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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Sentiment Check

Stock Market Is Top-Heavy, but Carnage Is Widespread by Karen Langley (WSJ)

The drop in stocks this year has been acute among the largest companies, but plenty of stocks beneath the surface are getting punished heavily as well. [Link; paywall]

Wall Street is heading into a summer from hell — and top investors say it’s going to bring a near-biblical reckoning to the market by Linette Lopez (Business Insider)

Always worth noting when adjectives like “biblical” get unleashed to talk about stock market declines; this kind of extreme sentiment is usually something you see closer to bottoms than tops. [Link]

This Could Be a Lost Decade for Stocks by Spencer Jakob (WSJ)

While the near-term headwinds for stocks are well-understood, we are starting to see extrapolations of those headwinds forward over the long-term, another sign of a sentiment extreme that should be of note to contrarians. [Link; paywall]

US CEO Confidence (The Conference Board)

The outlook for chief executives surveyed by The Conference Board and The Business Council has collapsed over the last several quarters, though it remains above the lows from 2019 and 2009. [Link]

Child Rearing

Asia’s advanced economies now have lower birth rates than Japan (The Economist)

Extremely high housing costs have driven down the fertility rate across Asia. Worries about Japan’s low birth rate now look somewhat antiquated given the country has one of the highest birth rates in the region as-of 2020. [Link; soft paywall]

Teen Babysitters Are Charging $30 an Hour Now, Because They Can by Rachel Wolfe (WSJ)

Wage growth is soaring for babysitters as hourly rates roughly double versus pre-pandemic and bargaining power is exerted by the scarce supply of willing sitters. [Link; paywall]

Supply Chains

Giant container ships are ruining everything by Rachel Premack (FreightWaves)

Since the 1980s, ship size has risen by a factor of more than 5 since the early 1980s. Larger ships are a sign of concentrated market power, port congestion, and excess capacity investment during weaker periods of the global shipping industry. [Link]

Critical minerals threaten a decades-long trend of cost declines for clean energy technologies by Tae-Yoon Kim (IEA)

Given the IEA’s history of over-estimating renewables costs and under-estimating renewables installation capacity, this analysis should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, it’s indisputable that many of the inputs for renewable energy supply have gotten significantly more expensive. [Link]

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Michigan Couple Says Town Seized Their Building and Offered To Return It if They Bought Two Cars for Police by C.J. Ciaramella (Reason)

A town in Michigan illegally seized a building, then tried to shake down the owners for two new police vehicles before they would return the stolen property. [Link]


HSBC AM global head of responsible investing: ‘Who cares if Miami is six metres under water in 100 years?’ by James Baxter-Darrington (Investment Week)

The head of HSBC’s asset management division thinks the real problem with climate change is “the amount of work these people make me do”. [Link]

The Fed

Why the Fed matters to regular Americans, in one stunning chart: Morning Brief by Myles Udland (Yahoo! Finance)

The median listed home price’s carrying cost has risen over 40% in the past year as the Federal Reserve’s move into tightening and soaring home prices drive massive increases in mortgage payments for new buyers. [Link; auto-playing video]

Dressing Up

Leave the Sweatshirt at Home. Dining Dress Codes Are Back. by Priya Krishna (NYT)

Restauranteurs are starting to demand more of their patrons, especially when it comes to the attire they don for their dining experience. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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