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 Selloff to Intensify as Fresh 10% Plunge Looms, Survey Finds by Benjamin Purvis (Yahoo!/Bloomberg)

A survey of Bloomberg Terminal users reckon the US equity market bottom is around 10% lower near 3500, a brutal 27% decline from last year’s peak. At the very least, that’s a serious insight into the sentiment of institutional investors here. [Link; auto-playing video]

The Market Is Melting Down and People Are Feeling It. ‘My Stomach Is Churning All Day.’ by Justin Baer (WSJ)

Stock market bulls have started to panic with a bear market for the S&P 500 in sight, as concerns over everything from retirement security to availability of down payments and other spending gets dragged down by the market’s plunge. [Link; paywall]


The Trouble With Lithium by Annie Lee (Bloomberg)

Lithium has once again reared its head as a critical bottleneck and cost pressure for everything from energy storage to electric vehicles, with recent price increases working out to more than $1,000 per vehicle of additional costs. [Link; soft paywall]

Global food crisis looms as fertilizer supplies dwindle by Joel K. Bourne, Jr. (National Geographic)

War, sanctions, weather, and export restrictions have fueled an evaporation of global fertilizer supply that is adding new cost pressures to agricultural commodities amidst a global food shortage. [Link]

The Average Age of Vehicles on U.S. Roadways Hits a Record 12.2 Years by Nora Eckert (WSJ)

With car sales beaten down by semiconductors shortages and ever-longer lifetimes for modern vehicles, the average age of US cars continues to grind higher. [Link; paywall]

Real Estate

Paradise Burned to the Ground. Now It’s Another Hot Housing Market by Aaron Gordon (Vice)

After a California town burned to the ground in 2018, residents feared they would never be able to rebuild. But the COVID housing market has flipped the script and new residents are piling in to buy up every property in sight, regardless of the fire risk. [Link]

All My Apes Gone

They spent a fortune on pictures of apes and cats. Do they regret it? by Pranshu Verma (WaPo)

The NFT market has taken a serious leg lower, with a big decline in both prices and volumes amidst a re-think of one of the most over-the-top speculative markets on record. [Link; soft paywall]

Someone Stole Seth Green’s Bored Ape, Which Was Supposed To Star In His New Show by Sarah Emerson (BuzzFeed)

An NFT was set to star in a new show produced by actor Seth Green, but the Bored Ape token was stolen recently and with it the commercial rights required to produce the show. [Link]


Investors Dare to Dip Back Into Bonds by Matt Wirz (WSJ)

With stocks pounded this year, investors are desperate for stability and are seeking it in good old fashioned bonds despite soaring yields year-to-date. [Link; paywall]

The Stock Market’s Drop Is Hitting Many 401(k)s Harder This Time by Anne Tergesen (WSJ)

While target date funds are designed to reduce exposure to equity markets as they approach a hypothetical retirement date, they retain large exposures to stocks…something that investors may not have been aware of or prepared for during the recent stock drop. [Link; paywall]


Fragile Job Gains for Black Workers at Stake in Inflation Fight by Matthew Boesler, Jonnelle Marte, and Catarina Saraiva (Bloomberg)

The share of the Black population between 25 and 54 years old who are currently employed hit a 22 year high in April, with the gap in that measure between Black and white Americans at the lowest levels on record. But the FOMC’s focus on inflation may derail all that progress. [Link; soft paywall]

U.S. Births Increase for First Time Since 2014 by Janet Adamy and Anthony DeBarros (WSJ)

After a collapse during the first year of the pandemic, US births rose for the first time since 2014. In the background, births among teenagers (15-19) hit the lowest levels on record and have almost fallen below the 40-44 bracket. [Link; paywall]


Here’s How NASA Plans to Keep the Power on for a Future Moon Base by Kelsey D. Atherton (The Daily Beast)

Long-term lunar habitation is going to require power, and NASA is designing a trio of micro-grids that will sustain the habitat, power mining operations, and support materials processing; there’s also a detailed discussion of lunar sovereignty concerns in this story among other tidbits. [Link]

End of An Era

New York City Removes Last Public Pay Phone in End of an Era by Ginger Adam Otis (WSJ)

The last of NYC’s public street payphones was removed from 7th between 49th and 50th this week, headed to the Museum of the City of New York. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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