Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads, our Saturday morning summary of interesting things we’re reading this week. The links are mostly market related, but there will be some other interesting subjects covered as well.  The links are in no particular order.  We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

Best Books of 2015 (Bloomberg)

A great Christmas shopping list for your favorite bookworm. [Link]

A Junk Bond Fund Freezes Out Investors, and the Chills Spread [Link]

No One Knows How Messy the Fed Increase Could Get by Liz McCormick and Alexandra Scaggs (Bloomberg)

A summary of investor thoughts around the mechanical risks to the Fed Funds rate, which Bespoke discussed in our piece on Tuesday. [Link]

The World’s Smartest Bad Investors by Noah Smith (Bloomberg View)

An amusing attempt to explain why economists, who study markets academically, tend to make flat out horrible investors. [Link]

The Bad Fortune of Some Ultrawealthy People by Paul Sullivan (NYT)

Wealthy individuals may have vast fortunes, but they’re also capricious ones; for many of the wealthy, half their net worth can disappear almost overnight. [Link]

Why New York Subway Lines Are Missing Countdown Clocks by James Somers (The Atlantic)

A fascinating look at the nuts and bolts of how the NYC subways system works, including some of its antiquated systems. [Link]

Scientists find link between people who share ‘inspirational’ quote pictures and low intelligence (ITV News)

Researchers in Canada have found a link between those who share grandiose motivational quotes and below-average intelligence. [Link]

Larry Bird: What I’ve Learned by Tom Chiarella (Esquire)

A humble, decent retrospective from the Celtics great, originally published back in 2009. [Link]

Dropbox concedes defeat on key products by Richard Waters (Financial Times)

In a problematic development for one of Silicon Valley’s many “unicorns” (private venture tech companies valued over $1bn), Dropbox has announced it will shutter two key product lines (photo sharing and mobile email); the firm is also under pressure on valuations as major investors have marked their investments down of late. [Link, paywall]

Netflix is doubling its number of original scripted shows next year by Jamieson Cox (The Verge)

In the content pipeline at NFLX for 2016: 31 scripted shows (versus 16 in 2015), 10 new feature films, 30 kids shows, 12 documentaries, and 10 stand-up comedy appearances. [Link]

Investors Unchain Themselves From ETFs as Stock Volume Surges by Lu Wang (Bloomberg)

Recent US equity volumes have been much less dependent on flows from ETFs than has been typical of late, which could signal improving breadth or more dispersion to individual equities ahead. [Link]

Former Secret Service Agent Sentenced for Stealing Bitcoin by Maria Armental (WSJ)

The headline basically says it all on this one, in our opinion. [Link, paywall]

In Bentonville, Cricket Players Make Do With a Baseball Field by Sarah Nassauer (WSJ)

The story of cricket in America, featuring scrappy local leagues, South Asian immigration, and the CEOs of a couple of America’s largest companies. [Link, paywall]

Where Rich Chinese Are Stashing Their Cash: America’s Hotels and Strip Malls by Craig Karmin (WSJ)

In the most recent update to our long-running policy of keeping an eye on illicit Chinese capital flows, the WSJ notes the wide range (on every conceivable different scale) of investment Chinese citizens are making in US commercial real estate. [Link, paywall]

Let Them Have Debt: Money and the French Revolution by Patrick Hyde (Los Angeles Review of Books)

A fascinating review of Rebecca L. Spang’s new history of the monetary dynamics during the French Revolution; that social disruption had deep economic impact because it assaulted the very fabric of society and broke “the money illusion” of trust and credit. [Link]

Clearing Mandates: Would That Regulators Had Remembered Takeoffs are Optional, But Landings Are Not by Craig Pirrong (Streetwise Professor)

A skeptical summary of the risks of central clearing that has been introduced to various formerly bilateral markets in credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, FX swaps, and other similar contracts. [Link]

This Chart Shows the Incredible Rise in Extendable Repos by Tracy Alloway (Bloomberg)

A helpful primer on the shift to “evergreen repos”, which give banks certainty over funding for a period but can then be cancelled; the instruments are a balance between the need for some term funding, but a desire to remain flexible from both the borrower and the lender. [Link]

Oil and Credit (Macro Man)

A helpful framework for thinking about the impact of oil and subsequent relative value in equities and credit. [Link]

Smartphones to die out ‘within five years’, says new study by Adam Boult (The Telegraph)

Smartphones will be gone before we know it; can Apple lead what’s next? [Link]

The Activist Group Suing the Suburbs for Bigger Buildings by Patrick Clark (Bloomberg)

A fantastic story about the grassroots group in San Francisco which is taking the intellectual argument over the economic weight of zoning restrictions right to the street. [Link]

 

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