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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Labor Markets

The CFO Survey: Data & Results – Q2 2021 (Richmond Fed)

While CFOs reported a huge uptick in concern over labor quality and availability, optimism over their specific company’s prospects hit the second-highest level ever and general confidence about the trajectory of the US economy was improved as well. [Link]

McDonald’s Owners Offer Tuition, Child Care to Lure Burger Flippers by Heather Haddon (WSJ)

Franchisees are expanding their benefit packages in order to hire workers, with higher wages, paid time off, and tuition coverage also being offered in order to attract workers amidst and extremely tight labor market for restaurant workers. [Link; paywall]


A “wobble” in the moon’s orbit may lead to record floods on Earth by Sophie Lewis (MSN)

In addition to rising seas thanks to higher temperatures, flooding will worsen over the next couple of decades as a wobble in the moon’s orbit drives unusually high tides that may overwhelm costs even without a storm surge or higher sea level. [Link]

People dumped their pets into lakes, officials say. Now football-size goldfish are taking over. by Reis Thebault (WaPo)

While goldfish in bowls tend to be pretty small, when released into the environment they can grow to impressively large sizes while also badly disrupting the ecosystems they’re released in to. [Link; soft paywall]

Have you ever wondered why we don’t find fossils in the Appalachian mountains? The truth is, we do, they’re just not the kind of fossils you might think of—there are no mammals, no dinosaurs, no reptiles. There’s something else entirely. by Alex (ThreadReader)

A fascinating read on the absolutely ancient Appalachians, which were produced through multiple continental collisions and are part of the same mountain range that covered northern Britain and Scandinavian. [Link]

Tight Supply

Here’s Who Will Be Left Behind in the Housing Boom by Ali Wolf (NYT)

With out-of-town buyers that have much higher incomes than locals fueling the housing boom since COVID hit, current residents are unable to compete. The result is a huge shift in the housing market. [Link; soft paywall]

Build-to-Order Gains Momentum at Long Last by Steve Finlay (Wards Auto)

Traditionally, automakers have built inventory for consumers to purchase on the spot. But tight inventories and the success of non-dealer models like Tesla have led to shifts in the traditional approach. [Link]


China Buys Friends With Ports and Roads. Now the U.S. Is Trying to Compete. by Stu Woo and Daniel Michaels (WSJ)

In response to China’s soft power “Belt & Road” initiative, the US is ramping up investments in various types of infrastructure around the world as a way to counter the Chinese effort to win friends with cheap loans and direct investment in ports, communications, and railways. [Link; paywall]


Treasury Wants Large Holders of 2020 Note to Identify Themselves by Liz McCormick (Bloomberg)

A 2020 ten year note issue may have had extreme concentration, leading the Treasury to demand large holders to identify themselves, part of its regular efforts to ensure nobody corners the market in a given bond. [Link; soft paywall]

Robinhood, Others Upend Rules for Early IPO Trading by Corrie Driebusch (WSJ)

Rather than being forced to hold for the traditional six months, early investors in Robinhood will be able to sell 15% of their holdings immediately and 15% three months later with full restrictions lifted after six months as is typical. [Link; paywall]

Wall Street Has Surrendered to the $500 Billion ETF Rush by Claire Ballentine and Francesca Maglione (Bloomberg)

We’re only a couple of days in to the second half, but ETFs are on track to break the $497bn record inflows ETFs recorded in 2020; that means the full annual flow total is likely to be substantially higher. [Link; soft paywall]


US overdose deaths hit record 93K in pandemic last year, a 29% increase (Associated Press/NYP)

Exploding prevalence of fentanyl and policy responses to the pandemic drove a huge increase in overdoses last year. [Link; auto-playing video]

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Have a great weekend!

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