Topley’s Top 10 – August 4, 2020

1. Tech Sector ETFs record Inflows.

Investors are piling into Tech stocks…

Who can blame them given the sheer force of momentum underway, the narratives (it’s different this time), pandemic profits (social distancing has brought forward growth by accelerating existing trends), and plain old deference to the fact that tech has delivered handsomely over the past decade.

Does make you wonder about the next decade though…

More on tech (and value vs growth): https://lnkd.in/dgg2jzy

2. The value of the U.S. dollar has been climbing for nearly a decade

U.S. Dollar Outlook: What Could a Weaker Dollar Mean for Your Portfolio?by Kathy Jones of Charles Schwab, 7/31/20

https://www.advisorperspectives.com/commentaries/2020/07/31/u-s-dollar-outlook-what-could-a-weaker-dollar-mean-for-your-portfolio

3. The Trillion Dollar Question—Bernstein

Good Read on Corporate debt-not all industries created equal

“Recapture Rate” Is Key to Post-COVID-19 Recovery

But knowing why a company overborrowed isn’t enough. The coronavirus lockdown significantly disrupted the economy, and to judge where this additional borrowing might cause problems, we need to understand each company’s ability to pay off this added debt over time. To do this, we created the recapture rate: a proprietary metric that measures the extent we expect sales to recover by the end of 2022 versus fiscal-year 2019 sales levels. By combining the recapture rate and the reasons for companies overborrowing, we can identify which industries may be most at risk for trouble down the road (Display)

https://www.alliancebernstein.com/library/the-trillion-dollar-question-will-the-corporate-borrowing-binge-cause-lasting-damage.htm?workspace_id=875967&suggested_content_id=1401951&social_network=linkedin&seg=18&mid=scl:usr:insights:linkedin:sales2020

4. Move over Nikola: A new electric truck SPAC called Lordstown is forming and the shares are surging

Pippa Stevens@PIPPASTEVENS13

KEY POINTS

  • DiamondPeak Holdings and Lordstown Motors are merging in the latest deal between a SPAC and an electric vehicle company.
  • The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, and the combined company will be known as Lordstown Motors and trade on the Nasdaq under the new symbol “RIDE.”
  • The deal follows the merger between Nikola and VectoIQ earlier this year, as well as EV start-up Fisker announcing that it expects to go public through a merger with Apollo Global Management-backed special purpose acquisition company Spartan Energy Acquisition.

Shares of DiamondPeak Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, jumped 21% on Monday after the company announced that it will merge with electric vehicle company Lordstown Motors. The combined company will trade on the Nasdaq under the new symbol “RIDE.”

The deal represents two areas of particular investor interest this year: special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), as well as electric vehicle start-ups.

SPACs are also known as blank-check companies, since investors fork over money without knowing when, or even what for, their capital will be used. Once the SPAC goes public, the goal is then for it to acquire or merge with a private company, thereby taking it public.

Amid market uncertainty and a lackluster IPO market, SPACs are on pace to raise a record amount of capital this year, according to data from Dealogic.

The merger between DiamondPeak and Lordstown Motors, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, represents at least the third deal between a SPAC and an electric vehicle start-up this year.

In June Nikola Corporation began trading after a reverse merger with VectoIQ, and in July electric vehicle start-up Fisker said it would merge with Spartan Energy Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company backed by Apollo Global Management. Investor enthusiasm for the EV space comes amid a more than 240% jump in shares of Tesla this year.

But while investors initially piled into Nikola — sending shares up 150% in the first four days of trading — some of that enthusiasm has since cooled, and on Friday the stock closed at $30.

With more and more players entering the space — start-up EV maker Rivian also announced in July that it raised $2.5 billion in fresh financing — competition is growing. Additionally, Tesla’s past delivery issues underline just how difficult it can be to bring an electric vehicle to market.

According to Monday’s press release, $675 million of expected gross proceeds will be used for the development and commercialization of Lordstown’s all-electric pickup, called the Lordstown Endurance. 

Since the prototype for the pickup truck was revealed on June 25, the company said it has received more than 27,000 pre-orders, which equates to more than $1.4 billion in potential revenue. The bulk of the reservations are from commercial fleet customers. In November 2019 Lordstown Motors purchased a 6.2 million square foot former General Motors assembly plant in order to speed its production process.

The pro forma implied equity value of the merged company is roughly $1.6 billion, which includes $75 million in investments from General Motors as well as commitments from institutional investors including Fidelity Management. 

DiamondPeak raised $250 million in its IPO in March 2019, with the company initially looking to target a “business with a real estate related component.”

Subscribe to CNBC PROfor exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/03/move-over-nikola-a-new-electric-truck-spac-called-lordstown-is-forming-and-the-shares-are-surging.html

5. A new ETF will let investors participate in the stock market’s $22 billion SPAC craze

Ben Winck

 Aug. 3, 2020, 07:33 PM

-Investors may soon be able to access the growing hype around SPAC offerings with the launch of a new exchange-traded fund.

  • The Defiance NextGen SPAC IPO ETF plans to be the first such instrument tracking the newly popular offerings, according to a Friday SEC filing.
  • More than $22.5 billion has been raised over 55 SPAC offerings in 2020 so far, according to SPACInsider.com. The fundraising sum has already eclipsed last year’s total.
  • If the ETF comes to market, it will boast an 80% concentration in SPAC-derived IPO offerings. The rest of the ETF would invest in IPO companies themselves.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Investors looking to hop on Wall Street’s blank-check bandwagon may soon have a new option.

The surging popularity of special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, has exchange-traded fund providers rushing to capitalize on the trend. The Defiance NextGen SPAC IPO ETF could be the first to do so. The instrument plans to track shares of companies taken public through SPAC mergers as opposed to traditional IPOs, according to a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The ETF would arrive on the market in the middle of a craze for such vehicles. The year has already seen 55 SPAC IPOs take place and collectively bring in more than $22.5 billion, according to SPACInsider.com. Just four more SPAC offerings took place throughout all of last year, and deals only raised a total of $13.6 billion.

SPACs exist to raise money for future acquisitions or mergers. The company raises capital in public markets and can take over a private company within two years. Investors can purchase shares of the acquisition vehicle before a takeover, and in some cases won’t know the target acquisition at the time of investing. The Defiance ETF aims to create a diversified and passively managed SPAC portfolio, according to the SEC filing.

Read more: These 16 global stocks have at least 20% upside in the next year — and they’ll continue to thrive as COVID-19 accelerates a crucial technological shift, UBS says

Some of 2019’s biggest SPAC IPOs include Virgin GalacticDraftKings, and Nikola, all of which have seen their shares skyrocket in 2020. Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman added more fuel to the SPAC fire in late July when his own acquisition company — Pershing Square Tontine — raised a record $4 billion in its trading debut.

If brought to market, the ETF would be traded under the ticker SPAK. Four-fifths of the ETF’s holdings will consist of IPOs derived from SPACs, while the final fifth will be allocated to IPO companies, according to the filing. 

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/etf/spac-ipo-new-etf-market-craze-blank-check-acquisition-companies-2020-8-1029462977#

6. Average Age of Cars & Trucks on the Road Sets Record, Will Jump During Pandemic as New-Vehicle Sales Plunge to 1970s Level

by Wolf Richter • Jul 31, 2020 • 262 Comments For automakers, this was a tough market before the Pandemic: decades of stagnation in unit sales, carved up by more competitors, with industry revenue growth by jacking up prices. Then came the Pandemic.The average age of passenger cars and trucks on the road in the US – light “vehicles in operation” or VIO – rose to another record of 11.9 years in 2020, according to IHS Markit. But this doesn’t yet include the effects of the Pandemic on the auto industry. We’ll get to that in a moment:

The rising average age of VIO is a mix of factors. One factor is that vehicles are lasting longer, and consumers feel less urge to replace them. Finicky, astute, and demanding customers relentlessly pressure automakers to out-do each other in order to survive and thrive in an ultra-competitive market that has been a zero-sum wild-ride, with slow ups and furious downs, and ultimately with no growth in unit sales for over two decades.

Full Story

7. Treasury Goes All In….Spending $3 Trillion in 2 Quarters Dwarfing 2008 Crisis

Zerohedge

Second, it means that for calendar Q3 and Q4, the Treasury will spend almost $3 trillion consisting of:

  • i) a drawdown in cash from $1722 billion to $800 billion, for $922 billion, in the quarter ending Sept 30
  • ii) new debt issuance of $947 billion in the same quarter and
  • iii) new debt issuance of $1,216 billion in the quarter ended Dec 31

… for a grand total of $3.085 trillion in new funds (either from spending cash or raising debt).

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/us-treasury-set-spend-mindblowing-3-trillion-next-few-months

8. 45.7 Million People Rent Their Homes.

John Burns 

46 million households rent – more than 16 million of them rent old homes and duplexes. Q: How much demand is there for those who want 1) a new rental and 2) a professional landlord? A: A lot! #JBRECDailyInsight John Burns Real Estate Consulting

8. Robot Analysts Outwit Humans on Investment Picks

Out of the total pool of outstanding robo-analyst recommendations, more than 30% represented buy ratings compared with 47% from traditional analysts (the overall number of outstanding recommendations from traditional analysts was five times the robots’). About a quarter of recommendations from the machines fell into the sell category, compared with 6% from humans.

By Vildana Hajric February 11, 2020, 6:00 AM EST

Read Full Article Here

10. A Messy Desk Might Help Neatniks Be More Creative

by: Anthony Effinger

Millions of people are discovering that there are perks to working at home. Among them: You can have a messy desk, and there’s no one—or, at least, no colleague—around to judge.

In this new world, even neatniks might want to let the papers pile up. Studies show that a messy desk can spur creativity by keeping interesting things in sight and top of mind. That could be a blessing in isolating times, when we don’t have co-workers close by to spark ideas and we’re not meeting interesting people for dinner or drinks.

Eric Abrahamson, a Columbia Business School professor who wrote a book on messes, says they’re essential to creativity. “A mess will connect things that aren’t connected,” he says.

Abrahamson cites the case of Leon Heppel, a biomolecular researcher in the 1950s who worked in a state of epic clutter. Every so often, he’d cover his desk at the National Institutes of Health with brown butcher paper so that he’d have a fresh surface to re-trash.

One day, Heppel found a letter on his desk describing a weird molecule and its effect on cellular biology. A few layers below, he found an older letter describing another molecule. He put the authors in touch, and one of them went on to win a Nobel Prize for work on how hormones regulate cells.

Kathleen Vohs, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota, tested the creative-mess hypothesis by putting subjects in a room strewn with books and papers and others in a clean room. She told them that a pingpong ball manufacturer needed new uses for its product. Judges rated their creativity.

Those in the clean room suggested using the balls for beer pong (already a thing, as any college student can tell you) and shooting them out of Nerf guns. Those in the messy room advised adding hooks to make funky earrings and filling the balls with water to form reusable ice cubes. In the eyes of the judges, Team Messy won.

Unfortunately, most of us are missing mess-inspired connections because as a society we overvalue order. Marie Kondo’s books sell by the millions. Companies mandate neatness—photos of chief executive officers never show a desk laden with papers.

Worse yet, there’s a cost to keeping order. It takes time to label files, and it takes time to file them in drawers. All the while, you could be working. “Because we value organizing, we don’t realize its cost,” Abrahamson says.

The key is moderation. Since writing A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder—How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place with co-author David Freedman in 2007, Abrahamson has become more orderly. These days, he sees where messes arise, and he lets them grow only so much. He also curates his messes so that only interesting things linger on his desk. He calls the best of them “oddmen.”

An oddman can be a compelling postcard, or a research report, or an old toy. They’re things that spur curiosity and can be combined with something else, either physically or in the world of ideas, like those letters on molecules whose authors Heppel introduced.

Abrahamson’s father was a struggling artist who kept oddmen in his garage, waiting for inspiration to strike. Strapped for cash, he once made a potter’s wheel out of a washing machine, a belt, and a metal plate, Abrahamson says.

Terrible as it is, Covid-19 has freed workers from certain barriers to productivity. Two hours sitting in traffic are now two hours of desk time. The loudmouth in the next cubicle is now miles away, as is the person always looking for an ear to bend. To this list, we can add pointless desk cleaning. If you like a neat desk, great. But see what happens if you let a few oddmen stick around.

Here are a few tips on how to optimize your messes:

  1. All messes aren’t created equal. “A good mess has about 10 or 15 really cool things,” Abrahamson says. Those include oddmen, which he also calls “recombinants”—things that feel like they have the potential to help you make connections.
  2. Make messes when you have to be creative. That’s when they’re most valuable. If you’re doing routine work, a mess is more likely to get in the way.
  3. It’s all right to organize papers on your desk in layers. It can look like a mess, but it’s really just organizing by time.
  4. Keep a different space clear of debris. Vohs, the marketing professor, writes in her home office, which is messier than the rest of her house. A recent mess included a tangle of computer cords, a Kleenex box on its side, a stack of half-finished crossword puzzles, a receipt, a bottle of lotion, and two lip balms. For data analysis, she sits at her kitchen table, which has almost nothing on it.

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Topley’s Top 10 – July 31, 2020

1. Ecommerce–10 Years Growth in 3 Months

And new data from consulting firm McKinsey shows in the US market, the slice of the retail pie comprised of online sales has climbed from around 15 per cent to more than 30 per cent.

“If you’re feeling whiplash, it might be the 10 years forward we just jumped in 90 days’ time,” McKinsey said.

US ecommerce penetration. Pic: McKinsey
https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/five-fifty-the-quickening#

2. Fifth Worse GDP Quarter Ever and Big Tech Books $200B in Sales.

Official quarterly data on US real GDP goes back to 1947, and today’s -32.9% annualised decline for real Q2 is the worst over this period. However, we can splice together a longer series back a century and find that five quarters have been worse than that reported today. **

These occurred in the immediate post-WWII economy, during the early 1930s depression and the associated double dip in 1937-38, and also in the ‘forgotten’ depression of 1920-21.

So, the US is not quite in unprecedented economic times. Many other countries are closer to this though. As you’ll see on page 20-22 of my new monthly chart book (link here) this will likely be the worst year for the UK economy for 310 years. For most of the G7, 2020 will be the worst peacetime year for the economy on record. Again, the US is less severe. On our estimates, 2020 will be the 9th worst year since 1790 and the 6th worst year since 1900. See the chart book for more.

** We have quarterly nominal US GDP data back to 1920 and for this chart have inflation adjusted this series. There is also a real GNP series from the NBER calculated between 1921-1939. The results are broadly similar to our calculations, but we have used ours to avoid splicing multiple series together.

3. Amazon is clobbering Walmart in consumer spending, according to debit-card transactions

Looking at the week of Oct. 6, 2019, Amazon is cruising along with about 18% higher spend than the previous year. For that same period, Walmart is down by 5%.

Amazon is clobbering Walmart in consumer spending, according to debit-card transactions

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-is-clobbering-walmart-in-consumer-spending-according-to-debit-card-transactions-2020-07-29?mod=home-page

4. Huge Down GDP Print But….Bullish Earnings Season So Far

Thu, Jul 30, 2020 At our Earnings Explorer tool available to clients on our website, we provide a real-time look at beat rates for both EPS and sales.  Below is a snapshot from the website showing both the EPS and sales beat rates for US companies reporting earnings on a rolling 3-month basis.  Currently, 64.61% of companies have exceeded consensus analyst EPS estimates over the last three months, while 63.75% of companies have beaten consensus sales estimates over the same time frame.

In looking at the chart, you can see a big spike in the EPS beat rate over the last few weeks.  Since earnings season began on July 13th, nearly 80% of companies have posted stronger than expected EPS numbers.  That’s a huge beat rate and suggests that analysts were too bearish on Q2 numbers heading into July.  The revenue beat rate held up much better than EPS beats throughout the first half of 2020, but it too is on the upswing this season.

We also monitor how share prices are reacting to earnings reports.  So far this earnings season, the average stock that has reported Q2 numbers has gained 1.31% on its earnings reaction day.  That compares to a historical average one-day change of just 0.06% on earnings reaction days.  As shown below, stocks that have beaten EPS estimates this season have gained 2.2% on earnings reaction days, while companies that have missed EPS estimates have fallen 1.89%.  It’s rare to see beats gaining more than misses decline, but that’s what is happening this season.  Click here to view Bespoke’s premium membership options for our best research available.

https://www.bespokepremium.com/interactive/posts/think-big-blog/bullish-earnings-season-so-far

5. Nasdaq 100 Fastest 91 Day Rally in 20 Years.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-30/nasdaq-s-4-trillion-rally-poised-to-heat-up-on-earnings-sweep?cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_content=business&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_medium=social&sref=GGda9y2L

6. Global Gold Supply Chain.

Visual Capitalist

How COVID-19 Shutdowns Impact the Gold Supply Chain

Chains are only as strong as their weakest link—and recent COVID-19 shutdowns have affected every link in the gold supply chain, from producers to end-users.

Increased investor demand for gold coupled with a constrained supply has led to high prices and a bullish market, which has been operating despite these pressures on the supply chain.

Today’s infographic comes to us from Sprott Physical Bullion Trust and it outlines the gold supply chain and the impacts COVID shutdowns have had on the gold market.

The Ripple Effect: Stalling a Supply Chain

Disruptions to the gold supply chain have rippled all the way from the mine to the investor:

1. Production
Some gold mines halted production due to the high-risk to COVID-19 exposure, reducing the supply of gold. In many nations, operations had to shut down as a result of COVID-19 based legal restrictions.

2. Delivery
Strict travel regulations restricted the shipment of gold and increased the costs of delivery as less air routes were available and medical supplies were prioritized.

3. Refinery
Refineries depend on gold production for input. A reduction in incoming gold and the suspension of labor work shortened the supply of refined gold.

4. Metal Traders
Towards the other end of the gold supply chain, traders have faced both constrained supply and increased cost of delivery. These increased costs have translated over to end-users.

5. The End Users
Higher demand, lower supply, and increased costs have resulted in higher prices for buyers of gold.

7. Canceled College Sports Games Put Millions on the Line for ESPN …College Football $800m in Advertising.

College football accounted for about $793 million in advertising at ESPN, ABC, and their related networks, estimates Standard Media Index, which tracks advertising spending. That’s almost four times as much as their closest rival, Fox-

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-30/espn-could-lose-millions-with-college-sports-in-coronavirus-flux?sref=GGda9y2L

8. Mumbai’s slums test lockdown logic-57% of People Sampled in Mumbai Slum Have Coronavirus Antibodies.

Una Galani

MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) – Just maybe, India’s financial capital can start to look beyond its Covid-19 lockdown. An antibody testing study has found that a whopping 57% of people sampled in densely populated slum areas of Mumbai had coronavirus antibodies. Some 40% of the city’s 20 million or so residents live in similar settings, where toilets and water supply are often shared and social distancing is impossible. The result tests the logic of the city’s strict lockdown.

The study is credible, with municipal authorities partnering with the respected Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and others. The randomised sample of nearly 7,000 covers folks from three areas of the city. It’s evidence that crowding speeds transmission and that low-income groups are more vulnerable to infection. Just 16% of people sampled in more affluent parts of the same three areas of Mumbai were found to have the antibodies. 

Encouragingly, the study suggests an infection mortality rate of between 0.05% and 0.01% based on official death numbers – that’s low and would remain so, relative to many other estimates, even if the numerator is under-reported.

The findings will support politicians as they tweak policies that have reduced Mumbai to a shadow of itself. The din of rush hour traffic is no more, offices mostly sit empty, street-food vendors have disappeared and restaurants closed to diners. Public transport is curtailed, and residents are subject to a 9 p.m. curfew. Most restrictions have been in place for four months, making India’s lockdown one of the world’s strictest.

The extreme shutdown may have initially avoided worse pressure on an under-resourced health system. But the new study suggests the measures are now impoverishing more than protecting the poor. Armies of daily-wage earners have been left dependent on food rations. With so many of them infected, Mumbai might consider loosening restrictions, enabling more people to return carefully to work.

That might, of course, increase the risk of infection for wealthier groups where lifestyle diseases are more common in Mumbai, underlining how important local factors are in managing Covid-19. And one study, however well structured, can’t provide all the answers for a given city, either. But this one does raise the possibility that if any community in the world has achieved something like herd immunity, it may be the residents of Mumbai’s slums.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-breakingviews/breakingviews-mumbais-slums-test-lockdown-logic-idUSKCN24V09Z

9. For Amazon Anti-Trust…It’s All  About Treatment of 3rd Party Sellers.

Jeff Bezos’s antitrust grilling was a reminder of Amazon’s power over its sellers

Jeff Bezos was calm and polite in his first congressional appearance. But he did nothing to quiet a huge concern.

By Jason Del Rey@DelRey  Jul 29, 2020, 10:09pm EDT

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifies remotely before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on “Online Platforms and Market Power” on July 29, 2020. Graeme Jennings/AFP via Getty Images

The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, testified before US Congress members for the first time on Wednesday, but he said little to assuage one of their biggest concerns: that Amazon’s grip on online retail gives it the power to make or break small merchants on a whim.

Bezos, along with the CEOs of Apple, Google, and Facebook, appeared via videoconference before a bipartisan group of 15 US House members who have been investigating the four tech giants over the last year. The stated goal of this antitrust subcommittee’s investigation has been to document whether these corporate titans abuse their power in industries ranging from retail to social networking, and to evaluate whether the country’s antitrust laws are modern enough to guard against such abuses.

“Their ability to dictate terms, call the shots, upend entire sectors, and inspire fear represent the powers of a private government,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the chair of the subcommittee, said in his opening remarks at what was a five-hour-plus hearing.

For Bezos, much of the questioning from lawmakers focused on how Amazon competes against, and profits from, the 1.7 million small and mid-sized merchants who help stock Amazon’s digital shelves. Amazon boasts that 60 percent of its retail sales now come courtesy of these sellers rather than from Amazon stocking and reselling goods itself.

But some Amazon sellers have complained over the years that as Amazon’s market share in US online commerce has increased — to about 40 percent today, which is about seven times more than the next competitor — the company has squeezed and otherwise harmed them in new and different ways because they have no viable online alternatives.

According to Cicilline, Amazon sellers have told the subcommittee that “[Amazon has] never been a great partner, but you have to work with them.”

One concern has been the data Amazon uses from its own merchants to help inform what products to develop under its own private-label brands, such as Amazon Basics. In April, the Wall Street Journal published a report stating that Amazon employees have used data from individual sellers to help Amazon decide which private-label products to pursue. That contradicts what a top Amazon lawyer, Nate Sutton, told Congress earlier this year when he said that Amazon’s policy is to only use data on a product when there are at least two sellers selling it.

On Wednesday, Bezos told Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who represents Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, that the company’s investigation into violations of the policy outlined in the Journal report was ongoing. “I’m not satisfied that we have gotten to the bottom of it, and we’ll keep looking at it,” he said.

https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/7/29/21346584/jeff-bezos-amazon-antitrust-hearing-congressional-testimony-power-to-make-or-break-small-merchants


Found at The Big Picture https://ritholtz.com/2020/07/10-thursday-am-reads-298/

10. Change Your Perspective to Create More Happiness

Steps to a more positive outlook

Lynn TaylorTame Your Terrible Office Tyrant

With the arrival of a new decade, many people are thinking about making changes toward creating greater happiness in their lives. But how many people truly make sweeping transformations in a year? One way to overcome this trap, especially for overachievers, is to set smaller, more attainable goals.

Resistance to Change

Change of any kind is a challenge, as inertia is the easiest path. Why does it seem so hard to make a shift? Neuroscience researcher Joe Esperanza says, “We’ve in fact conditioned ourselves to believe all sorts of things that aren’t necessarily true—and many of these things are having a negative impact on our health and happiness.” He says we’re addicted to our beliefs and emotions of our past — and we often see our beliefs as truths, not as ideas we can change.

Nevertheless, the mind believes what you tell it. That being the case, you might as well direct it to something spectacular. You have the ability to mitigate negatives and encourage more positive outcomes. Yes, you can redirect your thoughts, beliefs, and expectations, creating a different reality. Your perspectives can be managed, better.

A Case in Point: The Overachiever

Let’s take the example of the overachiever. If you’re like many, you strive to get ahead all the time, be it at work, home, or in your personal life. You may be striving for that promotion, want to organize your apartment, lose 10 pounds, or reach a fitness goal. But somehow that relaxation point of achievement is elusive because you haven’t yet trained your mind on how to shut it off. You’re constantly going, constantly falling into the same routine of setting big, nearly impossible goals.

Aim to Do Less

What if one of your New Year’s Resolutions were to modify your goals into half or one-third? Setting smaller, achievable objectives, even on a daily or weekly basis, can bring you an enormous sense of contentment and achievement—versus life-changing goals that are mentally and physically exhausting.

Remember when you were a kid? Did you ever play “opposite day,” being a contrarian? It may be time to resist your normal habits and dare I say, strive for less—as that will likely yield much more. Why? Because the old way is likely causing you to be overwhelmed. At the end of the day, you wish you had just set out to do two or three items on your never-ending to-do list, not 10.

This may be about one goal that in itself takes an army to complete adequately. You may have trouble delegating some tasks, be torn about the priorities—or have other obstacles that keep you stuck.

Whatever the reason, be kind to yourself and take some concrete steps toward change:

  • Visualize what you want.  Envision the “2.0 you,” whether it’s a more organized person, more financially secure, a top salesperson, individual with a great work/life balance, nature lover, or whatever lifestyle you seek. Picture all the spoils that come with it. Make a vision board, or post images on your computer.
  • Make a slow and steady change. If we could wave a wand and have our dreams come to fruition instantly, that would be nice, but sudden change is often fleeting. Steady and thoughtful always prevails. Remember the Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and The Hare”?
  • Focus your thoughts. You have complete power over what you choose to think about. Be clear and consistent with thoughts of what you want out of life—and know what you don’t want. If you find you’re having negative thoughts, flip them to positive. Whether you’re dealing with a challenging bosspreparing for a job interview or starting a project, first set your thoughts on a positive outcome. Without direction or focus, thoughts are like paddling in a river flowing upstream—you go nowhere. With an undeterred focus, you allow goals to become concrete realities.
  • Learn some habit changing techniques. The words and images you use also create your reality. Modify them to work for you. When someone asks you how you are, do you say, “Fine” or “Great?” “Fine” has little energy while the word “Great” exudes power. Being disingenuous is not the goal, but a little positive self-training is useful and empowering! Use powerful words, such as “excited,” “wonderful,” or “fun.” Write down your feelings in a journal, and if negativity has crept in, change your language. Gratitude and appreciation with a healthy dose of self-love are keys to maintaining a positive, happy attitude toward life.
  • Self-correct. Be willing to fail. The most successful people had big dreams and didn’t let failures stop them along the way. They used these experiences as building blocks and naysayers never stopped them. Successful people rethink and adjust their sails. If one job, business or relationship isn’t working, revise or reset.  Life is about adjustment and learning—and comfort zones are overrated.

One of my favorite popular quotes about change is, “If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” How will you bring meaningful change into your life—differently—in this new decade of opportunity?https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tame-your-terrible-office-tyrant/202002/change-your-perspective-create-more-happiness?collection=1148006

Disclosure

Lansing Street Advisors is a registered investment adviser with the State of Pennsylvania..
To the extent that content includes references to securities, those references do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy, sell or hold such security as information is provided for educational purposes only. Articles should not be considered investment advice and the information contain within should not be relied upon in assessing whether or not to invest in any securities or asset classes mentioned. Articles have been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Securities discussed may not be suitable for all investors. Please keep in mind that a company’s past financial performance, including the performance of its share price, does not guarantee future results.
Material compiled by Lansing Street Advisors is based on publicly available data at the time of compilation. Lansing Street Advisors makes no warranties or representation of any kind relating to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the data and shall not have liability for any damages of any kind relating to the use such data.
Material for market review represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results.
Indices that may be included herein are unmanaged indices and one cannot directly invest in an index. Index returns do not reflect the impact of any management fees, transaction costs or expenses. The index information included herein is for illustrative purposes only.

Topley’s Top 10 – July 30, 2020

1. Forget FAAANG….Overstock.Com +750% YTD.

OSTK Bottomed at $2.75…..$62 Last

www.stockcharts.com

2. Kodak Spikes 2200% in 2 Days as 62,000 Robinhood Traders Swarm the Stock.

Business Insider.

More than 63,000 Robinhood traders piled into Kodak shares during its 2,100% rally–Ben Winck

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/kodak-stock-price-rally-leads-robinhood-investors-buy-robintrack-retail-2020-7-1029447131#

3. Number of Robinhood User Positions in S&P 500 Stocks.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-lampone-9277986/

4. Velocity of Returns Great Financial Crisis vs. Corona Rally.

www.dorseywright.com

5. Another Insider Selling/Sentiment Chart.

The Daily Shot-WSJ

https://blogs.wsj.com/dailyshot/2020/07/27/the-daily-shot-factors-behind-the-record-setting-rally-in-gold/

6. 17-23% of Bitcoins Lost Forever???

Just as gold bars are lost at sea or $100 bills can burn, bitcoins can disappear from the Internet forever. When all 21 million bitcoins are mined by the year 2040, the actual amount available to trade or spend will be significantly lower.

According to new research from Chainalysis, a digital forensics firm that studies the bitcoin blockchain, 3.79 million bitcoins are already gone for good based on a high estimate—and 2.78 million based on a low one. Those numbers imply 17% to 23% of existing bitcoins, which are today worth around $8,500 each, are lost.

Exclusive: Nearly 4 Million Bitcoins Lost Forever, New Study Says BY JEFF JOHN ROBERTS AND NICOLAS RAPP

https://fortune.com/2017/11/25/lost-bitcoins/

7. Another Sentiment Indicator Hits Record Highs

Macro Charts

@MacroCharts

$NDX Daily Sentiment. The 50d reached Top 2.5% most overbought in history (20 years) and the highest since 2011. See the break below its 50d, similar to Feb 2018, May 2019, Jan 2020. The 50d has also turned down. If history repeats, this could be finished, or very close.

8. Millennial Home Ownership Spike.

Odeta Kushi

@odetakushi

Big jump in the homeownership rate today, mostly driven by younger households. We saw a spike in the number of owners, and a decline in the number of renters. This is the highest rate of homeownership since 2008.

9. A Third of Jobs Lost During Pandemic Have Returned.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/16/9-charts-that-show-good-bad-alarming-this-early-economic-recovery/

10. Reading On Paper

I’m staring at a pile of paper on my desk that is my stack of things I found on the Internet that I want to read.

It’s a bit ironic to write this on a blog, but if I come across something on my computer or phone that is longer than a page or two, I print it out and read it on paper.

I have found that when I read on a computer screen or phone, I tend to skim. That’s fine for a short email or a short blog post (as this will be).

But it is not great for an eight page blog post, a white paper on a new crypto project, or a memo from one of my colleagues or portfolio companies.

When I read on paper, I often will use a pen to underline or mark-up the document. I find that leads to better comprehension and retention of the concepts.

I’ve noticed that our children, all of whom are in the mid to late 20s, also read books in paper form and mark them up when reading them. So while reading on paper may be a generational thing, I believe it is also a valuable technique for all ages and all generations.

Found at Abnormal Returns Blog www.abnormalreturns.com

Disclosure

Lansing Street Advisors is a registered investment adviser with the State of Pennsylvania..
To the extent that content includes references to securities, those references do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy, sell or hold such security as information is provided for educational purposes only. Articles should not be considered investment advice and the information contain within should not be relied upon in assessing whether or not to invest in any securities or asset classes mentioned. Articles have been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Securities discussed may not be suitable for all investors. Please keep in mind that a company’s past financial performance, including the performance of its share price, does not guarantee future results.
Material compiled by Lansing Street Advisors is based on publicly available data at the time of compilation. Lansing Street Advisors makes no warranties or representation of any kind relating to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the data and shall not have liability for any damages of any kind relating to the use such data.
Material for market review represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results.
Indices that may be included herein are unmanaged indices and one cannot directly invest in an index. Index returns do not reflect the impact of any management fees, transaction costs or expenses. The index information included herein is for illustrative purposes only.

Topley’s Top 10 – July 28, 2020

Story of the Day…..Art Samberg (Pequot Capital Management), Lee Cooperman (Omega Family Office) and Mario Gabelli (Gabelli Asset Management) car pooled together to Columbia MBA.

Art Samberg Obituary….He (Arthur Samberg) carpooled to classes with Lee Cooperman and Mario Gabelli, who also became prominent investors.

Arthur Samberg Built Hedge-Fund Giant With Tech Savvy–Electrician’s son made huge profits in 1990s but closed firm amid insider-trading probe

https://www.wsj.com/articles/arthur-samberg-built-hedge-fund-giant-with-tech-savvy-11595524007

1. Insider Selling Spiking.

Red Flag?  Insider Sales are ramping.

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