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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Tech Dystopia

The Rise of Mobile Gambling Is Leaving People Ruined and Unable to Quit by Maxwell Strachan (Vice)

Problem gamblers used to have to drive to a casino or at least a gas station. Now, smartphones deliver a near-constant barrage of prompts and opportunities to gamble, creating disastrous consequences for personalities who are attracted to risk. [Link]

‘It’s a slippery slope’: Most consumers underestimate monthly subscription costs by at least $100, study says by Sarah O’Brien (CNBC)

Low monthly prices, automatic payments, and easy sign-ups mean that consumers are paying over $100/month in forgotten subscriptions. [Link]


China’s COVID-19 Stagnation Has No End in Sight by James Palmer (Foreign Policy)

Political leadership remains anchored to its zero COVID policy. [Link]

China’s Economic Slump Bodes Ill for Birth Numbers by Liyan Qi (WSJ)

Low birth rates mean Chinese deaths are set to outnumber births as soon as this year; models suggest the total population is set to fall from just over 1.4bn to below 800mm by the end of this century. [Link; soft paywall]


‘We have already lost’: far-right Russian bloggers slam military failures by Pjotr Sauer (The Guardian)

Far right military bloggers in China are starting to lose hope that the country’s invasion may eventually succeed as Russian lines collapsed in the country’s east and south this week. [Link]

Russia Is Buying North Korean Artillery, According to U.S. Intelligence by Julian E. Barnes (NYT)

Facing shortages of key inputs for construction of even the most basic military equipment, Russia is turning to minor allies to source warfighting material. [Link; soft paywall]

Loosening Markets

Housing Market Update: Mortgage Rate Spike Further Cools Homebuying and Selling by Tim Ellis (Redfin)

Some markets are starting to see outright price declines as new listings plunge, price cuts abound, and the combination of soaring mortgage rates and sky-high prices destroy demand. [Link]

Ocean Shipping Rates Have Plunged 60% This Year by Costas Paris (WSJ)

After a desperate scramble to book freight capacity amidst an avalanche of demand for goods, retailers are faced with inventory overhangs and the freight market is falling apart with shipping rates collapsing in 2022. [Link; paywall]

Retail Activity

Robinhood Unveils Index to Track Customers’ Favored Stocks by Alexander Osipovich (WSJ)

A new index constructed by free-to-trade brokerage Robinhood weights stocks by their customers’ “conviction” or relative frequency shares are held in customers’ accounts. [Link; paywall]

EXCLUSIVE Deal partner for Trump’s Truth Social fails to get backing for SPAC extension -sources by Svea Herbst-Bayliss (Reuters)

As a deadline to approve the proposed blank check takeover of Trump’s nascent social media company loomed, the transaction looked like it might be in doubt. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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