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.

Sentiment Check

Stop Worrying About the Stock Market Crashing! by Mark Hulbert (Barron’s)

An overview of the incredibly dour outlook on the US stock market from many sectors of the investment landscape. [Link]

Fund Managers Sour on Dividend Boom as U.S. Payouts Climb Towards New Record by Mike Bird (WSJ)

Despite reports of a “chase for yield” in the equity market via outperformance of high dividend stocks, investors are growing increasingly uneasy with the dearth of capex from companies. [Link, paywall]

Government Data

I’m suing the US government for its data on who’s entering the country by David Yanofsky (Quartz)

The US government maintains a database of all entries into the United States by foreign nationals, but doesn’t want to give up the details. [Link]

The best free economic data resource in the world is getting a facelift in June by Myles Udland (Business Insider)

We are unabashedly huge fans of the St. Louis Fed’s Federal Reserve Economic Database aka FRED, and glad to see it’s going to get more features and a snappier look. [Link]

Historically Miscellaneous

The Crash of EgyptAir 990 by William Langewiesche (The Atlantic)

Note: this article first appeared in the November 2001 issue of The Atlantic. An interesting overview of the 1999 crash of an Egyptian airliner that has new relevance given the disappearance this week of a Paris-Cairo flight. [Link]

Work It by Alexandra Schwartz (The New Yorker)

Schwartz asks a simple and annoying question that has vexed many modern twenty-somethings trying to balance busy social lives, work schedules, limited budgets, and the new social morays of online dating, and ends up on a comprehensive review of where dating came from. [Link]

Chart The Rise And Fall Of America’s Most-Eaten Foods by Adele Peters (FactCoExist)

Americans are eating more oil, less lard. More lettuce, less potatoes. And a whole lot more kale. [Link]

True, Unbelievably

House-trained bison with ‘great personality’ finds a new home by Charles Scudder (The Dallas Morning News)

A Texas rancher is the proud owner of a bison that actually lives inside her home, but she’s been forced to give her up. Strange and endearing. [Link]

This Is How You Move a 390-Pound Gorilla Across the Country by Nick Stockton (Wired)

It turns out that genetically diverse gorillas are in high demand. Here’s the story of how one got moved from Santa Barbara to Colorado. [Link]

For World’s Newest Scrabble Stars, SHORT Tops SHORTER by Drew Hinshaw and Joe Parkinson (WSJ)

Upstart Nigeria has taken the Scrabble world by storm, using counter-intuitive and mathematically-driven strategies to win championships. [Link, Paywall]

Uncommon Commodities

A Cheese Glut Is Overtaking America by Kelsey Gee and Julie Wenau (WSJ)

A strong dollar has hurt cheese exports just as production has taken off, leaving three pounds of cultured milk fat for every man, woman and child to consume. [Link, paywall]

Egg prices drop to record lows by Ashley Harding (News 4 Jax)

Wholesale egg prices are down to an almost impossible to believe 71 cents per dozen, reversing the circumstances seen last year during the bird flu outbreak which crushed production. [Link]

The Commodity That No One Knows About But Everybody Wants to Buy by Thomas Biesheuvel and Jessie Riseborough (Bloomberg)

An ingredient in new blends of steel is getting a lot of attention (and capital) as investors jockey for position in one of the few mines located around the world. [Link; includes auto-playing video]


Landlords are starting to freak out about the problems in retail by Wolf Richter (Business Insider)

With e-commerce gobbling up share of US retail sales, the profitability of renting to traditional retail businesses is coming into question. [Link]

E-Commerce Drives Surge in U.S. Warehouse Rental Prices by Paul Page (WSJ)

While malls are getting eyed suspiciously as prime candidates to lose economic relevance with the fall in traditional retail, wearhouses are flat-out booming. [Link, paywall]

Vineyard Vines explores stake sale: sources by Lauren Hirsch (Reuters)

Despite brutal conditions for actual stores, casuals brand Vineyard Vines (who are the ones responsible for the Bespoke logo ties frequently sported by Co-Founder Paul Hickey and Macro Strategist George Pearkes during their television appearances) is considering an IPO. [Link]

Trying Things Differently

Tech Startups Come Up With Some Creative Definitions for ‘Profitable’ by Ellen Huet (Bloomberg)

A trip through the strange, and frankly confusing, definition of the term “profit” as applied to a bevy of recent start-ups. [Link]

This $5 Billion Software Company Has No Sales Staff by Dina Bass (Bloomberg)

Atlassian, a project management software company, doesn’t employ sales people at all; this is quite a novel approach to the software business. [Link; includes auto-playing video]

Rift Between Labor and Environmentalists Threatens Democratic Turnout Plan by Jonathan Martin (NYT)

With the right trying to shore up its traditional coalition (white, working class, and southern voters along with pro-business and conservative bodies politic) the left faces its own challenges uniting disparate groups of voters across the Democratic party’s coalition. [Link]

Tech Frontiers

Bringing 911 Service to the Developing World With Smartphones and Motorcycles by Polly Mosendz (Bloomberg)

A unique combination of available resources (sidecar motorbikes) and tech (mobile networks) are allowing for new solutions to old problems, like the how to provide medical services in remote areas of developing countries. [Link]

Metered taxis target Uber drivers in Sandton shootout by Travis Carlyle & Steven Tau (The Citizen)

We knew many American taxi drivers hated Uber (just take a yellow cab in NYC during a busy time and you’ll hear plenty about it) but the inflow of competitors in South Africa has driven some to violence. [Link]

Social Tech

17 Rules of Etiquette for On-Demand Apps by Kevin Sintumuang (WSJ)

What are the right (and wrong) times to use new apps (which are also new forms of labor utilization) like Postmates, TaskRabbit, Shyp, or Glamsquad? [Link, paywall]

Venmo is turning our friends into petty jerks by Kari Paul (Quartz)

An overview of the new opportunities for penny-pinching that popular peer-to-peer payments app Venmo can create. [Link]

Interest Rates

Investors’ Flight From Negative Rates Flattens Yield Curve by Min Zeng and Ben Eisen (WSJ)

What are the causes and implications of a smaller spread between longer-term Treasuries and shorter-term Treasuries? [Link, paywall]

Interim Report and Consultation May 2016 (The Alternative Reference Rates Committee)

A committee organized by the Federal Reserve has made a preliminary suggestion about weening the world of derivatives off the now mostly defunct LIBOR reference rate. [Link; 35 page PDF]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email