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.

While you’re here, join Bespoke Premium with a 30-day free trial!


CME Group to Launch First-Ever Water Futures Based on Nasdaq Veles California Water Index (Nasdaq)

This week the CME Group announced a new futures contract based on the price of water based on the prices traded in California’s five most-active spot water markets. [Link; soft paywall]

California’s wildfires are producing more CO2 than its power plants by Tim McDonnell (Quartz)

In a grim example of the positive feedback loops climate change can create, wildfires on the West Coast have created a larger release of carbon this year than electricity generation in the state for the year. [Link; paywall]

Wacky Wall Street

Citigroup Employee Who Operated QAnon Website on Leave by William Turton and Jennifer Surane (Bloomberg)

A senior IT group manager at Citi was suspended this week when his operation of major sites dedicated to spreading the QAnon conspiracy emerged. [Link; soft paywall]

Reddit’s Stock Threads Become a Must-Read on Wall Street by Sarah Ponczek (Bloomberg)

As frenetic retail trading has become increasingly important on Wall Street, professional investors are increasingly noting what happens on message boards and social media. [Link; soft paywall]

Eating Out

As Demand For Travis Scott Burgers Soars, Some McDonald’s Locations Run Out Of Beef (Restaurant Business)

A punched-up quarter-pounder, fries with barbecue sauce, and a Sprite…not much, but slap some internet celebrity on it and the whole thing has wrecked the MCD supply chain. [Link]

National Restaurant Association report: Pandemic has forced 100,000 restaurant closures in six months by Nancy Luna (Nation’s Restaurant News)

A new survey shows that more than 100,000 restaurants have closed in the last six months, with one in six establishments across the country shuttering; another 40% of operators report they cannot stay open without further relief. [Link]

COVID Leisure

Demand for ‘certified used’ bikes is so strong, some sell above new sticker price by Ethan Wolff-Mann (Yahoo! Finance)

With surging enthusiasm for bikes that can provide safe leisure time amidst the pandemic, second-hand providers are incentivizing new supply…and some customers may be over-paying. [Link; auto-playing video]

Golf and the virus by Myles Udland (I’m Late to This)

Golf’s popularity amidst the pandemic is forcing some very difficult questions about who exactly the golf industry is selling to and why that’s probably not most people. [Link]


Amazon Plans to Put 1,000 Warehouses in Neighborhoods by Spencer Soper (Bloomberg/MSN)

With the Everything Store trying to shrink delivery times ever-narrower, expect a lot more logistics close to where customers are, including thousands of new warehouses on the front lines of American consumerism. [Link]

Give It Away

Exclusive: The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke . . . Is Now Officially Broke by Steven Bertoni (Forbes)

The cofounder of Duty Free Shoppers never led an extravagant life, but his effort to give away his fortune is most certainly impressive, painting a stark contrast to other members of the 10 figure club. [Link]

Public Policy

Racial Disparities in the Massachusetts Criminal System by Elizabeth Tsai Bishop, Brook Hopkins, Chijindu Obiofuma, Felix Owusu (Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Policy Program)

A data-first approach to identifying racial inequality in the Massachusetts court system, concluding that differences in the severity of initial charges explains why Black and Latinx defendants have longer sentences; the effect is especially large for drug and weapons charges. [Link; 103 page PDF]

A Bizarre Argument About the COVID Economic Response by Matt Bruenig (People’s Policy Project)

Bespoke’s work has argued in the past that the CARES Act was broadly generous to households and to a lesser extent small businesses, giving out grants to those groups while larger businesses got loans which had to be repaid. But misunderstanding of basic mechanics is leading to a strange argument that loans requiring repayment are somehow more valuable than cash transfers. [Link]

Silver Linings

The southern hemisphere skipped flu season in 2020 (The Economist)

In the Southern Hemisphere, flu season peaks between May and August, but this year there have been barely any cases as efforts to prevent COVID transmission also break flu virus transmission chains. [Link]


Nikola (NKLA) admits to faking video of driving prototype in weak response to allegations by Fred Lambert (Electrek)

After a short-seller claimed last week that electric truck company Nikola had engaged in fraudulent behavior, the company delivered a lackluster response that seemed to confirm a number of the allegations. [Link]

Tattooed by Bill Gross (William H Gross)

Without any endorsement, we can’t resist passing on this screed of complaint about a son’s tattoo not-so-well-disguised as an investment letter. [Link; 3 page PDF]

I Want To Believe

Potential sign of alien life detected on inhospitable Venus by Will Dunham (Reuters)

Phosphine gas is only produced by biological life on our planet, which makes its discovery on Venus fascinating; it could signal microbial life even though the planet is widely assume to be unlivable. [Link]

Read Bespoke’s most actionable market research by joining Bespoke Premium today!  Get started here.

Have a great weekend!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email