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.

Real Estate

ABS East: Steve Eisman Brings Down the House (Again) by Allison Bisbey (Asset Securitization Report)

One of the most prominent figures from the global financial crisis has some tough words for banks and some fairly reassuring predictions about the economy. [Link]

The Contrarian Signal in the REIT Breakout by Barry Ritholtz (Bloomberg)

Is the christening of its own GICS sector a negative for tax-advantage real estate investment trusts? [Link]

5 Surprising Cities Rapidly Attracting Millennial Job Seekers by Rachel Bowley (LinkedIn Official Blog)

Using job search data, the team at LinkedIn took a look at where the largest generation in American history are headed for work. [Link]

House-Flippers Turn to the Crowd for Quick Cash. What Could Go Wrong? by Heather Perlberg (Bloomberg)

Some more signs of a bit of speculation trickling back into the real estate market as Perlberg runs down the surprisingly crowded landscape of crowd-funded home flipping. [Link]


Public vs Private by cavandy (As Rando As It Gets)

Amidst the chaos that is the Chicago Public School system, one mother is glad her boys aren’t tucked away in a private – and uncaring – alternative. [Link]


Bill Murray, Brooklyn Bartender by Foster Kamer (NYT)

A fantastic account of a night with the everyman that is Bill Murray, late for a shift behind the bar at a restaurant opening. [Link; paywall]

What’s the Hottest New Thing in Craft Cocktails? Ice Cubes by Rachel Witkowski (WSJ)

Inside the absurd world of high end ice and the libations it gets dropped in to. [Link; paywall]

Tasting Epic’s $43 martini made with San Francisco fog by Esther Mobley (SF Chronicle)

Just when you thought the cultural dynamic of tech-fueled San Francisco couldn’t get further into the absurd, the admittedly accomplished Hangar One (we speak from experience) has devised a vodka made from the one of the city’s most defining features. [Link]

Nuts & Bolts

Inside the Pipeline That Transfers 2.7 Billion Euros a Minute by Lorcan Roche Kelly (Bloomberg)

An excellent explainer for the financial plumbing that holds together the Eurozone. While others may not share our enthusiasm for a good “look stuff up and write it down” effort, we loved this walk-through. [Link]

Covered interest parity lost: understanding the cross-currency basis by Claudio Borio, Robert Neil McCauley, Patrick McGuire and Vladyslav Sushko (BIS Quarterly Review)

A detailed investigation of a broken law of financial markets: that arbitrage should make interest rates implied by the FX market the same as those in the interest rate market. [Link]

Employment Outflows and the Mystery of the 11 O’Clock Bounce by Ernie Tedeschi (Averpoint)

A data-driven investigation of a repeating pattern in the labor market which has played out ahead of the last two recessions and is ominously rearing its head again. [Link]

Most Battleground States Posted Healthy Job Growth Over the Past Year by Josh Mitchell (WSJ Real Time Economics)

A review of the tightest political races this fall from the perspective of new state-level employment data furnished by the BLS. [Link]

Bold Predictions

Either the demographic bond models are broken, or yields are headed to 10%. by Jim Leaviss (Bond Vigilantes)

With a new enthusiasm for demographics-related market analysis, it’s worth pointing out one model that is either badly broken or about to positively wreak havoc on the UK bond market (we’re leaning towards the former). [Link]

The Seven-Year Short (Bloomberg)

A long read on the long, painful bets against the Chinese yuan placed by a Texas fund manager on a quest to hold the world’s most populous country to economic gravity. [Link]

Depressing Reads

Monday night ratings down, again by Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk)

NFL ratings are down YoY in each of the first seven prime-time games this year. Regardless of the causes, the decline should make some of the league’s biggest fans (and sponsors) nervous. [Link]

I Used to Be a Human Being by Andrew Sulivan (NY Mag)

A long and winding indictment of our modern obsession with information, conversation, and all manner of online distraction. [Link]


The People’s Cheeseburger by Willy Blackmore (Eater)

We absolutely love this story about efforts to mesh capitalism, wholesome food, social change, and racial awareness in Watts, LA. And of course…we’re dying to try the innovative cuisine, described throughout. [Link]

Lunch is too expensive by Abha Bhattaral (WaPo)

With 40% of Americans working from home and therefore forgoing the need for an office lunch and surging costs of labor despite low grocery store prices, the business of serving up salads is under pressure. [Link]

Eataly is coming, and it’s enormous. Now how to fill all those open jobs? by Dugan Arnett (Boston Globe)

Opening a large eatery doesn’t just require a focus on menus, location, and inventory: the biggest problem facing Mario Batali for his new Boston store could be the labor market. [Link]

Errors & Omissions

How Hampton Creek Sold Silicon Valley on a Fake-Mayo Miracle by Olivia Zaleski, Peter Waldman and Ellen Huet (Bloomberg)

Silicon Valley hype, when combined with vegan mayonnaise and cookies, can apparently lead to securities fraud and SEC investigations. [Link]

AC Milan’s Chinese Buyer Said to Show False Bank Letter in Talks (Bloomberg)

Buying one of the most popular professional soccer teams on the planet is no small thing, and a basic proof of credibility is worthwhile for sellers. Only problem is, sometimes, that basic proof isn’t actually proof. [Link; auto-playing video]

Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric for Two Years by Suzanne Vranica and Jack Marshall (WSJ)

This week, Facebook alerted ad buyers that some of its metrics had been improperly devised, artificially inflating the average view time of video advertisements. [Link; paywall]

A note from the editor-in-chief about Chris Ziegler by Nilay Patel (The Verge)

We don’t even know what to say about this one: a writer for The Verge decamped for a job at Apple, without telling his then-current employer, who dismissed him upon finding out. [Link]

Changing Landscapes

China’s Changing Trade and the Implications for the CLMV Economies by Koshy Mathai, Geoff Gottlieb, Gee Hee Hong, Sung Eun Jung, Jochen Schmittmann, and Jiangyan Yu (IMF)

A superb overview of how China’s trade has evolved over the years: more efforts to move up the value chain as unit labor costs rise faster than any other country in the world. [Link; 84 page PDF]

New Record Low Solar Price in Abu Dhabi – Costs Plunging Faster Than Expected (Ramez Naam)

A startling and impressive update on the plunging cost of installing solar electricity generation capacity, especially in regions with weather best suited to the alternative power source. [Link]

Wall Street’s IPO Business: The Worst in 20 Years by Maureen Farrell (WSJ)

With the most spectacular growth stories in the entire economy largely taking place in the private markets, there’s very little deal flow to fight over and the results have been painful for the banks that market new public market offerings. [Link; paywall]

Securitize ALL The Things

Insurance Liabilities Could Be Next Big Thing for Investors by Julie Segal (Institutional Investor)

Pay some premium, receive a big payout when something happens. Alternatively, receive some premium, and pony up when that something happens. These are the basics of both insurance policies and credit default swaps on financial assets. Now, there are plans to use techniques that blew up countless investors in the financial crisis (CDOs, CDO-squareds, and other structures linked to CDS premium payments) on risk borne by insurance companies. [Link]


Beijing Wants More Baby-Making by Mei Fong (Foreign Policy)

In a matter of a few years, China has gone from a one-child policy to an effort to boost births as a demographic collapse looms over the horizon. [Link; soft paywall]

Jack Ma’s Finance Business May Be Worth More Than Goldman Sachs by Lulu Yilun Chen (Bloomberg)

China’s most popular payments processor is only one part of the broader Alibaba ecosystem. [Link; auto-playing video]

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