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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ETFs

Saudi stocks attract billions of dollars in inflows by Richard Henderson (FT)

Despite a relatively narrow market, MSCI’s inclusion of Saudi Arabia in its Emerging Markets Index has driven massive inflows via passive buying of Saudi stocks. [Link; paywall]

For Monster Gains With World’s Largest ETF, Trade It After Hours by Olivia Rinaldi and Vildana Hajric (Bloomberg)

Using Bespoke data, the authors highlight huge gains for after-hours outperformance for the world’s largest ETF (the S&P 500 tracker SPY). [Link; soft paywall]

Politics

Detailed Maps of the Donors Powering the 2020 Democratic Campaigns by Josh Katz, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Rachel Shorey and Thomas Kaplan (NYT)

Detailed maps that reveal the geographic strengths and weaknesses of various candidates – including the overwhelming small donor advantage of Bernie Sanders across the entire country – contesting the Democratic nomination for President. [Link; soft paywall]

Meet the people working to kick Chicago out of Illinois by Cindy Dampier (Chicago Tribune)

Despite Chicago funding huge swathes of state expenditure downstate, rural denizens of Illinois are trying to cast themselves loose of the city. [Link]

Disaster

A Natural Disaster Wipes Out Your Home. Then the Buyers Come Calling. by Konrad Putzier (WSJ)

Hurricanes, wild fires, and other catastrophes are becoming a catalyst for speculation on real estate; buyers swoop in with ready checks for homeowners who have lost everything. [Link; paywall]

The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us by Timothy C. Winegard (NYT)

If you had to pick a cause of death for half of the humans who have ever lived, you could do worse than the mosquito, which bring malaria, yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, Zika, and more. [Link; soft paywall]

Economics

Hotels: Occupancy Rate Decreased Year-over-year, “Hotels’ rocket is losing fuel” by Bill McBride (Calculated Risk)

After years of grinding improvements in occupancy rates, revenue per available room, and prices per room, the hotel industry is starting to show its limits. [Link]

Financialisation as structural change: measuring the financial content of things by Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández and Lionello F. Punzo (Taylor & Francis)

The authors analyze the financial content (that is, value-add from financial activities) in various industries, showing a new measure of financialization and its impacts. [Link; paywall]

Opioids

The Opioid Crisis Is About More Than Corporate Greed by Zachary Siegel (The New Republic)

Headline quotes may point the finger at the pharmaceutical industry, but similar to the mortgage crisis there is no simple answer to “who is at fault” when considering the havoc wrecked by addiction to painkilling drugs. [Link]

Disabilities

A Wisconsin lawmaker who’s paralyzed isn’t allowed to call into meetings; he says that keeps him from doing his job by Patrick Marley (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

In Wisconsin, a state legislator has been told by other lawmakers that he cannot call in to meetings, an accommodation he requested related to the fact that he is paralyzed. [Link]

Munchies

A shocking number of delivery drivers admit doing this to your food by C. W. Headley (The Ladders)

28% of delivery drivers admit to nibbling at customers’ orders, with more than half reporting that they simply couldn’t resist the smell. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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