (Business Insider/MSN)

The exercise technology company has announced a fourth round of layoffs with a fresh 12% of workers being dropped as part of a sprawling turnaround plan that has seen headcount cut in half from its peak. [Link]

New Tech

100% Electric Vehicles = 11% Of New Vehicle Sales Globally! by José Pontes (CleanTechnica)

Fully electric vehicle sales were up 60% YoY and area headed for 1mm units in September; the August sales pace was good for 1 car in 10 globally and that share is only growing. [Link]

Walgreens Turns to Prescription-Filling Robots to Free Up Pharmacists by Sharon Terlep (WSJ)

Machine-based dispensaries have helped Walgreens fill prescriptions by raising productivity; total cost savings are more than $1bn. [Link; paywall]

Real Estate

Hybrid Working, Commuting Time, and the Coming Long-Term Boom in Home Construction by Jordan Rappaport (KC Fed)

With more workers able to spend only a couple of days per week at the office, out-lying suburbs and exurbs could be the source of a major building boom in the coming decades. [Link; 35 page PDF]

House Prices: 7 Years in Purgatory by Bill McBride (Calculated Risk)

Widely-cited housing observer Bill McBride has gotten a lot more bearish on the housing market after the pandemic era surge has reversed into monthly declines: he sees long-term declines ahead for both real and nominal home prices. [Link]

Global Trade

WTO Sees Sharp Slowdown in Global Trade, Pointing to Possible Recession by Paul Hannon (WSJ)

The World Trade Organization sees trade activity growing by 1% in 2023, versus 3.5% growth this year and a 3.4% growth rate previously forecasted. High energy prices, war, and surging interest rates are all key factors. [Link; paywall]

China property woes trigger decline in global cement output by Oliver Telling, Thomas Hale, and Andy Lin (FT)

Collapsing real estate investment in China has driven global cement output down 8% in the first half of 2022 versus the first half of 2021; Chinese cement production (which is about half of the global market) fell 15%. [Link; paywall]

Cargo Shipowners Cancel Sailings as Global Trade Flips From Backlogs to Empty Containers by Costas Paris (WSJ)

After 2021 and early 2022 saw catastrophically high demand for ocean freight capacity, shipping lines are cancelling sailings amidst shipping rates in freefall and collapsing bidding for capacity from North American retail clients. [Link; paywall]


The Fund That Helped Investors Bet Against Cathie Wood Is Taking on Jim Cramer by Claire Ballentine (Bloomberg)

The ETF provider that gained prominence through a fund designed to move inverse to Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest funds is targeting another big “take the other side” opportunity: bets against stocks recommended by Jim Cramer on CNBC. [Link; soft paywall]

Social Media

Supreme Court takes up a divisive issue: Should tech companies have immunity over problematic user content? by Lawrence Hurley and David Ingram (NBC)

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could strip internet companies of immunity over content posted by their users; changes could mean much more aggressive content moderation across the political spectrum from companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google. [Link]

The Call of The Wild

Coyotes Came to New York City, but Not for Our Pizza by Bethany Brookshire (NYT)

While coyotes enjoy the occasional nibble of human chow, even urban packs subsist mostly on the wild foods that they would be eating in any other environment. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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