Topley’s Top 10 – February 07, 2023

1. Retail Flows Out of U.S. into Europe

From Dave Lutz at Jones Trading FT says US investors appear to be losing faith in their own stock market and pumping money into overseas bourses.  Investors withdrew a net $10bn from US-listed exchange traded funds focused on US stocks during January, according to data from the Investment Company Institute, a trade body. This was the second-largest monthly outflow from domestic equity funds since January 2019 and the eighth largest in the past decade.  At the same time, US investors poured a net $17.8bn into overseas equity ETFs, the largest monthly flow for a year


2. 30 Year U.S. Treasury Downtrend Line Going Back to 1983

30-year treasury yield ran up to red downtrend line dating back 30 years

www.stockcharts.com


3. Speculation Back..ARKK +42% from Lows


4. TSLA +52% from lows


5. RPG S&P 500 Pure Growth Now Majority Energy and Healthcare ….+2.3% YTD

Top Sectors

Top Holdings

https://www.etf.com/RPG#overview


6. Turkey ETF Double Off Low from Fall 2022..Holding Up Post Tragic Earthquake


7. Credit Card Interest Rates Now 19%…Yet to be Determined Effect on Consumer Spending.

But the recession will not commence until the US consumer really pulls back, and one major driver of that will be interest rates. Credit Credit debt has been rising fast of late, and the cost of that debt is has now spiked to over 19%. This is the highest rate on record with data going back to 1995. How long will it take before this starts to impact spending? That will be one of the key questions for the economy this year.

The Week in Charts (2/3/23) – Charlie Bilello’s Blog


8. 40% of Internet Users Log Onto Facebook Every Day

Maximum efficiency–Meta’s share price soared nearly 20% on Friday, after an earnings report in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg heralded 2023 as the “year of efficiency” for the company that turned 19 on Saturday. 
Admittedly, when Zuck founded the company it looked a lot different. Metaor Facebook, or The Facebook, started life as a simple online student directory, rather than the tech behemoth that is currently preoccupied with building a — very expensive — virtual world for work and play.
Not dead yetEven though the founder’s focus has obviously shifted in the intervening years, the social heart of the tech giant is still beating strongly as Facebook prepares to enter its third decade.
Indeed, the number of active Facebookers hasn’t really stopped growing. At the end of 2022, Meta revealed that a staggering 2 billion people log in every single day to like, post and poke on Facebook. That means that nearly 40% of all global internet users are on Facebook daily. The figures become even more mind-boggling when you take into account Meta’s full “family of apps” (WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram), which reported 2.96 billion daily active users, meaning not far off 60% of all internet users log into a Meta product everyday.

WWW.CHARTR.COM


9. Bachelor Programs Gains and Losses

Gray Associates Elaine Rowles

https://www.grayassociates.com/graydata-espresso/bachelors-programs-whats-hot-and-whats-not/


10. You Don’t Control What the Fates Decide for You

The Daily Stoic Blog Things go wrong. We get screwed over. We make mistakes. It happens. The idea that it shouldn’t affect a Stoic? Preposterous. No amount of training, Seneca writes, takes away natural feelings. So it’s OK that you don’t like what happened. What matters is what happens next.

Take NFL coach Steve Wilks, for instance, who was recently passed over for a head coaching job he more than deserved. He took over as the interim coach for the ailing Carolina Panthers when they were 1-4 and led the team to a 7-10 finish. He won the overwhelming support of the locker room, and impressed the league.

And yet there he was…passed over for the job for a white head coach who had been fired just months before after leading the Colts to a 3-5-1 record. Was there a racial component to this? Maybe (Wilks has experienced that before). But whether it is or isn’t doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a thing that sucks–no one wants to lose out on a job. And if it is in fact another example of the race problem in the NFL, it only makes it more frustrating and painful.

This is why Wilks’ comments after he didn’t get the job are so perfect. “The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so did I,” he explained. “I’m disappointed but not defeated. Many people aren’t built for this but I know what it means to persevere and see it through.” Disappointed but not defeated. The Stoics knew disappointment well…but they rarely despaired. They would have liked Wilks’ attitude, as well as the distinction that Hemingway made in The Old Man and The Sea, “Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

You don’t control what the fates decide for you. You don’t choose to be passed over for a job. Nobody wants to come face to face with an error or an unpleasant reality. But you do control whether you give up, whether you let it break your heart, whether you are defeated.

https://dailystoic.com/

Topley’s Top 10 – February 06, 2023

1. Short-Dated Options Explode…New Speculative Tool.

BARRONS Randall W. Forsyth

Now, insouciant speculation has returned in another acronym, 0DTE, which stands for Zero Days to Expiration options. Short-term calls and puts have long been favorites of speculative traders because they cost less than lengthier contracts. To help traders scratch that speculative itch, the exchanges have been offering ever-shorter options until they got to 0DTE. 

And their growth has been explosive, so much so that their trading volume is swamping the turnover in the underlying securities, reports Doug Kass, who heads Seabreeze Partners and flagged the 0DTE phenomenon for us. He likens it to the speculative frenzy once seen in the trading of hot initial public offerings, when new shares would change hands several times on their first day, he said in a phone interview.

https://www.barrons.com/articles/zero-options-fuel-frenzy-wall-street-casino-meme-stocks-51675445766

ADVISOR PERPECTIVES BLOG-There’s another attraction to trading cheap 0DTE options, according to Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivative strategist at Evercore ISI. Unlike the era of TINA—There Is No Alternative to equities—when interest rates were pinned to near zero, investors now can comfortably earn more than 4% in money-market funds. At the same time, after getting burned when the FAANG and meme-stock bubbles deflated, many individuals are wary of plunging back into the market. But they can get back into the action by putting just a few percent of their portfolios into 0DTE options, where only the small price of the option is at risk.

So an unintended consequence of the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes has been to facilitate speculation in short-dated options while investors earn a reasonable risk-free return on the bulk of their money, Emanuel says.

https://www.advisorperspectives.com


2. Behavioural Finance at its Best….Retail Investors Sold 60/40 at Record Pace at End of 2022….Q1 2023 95th percentile performance for asset class

Capital Group We saw a lot of folks exit balanced strategies in 2022,” says Hilda Applbaum, an equity portfolio manager for American Balanced Fund®. “While there is a lot of wisdom in markets, there also is a herd mentality. I believe many investors have become disbelievers in balanced strategies at the wrong time. I am confident that, going forward, balanced portfolios — whether they are a 60/40 split or 65/35 — may continue to be a successful approach for most investors over the long term.”

Investors have pulled billions of dollars from balanced strategies

Sources: Capital Group, Morningstar. Figures reflect the total estimated combined net flow of funds across exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds that fall into the Morningstar category “Allocation — 50% to 70% Equity,” and broadly represent funds that reflect a roughly 60/40 blend between equity and bond exposure, respectively. Data as of 12/31/2022.

https://www.capitalgroup.com/advisor/insights/articles/3-reasons-60-40-portfolios-comeback.html?sfid=1988901890&cid=80925380&et_cid=80925380&cgsrc=SFMC&alias=D-btn-LP-6-A1cta-Advisor


3. Highest Short-Interest Crypto Stocks

Jack Denton

https://www.barrons.com/articles/crypto-blackrock-silvergate-coinbase-51675466445?mod=past_editions


4. High Short-Interest Stocks in Russell 1000 Highest Performance YTD

Bespoke Investment Group-We may be just a little more than a month into the new year, but there have already been a handful of Russell 1,000 stocks that have posted absolutely massive moves. There are currently seven Russell 1,000 stocks that have doubled year to date, some of which are more embattled high-growth stocks like Carvana (CVNA) and Peloton (PTON). Breaking down the index into deciles based on which stocks have the highest levels of short interest clearly shows that the top performers have also been those which have been most heavily bet against by investors.  Whereas the decile of stocks with the lowest levels of short interest has risen a mere 4.4%, the decile of most heavily shorted names is up a substantial 36.3%.

https://www.bespokepremium.com/interactive/posts/think-big-blog/new-chapter-in-the-meme-stock-mania


5. LPL Research on History of S&P 500 Golden Cross

https://lplresearch.com/2023/02/03/golden-cross-not-just-another-flash-in-the-pan/


6. Natural Gas Futures Update

Wisdom Tree Nitesh Shah

https://www.wisdomtree.com/investments/blog/2023/01/30/have-we-hit-peak-bearishness-on-natural-gas-yet?utm_source=segment&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=blogalertrecap


7. Weak Dollar …Stocks Selling Internationally Outperform

Equities: Companies with international sales exposure continue to outperform as the US dollar softens.

Source: Daily Shot


8. Broker Dealer Index ETF Breaking Out to New Highs

www.stockcharts.com


9. Infrastructure ETF Breaks Out to New Highs

Jobs report showed 25k construction jobs added


10. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni: Highly successful people ‘get a little bit better’ each day—but there’s 1 thing in your way

Natasha Piñon

After the Philadelphia Eagles advanced to this year’s Super Bowl, head coach Nick Sirianni set a simple goal for his players over their next two weeks of practices — be a little bit better today than you were yesterday.

The only obstacle in the way: “distractions from the outside world,” Sirianni said at a press conference last week, two days after the Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers to set up a Super Bowl matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 12.

“Our job is to get a little better each day, to climb,” Sirianni said. “We don’t need to think about getting way down the road here, but how do we get a little better today?”

For Sirianni, who’s in his second season as the Eagles’ head coach, that’s the key to achieving success. Small-scale focus adds up: Experts recommend breaking down ambitious goals — like winning the Super Bowl — into smaller, achievable tasks that can be sustained over a longer period of time.

As long as you stay focused, anyway. On average, returning to your original level of focus after a distraction takes more than 23 minutes, according to a University of California-Irvine study

Defeating workplace distractions is a three-step process that starts with acknowledging their existence, behavioral expert Nir Eyal told CNBC Make It last month. Break down the stigma by sharing your own struggles with distractions.

Then, make sure the entire team is on the same page schedule-wise. When is everyone collectively focused on specific tasks? When can people take time to ask questions or take breaks?

Lastly, focus only on what’s most important.

In an office setting, for example, most emails and Slack messages — even ones from your boss — are probably less timely than we pretend they are, Eyal said. Unless you save them for after you’ve completed your current task, they’re often just distractions.

“Nothing terrible happens,” Eyal said. “We think these things are urgent, [but] there are very few emergencies that you have to respond to right now.”

Sirianni, who appears to be carefully following that playbook, added a fourth observation last week: You might need to identify what most easily distracts you, or the people around you. List what you didn’t accomplish in a given day, and then backtrack to see what specifically held you up.

“Everybody’s distractions look different,” Sirianni said.

Managing distractions isn’t always easy, especially over lengthy periods of time. Luckily for Sirianni, he only needs his players to stay focused for one more game this season.

“It will be a challenge,” he said. “But … when you’re playing for something that’s bigger than yourself, because of the relationships that you have with your teammates and your coaches, then you’re willing to sacrifice things.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/06/philadelphia-eagles-coach-nick-sirianni-how-to-eliminate-distractions.html

Topley’s Top 10 – February 03, 2023

1. Corporate Bond Funds

HYG High Yield ETF Runs 3rd Rally Since May 2022 to this level

Investment Grade Bond ETF Similar Picture

www.stockcharts.com


2. 10 Year Treasury Yield Approaching 200day to Downside

www.stockcharts.com


3. Semiconductors 48% Move Off Bottom

SMH Semiconductor ETF rally approaching March 2022 highs

Barrons Tae KimFollow  Tech Earnings Are in Full Swing. The News From Chips Isn’t Good.  This article is from the free weekly Barron’s Tech email newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered directly to your inbox.

Chip Gloom. Hi everyone. Earnings season is in full swing. There’s no better way to get insights on what’s happening in the technology business and the economy than hearing directly from the companies themselves.

Heading into earnings, investors were hoping that executives would signal a coming end to the semiconductor downturn. But comments over the past week from the three major chip makers — Texas Instruments TXN +1.44%  (ticker: TXN ), Intel INTC +3.85%  ( INTC ), and Advanced Micro Devices AMD +4.34%  ( AMD )—have offered a different reality: the chip business continues to falter.

 

Here are my four key takeaways from chip earnings thus far:

1. The slowing global economy is hurting chip demand in nearly every industry except for one..

2. Computer chip demand is fading. There is little visibility.

3. AMD has a life raft in server chips.

4. No recovery in China yet

https://www.barrons.com/articles/tech-earnings-amd-intel-stock-51675279355


4. Software ETF

IGV Software ETF makes a higher low on chart….Forming a rangebound chart

www.stockcharts.com


5. Homebuilder ETF Almost Flat One-Year Performance

https://www.google.com/search?q=xhb+chart&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS898US898&oq=xhb+chart&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j0i22i30j69i60l3.1670j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


6. Starbucks Earnings Out …Chart Ran Back to 2021 Levels.


7. Bitcoin-Will Bitcoin Sustain a Higher Low Here?

Bitcoin 2019-2021 spent a lot of time around 10,000….bouncing here above those lows.

COINDESK Chart

https://www.coindesk.com/price/bitcoin


8. Chinese Companies Hold the Most AI Patents

Found at Zerohedge https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/chinese-companies-dominate-among-global-ai-patents


9. American Satisfaction Poll

GALLUP BY LYDIA SAAD

Bottom Line

Americans have long desired more from government when it comes to addressing the nation’s problems, whether that be policies pertaining to energy, guns, the environment or education. Today’s average issue satisfaction rating is tied with 2022’s for the lowest Gallup has recorded in its measurements since 2001 but is not vastly different from the past.

On the other hand, Americans’ belief in some of the nation’s fundamental merits has been shaken since the emergence of the pandemic and the subsequent economic turmoil. Less than two-thirds are satisfied with the quality of life today or with the opportunity to get ahead through hard work, down from much higher levels as recently as January 2020. Satisfaction with the nation’s system of government and how it works has fallen even more dramatically, from 68% in 2001 to 33% today, although much of that decline occurred over the first decade. And satisfaction ratings with government power, corporate power and income inequality are all at or near their record lows.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/469241/americans-glum-state-union-areas.aspx


10. 4 Things High Achievers Do Differently

by Ruth Gotian

We’ve all heard the saying, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Yet a recent Gallup study shows that many people are, in fact, not loving their work and are miserable in their jobs, with only 21% of employees engaged at work and 33% thriving in their overall well-being globally. Individually and as a society, we seem to have lost our hope for the future. People want to succeed, but the path to achievement is murky. No one wakes up aiming to be average, but all the messages we receive, consciously and unconsciously, appear to push us to that undistinguishable level.

At work, our performance is measured against benchmarks. We’re pushed to reach “acceptable standards.” Even annual performance appraisals are based on whether we fall above or below a mean score. Average has become the target, and that’s a shame, as high achievers who blow benchmarks out of the water are 400% more productive than the average employee.

What if the average became our floor instead of our ceiling?

For nearly a decade, I’ve interviewed scores of high achievers, from astronauts to Olympic gold medalists to Nobel Prize winners, for my book The Success Factor. What was revealing is that irrespective of their industry, all high achievers had four things in common, and any of us can customize them to our own lifestyle, not by copying their habits but by emulating their mindsets.

1) Tap into your intrinsic motivation.

Why did you enter your chosen profession? Getting to the “why” behind your career choice is critical, as it will help you get in touch with your deepest motivations, block out distractions, and potentially adjust (or reengage) with your current path.

For instance, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is motivated by helping others. When I asked how he selects which problems to focus on, he told me that he picks problems that he feels are important, not just interesting. This sentiment was repeated by many of the people I spoke with — they focused on doing work that would make an impact beyond themselves. For the highest achievers, it’s not about the medals, rewards, bonuses, or promotions.

To the point, very few of the Olympians I spoke to keep their medals on display. Most keep them in a safe, the nightstand drawer, thrown on a shelf, or in the case of the most decorated winter Olympian, Apolo Ohno, in a brown paper bag in his sock drawer. They all told me that they loved what they do, could not imagine another path, and would do it for free if they could. In fact, I have yet to meet a Nobel Prize winner who quit their scientific work after winning their field’s most prestigious award. “That’s a chapter in my life, not the entire journey” was a phrase insinuated repeatedly.

What you can do:

To tap into your intrinsic motivation, ask yourself: What fuels my curiosity? Is it aligned with what fuels my work? If you’re focused only on external factors (like rewards), you’re likely on the path to burnout.

I recommend creating a passion audit, which will help you differentiate between what you are good at versus what you are not, and what you enjoy doing versus where you procrastinate. Look for themes and see how you can embed some of your more passionate tasks into your career. It doesn’t have to be much. Research from the Mayo Clinic has shown that when physicians spend just 20% of their time working on something they’re passionate about, it significantly reduces their level of burnout.

2) Get comfortable with failure.

Dr. Peggy Whitson is a biochemist who worked at NASA. She always dreamed of becoming an astronaut but was met with repeated hurdles. For a full decade, she applied to be an astronaut but was repeatedly rejected. She didn’t quit after the first, second, or even third rejection. Every time she faced a hurdle, she asked herself, “What strategy have I not thought of yet?” She leveraged what she learned working at NASA to be more competitive as an astronaut applicant.

It’s a good thing Dr. Whitson didn’t allow the rejections to deflate her motivation because she ultimately went on to become the first female commander of the international space station (a role she held twice), spent more days in space than any American astronaut of any gender, and ultimately became NASA’s chief astronaut.

Some people fear failing, while others fear succeeding. High achievers fear “not trying” more than they fear failing. For them, it’s not a question of if they can overcome a challenge; the focus is always on how they can. They consider alternative strategies and work fiercely to control what they can control, and ignore distractions.

Despite what you might have heard, not all high achievers wake up at 5 am to do this work either, especially if they’re not morning people. The people I spoke to learned to optimize their peak performance hours.

What you can do:

To achieve a similar focus, consider this two-step approach. Learn to leverage your cognitive hours, those when you are most able to concentrate, and spend that time on your deep focus work, not passive tasks such as responding to emails or scheduling Zoom meetings, which you can do when you are more sluggish.

Second, consider productivity sprints using the time management Pomodoro method, which has you working and taking scheduled breaks on a predictable cycle. If the work you’re engaged in during this time isn’t bringing you closer to your goal, or giving you the results you want, don’t stop trying or lose focus. Instead, us the time to brainstorm a different approach.

3) Reinforce your foundation.

The week the Nobel Prizes are announced, social media is in a frenzy showing the newly minted award winners going about their usual routine of teaching or writing grants in between press interviews. Despite all of their accolades, high achievers never rest on their laurels. Even if they’ve done a task or routine countless times, they still work on the basic skills foundational to their current — and future — success. It’s why NBA champion Kobe Bryant was famous for practicing the same warm-up routines you’d see in any junior high school gym.

Neal Katyal is another example. He argued 48 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. He told me he still prepares a binder with answers to every possible question he might get asked, holds multiple moot courts, and wordsmiths his opening arguments so succinctly that his children can understand them.

In the military, people are similarly told to “train hard, fight easy.” It’s also the strategy marathon runners use when they train in high altitudes so that running the race in normal conditions feels easier.

What you can do:

Consider the “must-have” skills of your profession and imagine how you can brush up on them or learn to build on them. Instead of letting them get rusty, think about what it would take for you to get to the point where they are so effortless that you can rely on muscle memory to lead you under stress. Do you need more practice? Do you need to practice under challenging conditions? Both strategies will sharpen your abilities.

4) Become a lifelong learner.

The high achievers I spoke with are continuously open to learning, although it is rarely in the classroom. Discussions with mentors, colleagues, peers, and mentees, coupled with reading, observing others, watching videos, and listening to podcasts, all inform their deep reservoir of knowledge.

Christopher Wadell, for instance, grew up as an able-bodied skier until an accident one day left him without use of his lower body. He wanted to return to the slopes and first learned this was possible years earlier when he watched a cancer survivor with one leg on a monoski. That memory was embedded in his mind, and it pushed him to learn to ski in this new way. Today, Christopher Wadell is a decorated Paralympian. He’s won 13 medals, five of them gold.

Many of the Nobel Prize winners I spoke to were also inspired as a result of their openness and curiosity. Several shared that their breakthrough ideas occurred through casual conversations with colleagues in cafeterias and laundry rooms. Conference lectures, coffee breaks and group meals are not just for building your network. It’s where new ideas take root and develop.

What you can do:

To increase your knowledge base, which can lead to making connections others don’t yet see, immerse yourself with interesting people and open your mind up to new ideas. Surround yourself with a team of mentors who can offer you challenges and scaffolding to try new things. Consume new ideas in a platform of your choosing — reading books and articles, watching webinars, taking LinkedIn Learning courses, or listening to engaging conversations and interviews.. . .

People want to succeed, but there is a lack of understanding and discussion on how to achieve more, and more importantly, be motivated to do it. By learning the lessons from some of the most accomplished people of our generation, we can make average our beginning, not our end goal.

Read more on Managing yourself or related topics Continuous learningPersonal growth and transformation and Personal productivity

  • Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and assistant professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City and the author of The Success Factor. She was named the world’s #1 emerging management thinker by Thinkers50. You can access her free list of conversation starters.

 RuthGotian

https://hbr.org/2023/01/4-things-high-achievers-do-differently?utm_campaign=hbr&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin

 

Topley’s Top 10 – February 02, 2023

1. History Post Nasdaq 10% Nasdaq Jumps

Marketwatch-Nasdaq jumped over 10% in January. Here’s what history shows happens next to the tech-heavy index

Christine Idzelis

But the number of occurrences drops to just 16 when narrowed to rallies of that magnitude following a 12-month stretch in which the index was down, according to Bespoke. In such cases, the firm found the Nasdaq’s performance then tends to be positive over the next year, except in 2001, “when there were four different 10%+ monthly gains and the Nasdaq was lower one year later after all four of them.”

For example, the chart below shows the Nasdaq jumped 12.2% in January 2001, after plummeting 39.3% over the prior 12 months. The index tumbled 30.2% over the next year.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/wont-get-fooled-again-nasdaq-jumped-over-10-in-january-heres-what-history-shows-happens-next-to-the-tech-heavy-index-11675271801?mod=home-page


2. FANG ETF breaks above Summer 2022 ….Next Resistance 5800

www.stockcharts.com


3. 9 Out of 11 S&P Sectors Now Trading Above 200day

Rob Anderson NDR Research https://twitter.com/_rob_anderson


4. TBF Short Bonds ETF Closes Below 200day Moving Average

Another bullish bond signal


5. As You Would Guess…AGG Bond Index 50day about to go thru 200day to upside.

www.stockcharts.com


6. Carvana +186% in One Month

https://www.google.com/search?q=cvna+chart&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS898US898&oq=cvna+chart&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i22i30l4j0i390j69i60l2.2209j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


7. Fedex Cutting Senior Staff …Stock Rallies

FDX closes above 200day and fills entire gap from big selloff  Sept. 2022


8. KWEB China Internet Stock ETF Double Off Lows

KWEB up 100% from low still not near 200 week moving average.

www.stockcharts.com


9. Home Sales Reduction by Region

Wolfstreet-Sales plunged in all regions, but plunged the most in the West. Year-over-year percent change (NAR map of regions):

Active listings jumped by 55% from a year ago, to 68,900 in December (active listings = total inventory for sale minus properties with pending sales). Just before the holidays, lots of sellers pull their homes off the market, and then put them back on the market for the spring selling season. This happens every year; active listing start to drop before Thanksgiving and don’t rise again until the spring (data via realtor.com):

https://wolfstreet.com/2023/01/20/prices-of-existing-homes-fall-11-from-peak-sales-hit-lockdown-low-cash-buyers-and-investors-pull-back-hard/


10. You Need These 3 Ingredients to Build Stress Resilience

Psychology Today

A review of empirical research on how to increase resilience. Arash Emamzadeh

  • Research indicates that over half of physician visits are due to stress-related issues.
  • Though there is much information on stress management and resilience, much of it is unclear or unreliable.
  • A recent paper concludes that three building blocks of resilience are equanimity, awareness, and flexible coping strategies.

These days, we may be experiencing high levels of stress–due to the pandemic, supply-chain disruptions, inflation, recession, international conflicts, and other issues affecting our health, work, and relationships. Therefore, building stress resilience (the ability to adjust and adapt in response to stress) has become more important.

A recent paper by Steffen and Bartlett (2022), published in Policy Insights From the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, evaluates the empirical evidence on coping with stress and discusses three science-based practices that promote resilience.

Before discussing the three practices, here is a quick word on stress.

Stress: Good or Bad?

Stress can be healthy and promote well-being if:

·  It is experienced positively (as a challenge and opportunity than a threat).

·  It occurs during activities that are freely chosen, enjoyable, and meaningful.

However, when severe, prolonged, and without a recovery period, stress can be harmful and detrimental to health.

Unmanageable stress (called distress) is associated with many negative physical health and mental health outcomes, including anxietydepression, high levels of stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline), inflammation, poor immune response, metabolic dysregulation, obesity, chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease), and early mortality.

As stress becomes chronic, we are more likely to neglect self-care–be it regular exercise, eating nutritious food, or getting sufficient sleep–and cope with stress in unhealthy ways.

Some examples of unhealthy coping strategies are emotional eating, compulsive pornography use, compulsive shopping, and drug addiction and abuse (e.g., cannabis use disorder).

Given the importance of effective coping with chronic stress, what follows is a review of three empirically supported practices that, according to Steffen and Bartlett, are effective in promoting stress resilience.

The First Building Block of Resilience: Awareness

Coping successfully with stress is possible only if one is aware of it.

So, the natural tendency to avoid stress may prevent us from understanding when and where stress occurs, how it manifests in the body, and the best way to manage it.

Research shows resilient people, though not more worried, are more mindful and aware of stress. This is due to their attitude:

Only when coupled with curiosity and openness (as opposed to heightened vigilance) is awareness linked with lower stress and enhanced coping.

One way to increase awareness of stress is by using biofeedback. Biofeedback training helps people become more conscious of the fight-or-flight response and learn to regulate its effects, such as reducing high muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback is particularly effective for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. The intervention involves learning to breathe slowly and regularly, roughly six breaths per minute, called resonance frequency breathing.

The Second Building Block of Resilience: Equanimity

A completely stress-free life lacks challenge and excitement. In fact, regular exposure to moderate stress is not only pleasurable but also promotes healthy functioning.

Healthy functioning requires physiological balance, meaning time for engagement but also rest. When there is balance, exposure to stress and the use of effective coping strategies can strengthen the “coping muscles” and make us more resilient.

How a stressor is perceived or interpreted is key. Therefore, building resilience requires a change in perceptions. One approach is to develop a sense of equanimity.

Equanimity means being able to remain in, or quickly return to, a state of psychological stability and calmness. It does not mean indifference or avoidance but a kind of mental balance that encourages responding to all experiences–whether positive, negative, or neutral–with the same level of interest.

The good news is that mindfulness meditation can cultivate equanimity. Particularly effective is regular meditation on suffering, impermanence, and non-self. With repetition, mindfulness can become habitual and gradually enhance your resilience.

The Third Building Block of Resilience: Flexible Coping

Rigid and maladaptive patterns of behavior, especially compulsive avoidance, are common in mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

This is not surprising because avoidant coping can reduce distress, often immediately. Yet, over time, it tends to amplify fear and lower the quality of life.

Indeed, rigid and maladaptive thinking patterns (including cognitive distortions) are detrimental to resilience.

This brings us to the third building block of resilience, called flexible coping.

Perhaps the best way to enhance flexible coping involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or CBT self-help techniques.

CBT can improve resilience by teaching effective techniques for reframing negative thoughts and behaving more flexibly in stressful situations.

Exposure therapy and behavioral activation techniques facilitate confronting safe but feared or avoided stimuli (e.g., flying, elevators, social events), identifying what one finds rewarding, and engaging in valued and enjoyable activities regularly.

Our lives are filled with stress and worry. Indeed, research indicates that over half of physician visits are due to stress-related issues.

So, increasing resilience is very important.

Three simple resilience-building skills that can be easily integrated into everyday life are:

1.   Increase your awareness of stress and its manifestations while adopting an attitude of openness and curiosity.

2.   Develop equanimity, a balanced state of mind with neither attachment nor aversion toward experiences.

3.   Increase coping flexibility by evaluating your coping strategies and modifying or replacing them depending on how successful they are in managing specific problems.

You may find HRV biofeedback, mindfulness meditationpsychotherapy, or self-help CBT techniques helpful in strengthening these skills and becoming more resilient.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-a-new-home/202301/you-need-these-3-ingredients-to-build-stress-resilience

 

Topley’s Top 10 – February 01, 2023

1. Rally in Stocks After Job Cuts at Tech

Found at Irrelevant Investor Blog https://theirrelevantinvestor.com/


2. Sector Performance January

Sector Divergence-On this last trading day of January, below is a snapshot of how the major US sector ETFs have performed so far this year.  Over these last few weeks as the broad market has rallied, we’ve definitely seen some sector divergence.  Defensive sectors like Consumer Staples (XLP) and Utilities (XLU) have come under selling pressure, while cyclical sectors more tied to the business cycle have surged.  Communication Services (XLC) and Consumer Discretionary (XLY) are both up more than 12% YTD already, while Technology (XLK), Materials (XLB), Real Estate (XLRE), and Financials (XLF) are up more than 5%.  The only sectors down on the year are Consumer Staples, Utilities, and Health Care (XLV).  At the moment, four sectors are overbought (more than one standard deviation above their 50-DMAs) versus three that are oversold (more than one standard deviation below their 50-DMAs).

https://www.bespokepremium.com/interactive/posts/think-big-blog/sector-divergence


3. Money Flows to China…Hedge Funds and Actively Managed Longs

Zerohedge…But a closer look under the hood suggests a deep split between different types of investors. Hedge funds, who tend to be nimble, have increased their net exposure to Chinese stocks to 13%, from about 7% late last year, according to data from Goldman Sachs’s Prime Services unit. That isn’t far away from a peak of 15% in 2020, just before Beijing started cracking down on tech companies.

In comparison, while global mutual funds’ holding of Chinese stocks has increased to 8% from 6%, they still are  underweight China by 420 basis points relative to their benchmarks, as of December. The current position ranks in the 19th percentile over the past decade, analysts including Sunil Koul wrote in a note.

Source: Goldman Sachs

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/hedge-funds-push-chinese-holdings-close-record


4. Rise in Auto Delinquencies-Remember We Showed the Rise in $1000 a Month Car Payments

Now, more Americans are falling behind on their car payments than during the financial crisis. In December, the percentage of subprime auto borrowers who were at least 60 days late on their bills rose to 5.67%, up from a seven-year low of 2.58% in April 2021, according to Fitch Ratings. That compares to 5.04% in January 2009, the peak during the Great Recession.  Bloomberg ByClaire Ballentine

Rise in Auto Delinquencies

The percentage of borrowers at least 60 days late on their car payments is rising

Source: Fitch Ratings

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-27/car-repossessions-grow-as-inflation-slams-consumers?leadSource=uverify%20wall


5. Demand for Gold Soars to Highest in a Decade as U.S. Dollar Weakens

Dave Lutz at Jones Trading GOT GOLD?– Demand for gold surged to its highest in more than a decade in 2022, fuelled by “colossal” central bank purchases that underscored the safe haven asset’s appeal during times of geopolitical upheaval. Annual gold demand increased 18 per cent last year to 4,741 tonnes, the largest amount since 2011, driven by a 55-year high in central bank purchases, according to the World Gold Council, an industry-backed group.

Central banks hoovered up gold at a historic rate in the second half of the year, a move many analysts attribute to a desire to diversify reserves away from the dollar after the US froze Russia’s reserves denominated in the currency as part of its sanctions against Moscow. Retail investors also piled into the yellow metal in a bid to protect themselves from high inflation. Central bank purchases of gold hit 417 tonnes in the final three months of the year, roughly 12 times higher than the same quarter a year ago. It took the annual total to more than double of the previous year at 1,136 tonnes, FT reports.


6. Lumber Rally But a Blip on Long-Term Chart

Lumber 50week crossed below 200week before recent oversold bounce

www.stockcharts.com


7. Rates: Treasury futures positioning is extraordinarily bearish.

The Daily Shot Brief Blog

https://dailyshotbrief.com/


8. The number of ‘millionaire renters’ has tripled — here’s where they live

Marketwatch BY Aarthi Swaminathan A growing number of millionaires are forgoing homeownership in big cities, either because of sky-high home prices or because they prefer to rent.

That’s according to a new report on the nation’s increasingly wealthy renters from RentCafe, a nationwide apartment-search website. An estimated 2.6 million high-earning households live in rentals, and some are a “new ritzy kind of tenant: the millionaire renter,” the RentCafe report said.

The number of people who make over $150,000 a year and rent grew by 82% from 2015 to 2020, according the report. In contrast, the number of renters nationwide over the same time period grew by 3.2%.

The data came from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, which incorporates census and survey data. IPUMS is part of an effort run by the University of Minnesota.

The “millionaire renter” seems like an “unlikely new kind of tenant,” the report said. The number of households that earn more than $1 million in income and rent reached 3,381 in 2020, three times as many as in 2015.

The growth in millionaire renters is partly due to high home prices. As of December 2022 , the median rent for an apartment in Manhattan was $4,048, according to Douglas Elliman. The median sales price was $1.1 million.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-number-of-millionaire-renters-has-tripled-here-are-the-cities-where-theyre-most-likely-to-live-11675109227?mod=home-page


9. More and More Data=More and More Cognitive Biases

What the NFL Playoffs and Tech Layoffs Have in Common

They have never had so much data to guide their decisions. But teams and companies still get hiring and firing wrong because of psychological biases.

WSJ By Ben CohenTo understand the forces behind the recent layoffs that have ravaged the tech industry, it helps to start with a curious decision by one Bay Area organization.

At the end of last year’s National Football League draft, with 261 players off the board and time running out, Brock Purdy was still waiting to hear his name called. Then his phone rang. The San Francisco 49ers were taking him with the very last pick. 

In that moment, Mr. Purdy became Mr. Irrelevant, the nickname given to the final player chosen in every NFL draft. A series of increasingly unlikely events would make the quarterback more relevant than he or anyone else imagined. 

The unheralded Brock Purdy came into his rookie season as a third-stringer. When one of the players ahead of him was injured, he earned a promotion to backup. But then came another injury, and he suddenly became the starter. That was seven games ago. The Niners haven’t lost since. 

This weekend, with a television audience of around 50 million people watching at home, the undefeated Brock Purdy will play for a spot in the Super Bowl. 

It’s an amazing story that reveals so much about the circumstances required for success in any business. It also shows that even in professional sports, where performance is neatly quantified into numbers for anyone to scrutinize, the market for talent remains inefficient. Football teams have never had so much data to guide them. They are still prone to all sorts of cognitive biases that distort their hiring and firing decisions. 

The consequences of human psychology can be found in many other workplaces across Northern California these days, as it happens, and one scholar in the heart of Silicon Valley says the brutal round of tech layoffs can also be explained by irrational behavior. 

The reason workers are losing their jobs is not the one that companies provide, said Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It’s not economic concerns. It’s a social contagion. Why have layoffs spread from Amazon.com and Meta Platforms to Google and Microsoft and affected enough people to fill an NFL stadium? His provocative theory is that many of the world’s richest companies are simply imitating each other. FOMO has infected FAAMG stocks

as the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback, was the last player picked in the 2022 NFL draft, earning him the moniker

“They are doing it because other companies are doing it,” Dr. Pfeffer told the university’s news service.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nfl-playoffs-brock-purdy-tech-layoffs-11674680339?mod=itp_wsj&ru=yahoo


10. MIT neuroscientist shares 4 things she never does to eliminate ‘brain fog and forgetfulness’

Tara Swart, Contributor@TARASWART The alarm goes off. You get dressed, grab your coffee, and head to work. But by lunchtime, you start to feel disorganized. You reread emails because you lack focus and mental clarity.

There’s nothing worse than brain fog. In addition to stress and lack of sleep, it can be caused by the immune system creating an inflammatory response in the brain. This can lead to symptoms like poor concentration and memory, or difficulty making decisions.

As a neuroscientist, I study the causes of brain fog and forgetfulness. To avoid them, here are four things I never do:

1. I never let my body get tense for too long.

Even if you think you’re relaxed, your body may be physically tense (e.g., stiff neck, back or shoulder pain). This can be a result of stress from things like unfinished tasks or looming deadlines.

So when I notice that my body is tense, I immediately do an exercise called “box breathing”:

1.               Inhale through your nose as you slowly count to four seconds.

2.               Hold your breath for a count of four seconds.

3.               Exhale through your nose, releasing all the air from your lungs, as you slowly count to four seconds.

4.               Hold your breath for a count of four seconds.

5.               Repeat for at least four rounds.

Box breathing is a simple way to help calm your brain. Studies also show that it can reduce levels of cortisol, which is the chemical produced when the body is under stress.

2. I never use screens one hour before bedtime.

As tempting as it might be to scroll through Instagram or watch TV before bedtime, these activities can be too stimulating for the brain.

Instead, I try to read a book before turning out the lights. If that doesn’t help me sleep, I do a “relaxation body scan,” squeezing and releasing muscles — starting at my toes and all the way up to my head.

Ideally, we need about eight hours of sleep a night. More than that can lead to a depressed mood, and less than that doesn’t give the brain enough time to rest and reset.

3. I never load up on glucose.

If your gut isn’t healthy, your brainpower can falter, too. I strengthen my gut-brain axis by maintaining a diet rich in hydrating foods, healthy fats and digestible protein.

Most important of all, I try to avoid sugar. Your brain uses glucose (sugar) as fuel, but refined carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup found in sodas are not good sources of fuel. Your brain gets a burst of too much glucose, then too little.

This can lead to irritability, tiredness, mental confusion, and impaired judgment.

I also eat foods rich in magnesium — whole grains, leafy greens, dried beans and legumes — to help regulate my mood and sleep cycle. And I make sure to have my last caffeinated drink of the day before 10:00 a.m.

4. I never go a day without meditating.

I meditate for at least 12 minutes a day.

Doing this at nighttime can help mitigate brain fog the next day:

1.               Remove all distractions from your room.

2.               Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

3.               Take deep breaths.

4.               Quietly observe your thoughts.

5.               Whatever thoughts come, simply acknowledge them return your focus to your breathing.

If you don’t like to meditate, you can do a mindful activity such as cooking or taking a quiet walk.

I also recommend coming up with a mantra that you can say in the morning, like: “Brain fog is a state of mind. I will go to bed early tonight and be fine tomorrow.”

By articulating your goals to yourself out loud, you can start to be more intentional about changing your habits. And through that repetition, your brain and body will start to follow suit.

Dr. Tara Swart Bieber is a neuroscientist, medical doctor and senior lecturer at MIT Sloan. She is the author of “The Source: The Secrets of the Universe, the Science of the Brain,” and hosts the podcast Reinvent Yourself with Dr. Tara. She works with leaders to help them achieve mental resilience and peak brain performance, improving their ability to manage stress, regulate emotions and retain information. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/31/neuroscientist-how-to-avoid-brain-fog.html