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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Sanofi suffers major setback in development of a Covid-19 vaccine by Helen Branswell (StatNews)
Major global vaccine player Sanofi, who has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline for its COVID vaccine, has had to re-start its Phase 2 trials thanks to a fault in some of the ingredients it used in earlier iterations of its inoculation. [Link]
Hundreds ill, 1 dead due to unidentified illness in India (AP)
A mystery illness has been reported in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. While the pathogen has not been confirmed and could be driven by environmental factors like chemical poisoning, the sudden spate of illnesses still brings grim recall of the early days of the COVID pandemic. [Link]
Desperate NYC workers using LIRR, cars as quiet and cheap office spaces by Lambeth Hochwald (NYP)
With offices and coworking spaces closed, some New Yorkers who are desperate to get out of the house and get some work done have been turning to an unusual source of productive zen. [Link; auto-playing video]
The valuation warning signs for stock markets by Ian Harnett (FT)
Current valuations are consistent with low forward returns over the subsequent decade, even if short-term returns don’t show much correlation to the elevated P/E ratio. [Link; paywall]
Grantham stumbles on $200m profit after Spac swoop on battery maker by Robin Wigglesworth (FT)
A $12.5mm investment seven years ago means a $200mm payday for investor Jeremy Grantham, who is now semi-retired and enjoying the proceeds of a special purpose acquisition company merger. [Link; paywall]
Facebook Gets Paid by Craig Silverman and Ryan Mac (BuzzFeed)
Black-box algorithms have been generating perverse – or even perverted – outcomes, but outcomes that mean massive earnings for the world’s largest social media network. [Link]
The Essex Boys: How Nine Traders Hit a Gusher With Negative Oil by Liam Vaughan, Kit Chellel, and Benjamin Bain (Bloomberg)
A small group of independent traders based in Essex made almost half a billion dollars on the shocking plunge into negative territory for oil futures back in April. [Link; soft paywall]
How Come the Mets Gave a Major League Deal to a Lifetime Minor Leaguer? by Tom Verducci (SI)
A journeyman minor leaguer parlayed some time with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays into a large major league deal, an unusual but not entirely irrational shift in his value as a ballplayer. [Link; auto-playing video]
Cheers! Or not: ‘Scandalous’ 1st Christmas card up for sale by William J. Kole (AP)
Christmas Cards have only been commercially printed since 1843, and the first one is now up for auction. It’s expected to get anywhere from $6,000 to $11,000 at auction. [Link]
The Places That Had the Biggest Swings Toward and Against Trump by Jed Kolko and Toni Monkovic (NYT)
A data-intensive analysis of county-level vote data that shows the big trends from the 2020 election: a small decline in polarization, large metropolitan areas swinging against Republicans, and Latino voters moving towards the outgoing President. [Link; soft paywall]
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Have a great weekend!