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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Top European Court Rules E.U. Can Freeze Aid to Poland and Hungary by Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Moika Pronczuk, and Benjamin Novak (NYT)

The European Court of Justice ruled that the EU is allowed to withhold funding from countries that fail to meet and uphold basic rule of law standards, opening the door to bloc withholding billions from Hungary and Poland over efforts to pack courts and hide spending details. [Link; soft paywall]

Frustrated Ukrainians Are Caught Between America’s War Hype and Russia’s Constant Lies by Jack Crosbie (Rolling Stone)

On the ground in Ukraine, ordinary people are frustrated by the escalation of tensions by Russia and the aggressive rhetoric about that escalation from Ukraine’s allies in the West. [Link]

Supply Chain Frustration

Guacamole’s Days Are Numbered at Eateries With Avocados Scarce by Leslie Patton and Allison Nicole Smith (Bloomberg)

The USDA halted imports of avocados from Michoacán after a supervisor was threatened over a refusal to certify a shipment, and the result is a death of avocados for smaller buyers that can’t secure large supplies. [Link; soft paywall]

4 Bed, 3 Bath, No Garage Door: The Unlikely Woes Holding Up Home Building by Emily Badger (NYT)

Individual finishes for houses are facing idiosyncratic shortages that are preventing completions. Garage doors are by far the most acute shortage for now, with lead times reaching into the months for what used to be a widely available and easy to secure commodity. [Link; soft paywall]


Teens Find Rising Used-Car Prices Dash Hopes of First Car by Nore Eckert (WSJ)

Older teens are having a hard time getting their hands on their first set of wheels as soaring prices and tight supplies in the used auto market mean waiting a while to hit the road in a traditional rite of passage. [Link; paywall]

Market Insights – 2/15/2022 (Black Book)

Through the week of Valentine’s Day, wholesale used car prices fell 67 bps WoW versus a 36 bps decline on average for that week in 2017-2019. That’s among the steepest declines since the pandemic hit and suggests that the tight conditions in used auto markets are starting to alleviate. [Link]

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E beats Tesla’s Model 3 as Consumer Reports’ top electric vehicle for 2022 by Phil LeBeau (CNBC)

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E has beaten out the Tesla Model 3, with reliability data proving the defining difference between the two entry-level electric vehicles. [Link]

Wall Street

JPMorgan Jumps Into Metaverse Ahead of Its Peers by Alex Padalka (Financial Advisor)

The first major US bank is jumping in to the decentralized metaverse with a “lounge” in Decentraland; it includes a picture of CEO Jamie Dimon and a tiger. [Link]

Carl Icahn Won’t Stop Till He Gets What He Wants by Scott Deveau (Bloomberg)

A light profile of an investor who compares himself to Alexander the Great and has recently relocated to Florida. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Snow Business

Vail Resorts Sold a Record Number of Passes. Now Their Ski Areas Are Facing a Logistical Nightmare. By Max Ufberg (Outside Online)

The forty resorts owned by Vail Resorts have seen an avalanche of pass sails after cutting prices 20%, leading ski slopes and lift lines jammed with customers as the company didn’t add capacity to meet the huge expansion in customers. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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