Category Archives: Daily Top Ten

Topley’s Top 10 – September 20, 2022

1. Ten-Year Treasury Yield Moves to Levels Last Seen in 2011

2. Stock/Bond Ratio Blows Past Modern Day Highs…S&P 500 divided by the U.S. Long-Term Treasury Bond Index

From Callum Thomas Chart Storm—Stock/Bond Ratio:  Wild.

Kind of speaks for itself, but to spell it out: equities are extremely stretched vs bonds. I suspect this will reverse eventually, and most likely when recession hits, inflation falls, and bonds finally start to fight back.

Source:  @AtlasPulse

3. One Short-Term Indicator Put/Call Ratio at Hit Extreme Levels

Sentiment continues to be the best feature of this market (for bulls). Friday’s equity put/call ratio $SPX got thru our threshold level, matched only by the levels seen at the June lows. Momentum and trends are not supportive, but positioning appears to be.

4. Used Car Price Index Implodes Below Covid Levels….Another Inflation Easing Measure.

5. Energy Cost as a Percentage of GDP Europe and World

6. Germany Gas Storage 80% Full

Business Insider -Zahra Tayeb The race to shore up energy supplies looks to be going well, as German officials said the country’s natural gas storage has reached 80% full and is on track to meet its October storage targets early.

Germany lines up natural gas deals with Qatar and the UAE as it scrambles to replace Russian supplies

Zahra Tayeb 

3 minutes ago

Germany is racing to secure natural gas before winter hits as Russian supplies dry up. LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images

  • Germany is stacking up natural gas deals with Qatar and the UAE as Russia cuts off supply. 
  • It’s aiding the shift by releasing $2.5 billion of credit to inject into alternative gas supplies. 
  • “The gas offering is slowly broadening,” Germany’s economy minister told Reuters. 

Germany is closing in on natural gas deals with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as it seeks to replace Russian energy, according to media reports. 

To facilitate such deals, the crisis-deep country released $2.5 billion to secure alternative gas supplies before winter hits, Bloomberg reported

German utilities RWE and Uniper are nearing an agreement on long-term deals to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar’s North Field Expansion project, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The talks between Germany and Qatar have been riddled with differences over the length of contracts and pricing, but a settlement is expected to be reached soon, Reuters reported. 

Zahra Tayeb 

3 minutes ag

7. Improvement in Air Pollution Since 1990

Food for Thought: Lastly, here’s a look at declines in air pollution since 199

8. Wells Fargo Housing Market Index Hits 2006 Levels

Wolf Street Blog-The confidence of builders of single-family houses fell again in September, the ninth month in a row of declines, “as the combination of elevated interest rates, persistent building material supply chain disruptions, and high home prices continue to take a toll on affordability,” the NAHB report said.

With today’s index value of 46, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is now below where it had been in May 2006, on the way down into the Housing Bust.

by Wolf Richter

9. Quant Driven Home Buying Lost Money on 42% of Flips

Bloomberg-The slump has been especially harsh for Opendoor Technologies Inc., pioneer of a data-driven spin on home-flipping known as iBuying.

The iBuying model relies on acquiring homes, making light repairs and reselling the properties — often within a few months of the initial purchase. When home prices were skyrocketing earlier in the year, Opendoor banked easy profits. Then dwindling affordability and mortgage rates soaring toward 6% this spring finally pushed would-be buyers to the sidelines.

The company, which sells thousands of homes in a typical month, lost money on 42% of its transactions in August, according to research from YipitData. Opendoor’s performance — as measured by the prices at which it bought and sold properties — was even worse in key markets such as Los Angeles, where the company lost money on 55% of sales, and Phoenix, where the share was 76%.

By Patrick Clark and Elizabeth Kane

10. The More Senior Your Job Title, the More You Need to Keep a Journal

by Dan Ciampa

Summary.   Being a CEO can be a lonely job–there is no obvious person in whom to confide. Keeping a journal can fill that void, by giving a new leader a chance for structured reflection of recent past events and decisions, and mental rehearsal for future ones. Despite the…more

For leaders assuming the CEO title for the first time, taking time to learn and think translates into early successes. But the problem is there’s little time to do either. Information comes at them more quickly, more people than ever before demand their time, and they’re told that the myriad decisions piled in front of them are all important.

If hired from outside, there is a new culture to get used to and it’s not clear who to trust. Even when promoted from inside, the pace can be jarring compared to running a division in the same company. In both cases, any new leader must manage intense exposure (as it sinks in that top leaders have few places to escape to) and unrealistic expectations (of both self and others).

There is nothing new leaders can do to avoid these problems completely. All they can control is how they react to them. Because we tend to make mistakes when things speed up, especially when in unfamiliar territory, it can make all the difference to find ways to slow things down.

The French philosopher Blaise Pascal pointed out that “All of humanity’s problems come from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” He didn’t mean sitting quietly in front of a laptop responding to emails. The best thinking comes from structured reflection — and the best way to do that is keeping a personal journal.

I started keeping a journal when I took over a manufacturing research, software, and consulting firm. I was very young, we were in crisis facing a challenging market, and I wasn’t sure whom I could rely on. I kept a journal through my 12 years as chairman and CEO and have since recommended it to people moving into any senior position for the first time.

There’s strong evidence that replaying events in our brain is essential to learning. While the brain records and holds what takes place in the moment, the learning from what one has gone through — that is, determining what is important and what lessons should be learned — happens after the fact during periods of quiet reflection.

Also, when we slow things down and reflect, we can be more creative about solving seemingly inscrutable problems. Take, for example, a technique called the “second solution method” that I’ve used in the past. If a group was struggling to come up with options to solve a tough problem, we would brainstorm to identify a list of possible solutions. Before switching to prioritizing, making items specific, etc., we tried to identify all possible options. I found the best approach was to tell the group to take a break and when it reconvened to ask, “What else occurs to you?” Inevitably, this simple question resulted in about 50% more items, often of higher quality. By experimenting, I found that the break that took place between the first and second rounds was more important than the question. A journal is an effective, efficient, private way to take a similar break.

Journal entries should provide not only a record of what happened but how we reacted emotionally; writing it down brings a certain clarity that puts things in perspective. In other cases, it’s a form of mental rehearsal to prepare for particularly sensitive issues where there’s no one to talk with but yourself. Journals can also be the best way to think through big-bet decisions and test one’s logic.

While personality, style, and situation cause different approaches, some guidelines have proven useful for the best results. Notes should be made as soon as possible after an event from which one wants to learn—ideally the same day. Waiting more than 24 hours seems to sacrifice specificity about details that made the most difference and why they happened.

An entry should begin with the primary outcome — the headline that best captures the major result. Then, list the essential reason for that outcome; an always-subtle root cause made apparent by asking “why?” five times to peel back each layer, revealing what came before. (I remember reviewing my journal once and realized that several big-bet decisions turned on the right question asked at just the right point in the debates. Fortunately, my notes were in enough detail that they showed that the same subordinate asked the right question each time. I started listening to him much more closely). Third, recall the emotions that affected decision making and why they flared. Last, identify what you can learn from the whole experience and what you can do differently next time.

Many will opt to keep a journal on their computer or iPad. While that may be more efficient, the point of keeping a journal is not efficiency but to reflect and slow things down so that learning is maximized. For that purpose, handwriting may work better. The novelist Paul Theroux has said that he writes long-hand because, “The speed with which I write with a pen seems to be the speed with which my imagination finds the best… words.” He noted a 2011 Newsweek article that said, “Brain scans show that handwriting engages more sections of the brain than typing [and] it’s easier to remember something once you’ve written it down on paper.”

With so many benefits of keeping a journal, why do so few leaders do it?

  • It takes time, a most precious asset. Because a journal requires reflection, it’s best done during quiet periods, which are rare for any leader.
  • Sometimes, keeping a journal requires reliving something one would just as soon forget. Even though a vital step in learning, it’s unpleasant.
  • Because many leaders prefer to rapidly move on to the next challenge, reflection is not high on their list of things they enjoy or have much experience with.
  • Like any tool, it takes time to perfect the best way to use it. The methodology offered here did not happen right away, but came after many trials and errors.

These are minor drawbacks compared to the benefits. Slowing things down leads to better-thought-through, more effective judgement and to learning what to do more of and what to change. One result, as important as anything, is an increase in the satisfaction that should come from being in charge. A personal journal should be part of any leader’s toolkit.

Topley’s Top 10 – September 19, 2022

1. Dow Transports Break Below Summer Lows

Transports break below July lows

Transports approaching 200 week moving average on long-term chart

2. EFA Developed International Markets Trades Back to 2020 Levels

Developed International trading below 200 week moving average erases 2 years of gains ….Europe just getting started raising rates

3. Record Low Allocation to Eurozone Markets

Callum Thomas Chart Storm Exiting the Eurozone:  Allocations to Eurozone equities dropped to a record low in the latest BofA fund manager survey. Europe is basically the epicenter of the 2022 macro meltdown, so we should expect this – maybe we can call it rational fear (but at some point it becomes irrational (and a source of opportunity)).

Source:  @HumbleStudent

4. Emerging Markets Similar Chart….Back to 2020 Levels.

EEM-Emerging markets …watch for 50week moving average (blue) to cross below 200 week average (red)

5. TWLO another Covid Favorite Announces Layoffs

$425 to $73…clear 50 week thru 200 week to downside.

6. Blackrock 60/40 Chart Re-Testing 200 Week Moving Average

7. U.S. Household Wealth Fell by Record in Second Quarter….$6.1 Trillion…Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate All Down Together

Sept 9 (Reuters) – U.S. household wealth fell by a record $6.1 trillion in the second quarter to its lowest in a year as a bear market in stocks far outweighed further gains in real estate values, a Federal Reserve report showed on Friday.

Household net worth tumbled to $143.8 trillion at the end of June from $149.9 trillion at the end of March, its second consecutive quarterly decline, the Fed’s quarterly snapshot of the national balance sheet showed. Through June, Americans’ collective wealth had fallen by more than $6.2 trillion from a record $150 trillion at the end of 2021.

The net drop in wealth in the second quarter was about $30 billion larger than the previous record decline notched two years earlier, as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic upended financial markets. That decline – in the second quarter of 2020 – still stands as the largest on a percentage basis at 5.2% versus 4.1% in the most recent report.

The latest fall was led by a $7.7 trillion decline in stock market values as equities slid into a bear market in the first half of the year on worries about surging inflation and the Fed’s aggressive response with interest rate increases. The equity market drop outstripped a $1.4 trillion gain in real estate values.

Total nonfinancial debt rose at a 6.5% annualized rate after rising at an 8.3% rate in the first quarter, the Fed data showed. Household debt growth also slowed to a 7.4% annual rate from 8.3% in the first three months of the year, while business, federal, state and local government debt levels all rose.

Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Paul Simao and Bill Berkrot

8. Lowest World Population Growth Since 1950

From Advisors Perspective Blog-The world’s population continues to grow, but the pace of growth has slowed to a rate of under one percent, a pace not seen since 1950. The populations of 61 nations are projected to decrease by 1% or more between now and 2050.

The Decline of Demographicsby Vaibhav Tandon, Ryan James Boyle of Northern Trust,

9. Inflation Causing Hardship Across Working and Middle Class

10. Getting Through Any Obstacle in Life

An agile mind will help you push forward.

Elaine Fox Ph.D.

The world can feel like an uncertain place. Unless we can learn to live with not being sure, it’s very easy for us to become overwhelmed. What my research in psychology and neuroscience has taught me is that getting used to the intrinsic uncertainty of the world is essential for success: the people who thrive are those with the ability to accept and adapt to constant change and uncertainty.

The good news is that we can improve our ability to adapt. It takes practice and we often need to push ourselves outside our comfort zone. I managed to overcome my reluctance to speak in public and adapted over time to the demands of being an academic psychologist.

Harnessing the benefits of an agile mind can be transformative. It’s important to remember that we are active stewards of our own well-being, rather than passive victims of change and so we must actively manage our approach to life. Our natural skills of agility are necessary to help us navigate a complex and unpredictable world. I have seen time and again how developing an agile mindset—the capacity to flex our thoughts, feelings, and actions—can transform our lives and bolster our resilience

Maintaining a flexible mind allows us to thrive amid change. The first step is to accept that change and uncertainty are an inescapable part of life. Our lives will change, many times, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. It is how we navigate those shifts that shape our present and our future happiness. If you are reluctant to change, or wary of trying out new things, this is something you need to work on.

Whether it is coping with a difficult boss, managing a complex team, dealing with hyperactive children, resolving a dispute with a friend, or boosting your energy, you need an internal compass that helps you choose the right strategy for the moment. If this compass is off even slightly, you can veer a long way from your course. Here are four important ideas that will point you in the right direction as you navigate your way through life.

  • Mental agility: The capacity to be agile and nimble in how you think, act, and feel so that you can navigate your way through all sorts of terrain, the rough as well as the smooth, and adapt well to changing circumstances. The science shows that agility is made up of four distinct components—what I call the “ABCD of agility,” adaptability, balancing our life, changing or challenging our perspective, and developing our mental competence.
  • Self-awareness: An ability to look inside yourself so that you can gain a deep self-understanding and appreciation of your core values. This will help you become more aware of your hopes, dreams, and abilities.
  • Emotional awareness: Part of self-awareness, but so important in our lives that it becomes a pillar of its own. Learning to accept and nurture all your emotions, those that feel bad as well as those that feel good, is vital. As is the ability to regulate your emotions and harness them in service of your values and goals rather than letting them boss you around.
  • Situational awareness: This feeds off two of the other pillars, self-awareness, and emotional awareness, but also incorporates the capacity to understand your immediate surroundings—to look outside—so that you gain a deep intuitive awareness of the context as well as your own“gut feelings.” This mix of inner and outer awareness informs you as to how well you can operate in that environment.

These four vital psychological talents are a potent mental weapon to help you make the decision to stick or to switch to another approach, and to get that decision right more times than you get it wrong. Ultimately, that will help you to operate at the top of your game.

Topley’s Top 10 – September 13, 2022

1. Margin Debt as a Percentage of Market Value Coming Down.

Amazing how high this chart has stayed since 2005 due to super low-rate environment.

From Steve Blumenthal On My Radar CMG Wealth

2. No Earnings Recession in America Yet

Irrelevant Investor blog-As earnings season wraps up, we’re still not seeing much deterioration in corporate America. S&P 500 earnings grew 6.3% for the second quarter, with 75% of companies beating bottom-line expectations. S&P 500 earnings grew 6.3% for the second quarter, with 75% of companies beating bottom-line expectations. This looks nothing like a recession, where the average decline in earnings is 21.3%.

3. Contra Indicator….Retail Investors Fleeing Equities

BofA Survey Shows Investors Fleeing Equities en Masse on Fear of Recession

  • Record 52% of respondents underweight stocks, cash levels jump
  • Hartnett sees short-term stock rally before declines resume

Sagarika Jaisinghani

Investors are fleeing equities en masse amid the specter of a recession, with allocations to stocks at record lows and cash exposure at all-time highs, a Bank of America Corp. survey showed.

A historically high 52% of respondents said they are underweight equities, while 62% are overweight cash, according to the bank’s global fund manager survey, which included 212 participants with $616 billion under management in the week through Sept. 8.

As concerns over the economy escalate, the number of investors expecting a recession has reached the highest since May 2020, strategists led by Michael Hartnett wrote in a note on Tuesday. Sentiment is “super bearish,” with the energy crisis further weighing on risk appetite, they said. A net 42% of global investors are underweight European equities, the largest such position on record.

Global stocks have had a roller-coaster ride in the past few months. Declines have been driven by fears that central banks will remain hawkish for longer and tip the economy into a recession, while rallies have been fueled by low investor positioning and optimism around peaking US inflation.

Strategists at top banks including Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. say bleak investor sentiment — often a contrarian indicator for a stock rally — is likely to drive equities higher into the year-end.

4. 30 Year Treasury Yield Breaks Out to New Highs

Still Below 10-Year Highs

5. One-Year Implied Inflation Falling in Unison with Crude Oil Prices.

JP Morgan Private Bank

6. Natural Gas Futures in Europe Plunge 44% from Peak

by Wolf Richter  Storage above target, floating LNG import terminals going into service.

The prices of natural gas futures in Europe, after increasing 20-fold since March 2021, have plunged amid falling demand, above-target gas-storage increases, a growing list of floating LNG import terminals, and surging imports of LNG from the US and other parts of the world.

The front-month October TTF contract in the Netherlands – a benchmark for northwest Europe – plunged by 8% on Monday from Friday, and by 44% from the peak on August 26, to €191.02 per megawatt-hour (MWh) at the close today (data via

The spike in futures prices was driven by speculation following Russia’s threats to cut, and then by its actual cuts, of gas deliveries to Europe. But those sky-high prices caused large shifts, not only lowering demand but also lining up new supply. And with this type of huge spike, and then plunge, there may well be some big energy speculators and assorted hedge funds that ended up on the wrong side with massively leveraged positions.

7. U.S. Gasoline Down 89 Consecutive Days…Longest Streak Since 2015

8. One-Third of Workers Would Quit Before Returning 5 Days a Week

Bloomberg-About one-third of US workers would quit or start looking for another job if told to return to the workplace five days a week, higher than the global average. The rate was highest in the UK.  By

Katia Dmitrieva and

9. The Top Ranked Colleges List That No One Likes

EDUCATION -Morning Brew

The list that no one likes is out 

Jon Lovette/Getty Images

US News & World Report released its yearly ranking of the best colleges in the country yesterday. But this year’s list comes amid a growing number of complaints about how the scores that mean a lot to wide-eyed future loan borrowers (and the administrators who will eventually ask them for money) are calculated.

Besides controversial criteria like incoming students’ SAT scores and the level of alumni donations, one of the main problems critics have with the list is that it attributes 20% of its ranking formula to what amounts to basically a popularity contest. US News sends a yearly survey to college admins asking them to rate other schools’ “academic quality.”

Even Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, although not referring to the US News list directly, said last month that college rankings that value reputation above things like economic mobility are “a joke.”

There’s even more drama this year…Columbia University dropped from No. 2 to No. 18 because it didn’t submit any data while it investigated a math professor’s claims that the school might be fudging some numbers. On Friday, the university admitted to the fudging.

Final fun fact: 19 of the top 20 schools on this year’s list cost $55,000+ per year to attend.—MM

10. Walking and Alzheimer’s

People who do this one thing every day have HALF the dementia risk than the rest of us

Brett Arends

The things to remember about dementia are that it is absolutely horrible for you and everyone around you; it’s a high probability; and when it comes to fighting it or avoiding it you are pretty much on your own.

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are currently killing 6.5 million people in the United States and devastating the lives of many times that when you count the patients’ friends and family. The National Institutes of Health reckons this number is likely to double in the next four decades.

The last study found that people in their 70s had nearly a one in three chance of getting this horrific brain disease before they died, and that was a study of the people born in the 1920s. Those born later, who are likely to live longer, face an even higher risk.

Meanwhile the amount that the federal government spends each year on research to fight this disease is less than 0.1% of the amount it spent during two years fighting Covid. Or, to put it another way, at current rates, Uncle Sam will take more than 1,000 years to spend as much on Alzheimer’s research as he spent fighting COVID-19. Meanwhile, a new scandal has raised questions about how much research into dementia over the past 15 years was based on faulty data.

So I’ll take the good news where I can get it, and some very heartening new data has just been published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Neurology.

In a nutshell: Just walking a lot more could do a lot to cut our risks of developing dementia. It could actually cut our risk in half.

And, remarkably, the ideal target is about 9.800 steps a day: In other words, just shy of the magic 10,000 steps a day figure — a number that was apparently plucked out of the blue by the marketing department of a Japanese clock company several decades ago.

Weird, but true.

The latest findings were based on a study of nearly 80,000 people in the U.K. over several years. They involved comparing actual data from step counters, such as Fitbits, worn by subjects with follow-ups 7 years later.

“In this cohort study, a higher number of steps was associated
with lower risk of all-cause dementia,” report the authors. “The findings suggest that a dose of just under 10,000 steps per day may be optimally associated with a lower risk of dementia. Steps performed at higher intensity resulted in stronger associations.”

Those who walked 3,800 steps a day had a 25% lower risk of developing dementia in the study. Those who walked 9,800 had a 50% lower risk. Those who walked at least 6,000 steps and who walked reasonably quickly for about half an hour a day had 62% lower likelihood of developing dementia.

Naturally in the real world there are all sorts of caveats. How far are we looking at correlation or causation? Will other studies find similar things? If the follow-ups were just 7 years later, what would longer term numbers show?

We’ll have to stay tuned for more research, as usual. Meanwhile, I will take what I can get. I bought a $25 step counter for my wrist from Amazon a couple of years ago. It’s rapidly turning into my best healthcare investment.

There are three key takeaways from the research.

The first is that the benefits of walking really seem to kick in if you average at least 3,800 steps a day.

The second is that the optimum average is about 9,800.

And the third is that just casually wandering around doesn’t get you the full benefit. For maximum advantage, we should try to walk “purposefully,” at a rate of “112 steps a minute,” for at least half an hour a day.

Human beings, of course, spent most of the last million years walking lots every day, eating unprocessed foods, and fasting a lot when there was no food around. It is probably no coincidence that despite all the gazillions spent on advanced medical techniques, we are slowly rediscovering that our bodies really want to walk a lot, eat unprocessed foods, and fast a lot.

Who knew?

Topley’s Top 10 – September 12, 2022

1. Remove Top 10 Stocks from S&P….Remaining Group 14.6x P/E

JP Morgan

2. Bond Bear Market-AGG Bond Index -21% in 20 Months….Down More than S&P in 12 Months.

Bearish chart…50 week moving average thru 200 week to downside…trading below 200 week moving average and approaching new lows

3. Gas Prices $5.02 to $3.72

From Sam Ro According to GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan, the national average price of gasoline fell to $3.72 on Friday, down from its high of $5.02 on June 14. This is great news as energy is a major driver of most measures of inflation.

4. SPAC ETFs are Being Delisted

Callum Thomas Chart Storm SPAK OFF: SPACs were probably the most blatant symbol and symptom of the liquidity tidal wave the swept across markets in the wake of the pandemic. True frenzy.

And now the SPAC ETFs are being delisted.

Bottom or not, it tells you a lot.

5. Solar ETF Data

Barrons-One example of how flows shifted in clean-energy funds was the Invesco Solar ETF (ticker: TAN), which saw assets under management rise from $418 million in early 2020 to peak at $5.2 billion in early 2021 after rising 233% in 2020. From 2021 through May 2022, assets fell to $1.79 billion as prices retreated, although as of early September assets are at $2.9 billion.

TAN ETF -50% Correction from $120 High …rally back to $87

ESG Sector ETFs Could Be Volatile. What to Do Instead. By Debbie Carlson

6. VCs pour $14.2B into crypto in H1 2022, but investments now slowing –

BRAYDEN LINDREA KPMG noted that despite the expected downfall, investment figures remained well-positioned in comparison to pre-2021 figures, which highlights the growing maturity of the market. 2:58

Venture capital firms poured $14.2 billion into crypto across 725 deals in the first half of 2022, but big four accounting firm KPMG predicts investments will likely slow for the remainder of the year.

According to a newly released KPMG report on Tuesday, the largest investments in H1 2022 came from German-based crypto trading platform Trade Republic ($1.1 billion), digital asset custody platform Fireblocks ($550 million), crypto exchange FTX ($500 million), and Ethereum software company ConsenSys ($450 million).

Authors of the report, including KPMG’s global leader of fintech, Anton Ruddenklau, noted the investment figures for the first half of 2022 alone were already more than double all years prior to 2021, which “highlights the growing maturity of the space and the breadth of technologies and solutions attracting investment.”

However, Ruddenklau said that over-investment during the record-breaking 2021 and first half of 2022, along with a looming potential recession, rising inflation, interest rates and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, would bring about a drop off in investment this year.

Total global investment activity (VC, PE and M&A) in blockchain & cryptocurrency. Source: KPMG.

KPMG’s prediction for a crypto investment downturn appears to already be borne out in data from July, with monthly inflows into the blockchain venture capital market declining 43% in the month, according to Cointelegraph Research. 

Ruddenklau expects the slowdown of crypto interest and investment to be particularly felt in retail firms offering coins, tokens and nonfungible tokens (NFTs)

Alexandre Stachtchenko, director of blockchain & crypto assets of KPMG France, stated in the report that “well-managed crypto companies with healthy risk management policies, long-term vision, and strong cost and risk management approach” will best position themselves to survive the current bear market:

“Of course, some cryptos will die out — particularly those that don’t have clear and strong value propositions. That could actually be quite healthy from an ecosystem point of view because it’ll clear away some of the mess that was created in the euphoria of a bull market. The best companies will be the ones that survive.”

Stachtchenko added that financial institutions have become increasingly interested in blockchain infrastructure solutions and stablecoins to capitalize on the operational advantages of distributed ledger technology.

KPMG also expects further investment efforts in underdeveloped fintech markets, particularly in Africa. 

Efforts on this front have been made by crypto exchange Binance, which recently entered into early-stage talks with the Nigerian government to build a crypto-friendly economic zone with the aim to generate long-term economic growth through digital innovation.

7. Chinese ownership of U.S. farmland…20x rise from 2010-2020

Big Trouble in Little Texas

This isn’t the first time a question has been raised in China’s stake in the U.S.

The plug was pulled on a similar wind energy project in Del Rio, Texas, in April when state officials realized two key issues:
1.    The land dedicated to the wind farm is miles from the Laughlin Air Force Base.
2.    The Chinese company hired to carry out the job is owned by a former member of the Chinese military who has direct ties to China’s ruling communist party.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), who unsuccessfully pushed for the Trump Administration to reconsider allowing GH America Energy—a Chinese energy company—to purchase 130,000 acres in Val Verde County, Texas, in early 2021, has sought out secondary avenues.

In April 2021, Gonzales cosponsored the Protecting Military Installations and Ranges Act of 2021, which aims to place restrictions on certain property purchases entities in Russia, China, Iran or North Korea.

8. Homebuilders Margins at Record Levels? Inflation and Housing Bear Market but Margins at Record Levels

John Burns Real Estate-Post-Covid Home Builder Gross Margin Hockey Stick chart below.
Home builders can drop price 8% and still achieve historically normal margins.

9. China has secured Russian gas at a 50% discount until the end of this year

  • China has inked a deal for Russian natural gas at half price through the end of this year.
  • The deal comes as Europe faces a near total cutoff from Russian gas supplies as winter nears. 
  • Dutch TTF futures soared 28% after Russia announced an indefinite halt of Nord Stream 1 this week. 

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China continues to ramp up imports of Russian natural gas, recently securing a deal for supplies from the Sakhalin 2 operator at a 50% discount until the end of the year, according to a report from Bloomberg. 

China imported 29% more Russian liquefied natural gas in the first half of the year than in 2021, and imports soared to their highest level since 2020 in August, according to Bloomberg data. That’s cemented its spot as one of Russia’s largest energy customers since the invasion of Ukraine, snapping up crude and natural gas at hefty discounts while the West attempts to pull back from the consumption of Russian energy commodities. 

China’s appetite for Russian energy isn’t showing signs of ebbing, as the country has recently struck a deal with Russia’s Sakhalin-2 LNG plant to purchase natural gas supplies at half the current spot price, traders familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The deal complicates matters overseas, where Europe faces a looming energy crisis that could be worsened by a potential shutoff from Russian gas this winter. China snapping up Russian gas means less competition on the spot market for European and Asian suppliers, but they’ll shoulder the cost of more expensive alternative supplies.

And Europe has already suffered from soaring energy prices. Dutch TTF futures, the European benchmark for natural gas, recently soared 28% after Russia announced an indefinite shutoff of the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline, up to 268 euros per megawatt hour. 

It’s also affected consumers’ electricity bills, as power is generated from natural gas. And German baseload power, the European benchmark for electricity, has skyrocketed to more than 1,400% above the average in the previous decade, breaking 700 euros per megawatt hour for the first time in August.

It gives a glimpse of the difficult winter ahead, the one upside being that China has been reselling its natural gas surplus to Europe ahead of winter. Already, 4 million tonnes of LNG have been passed off to the energy-strapped continent, largely due to decreased demand in China from its continued lockdown restrictions.

10. ‘Too much free time won’t make you happier,’ says psychologist—how many hours you really need in a day

Published Thu, Sep 8 20229:18 AM EDTUpdated 3 Hours Ago


Cassie Holmes, Contributor

I remember in 2013, sitting on the late-night train home from New York City to Philadelphia, feeling utterly overwhelmed with life. For a working mother, it felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

My research has since shown that I wasn’t the only one who was struggling. As a social psychologist and behavioral science professor at UCLA, I wanted to know: Will having more hours of free time actually make us more satisfied in life?

So I enlisted my colleagues to study how tens of thousands of Americans spent a regular day, as well as their overall happiness levels. The results were illuminating.

Too much free time won’t make you happier in life

First, we calculated how much time people had in a day to spend on discretionary activities, such as relaxing, watching TV, playing sports or hanging with friends.

Then we tested how that calculated amount of time related to their satisfaction in life.

What we found was that two to five hours of free time in a day is ideal for boosted happiness. Having less than two hours or more than five hours of free time a day, however, decreased happiness.

From “Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most,” by Cassie Holmes.

Photo: Cassie Holmes

The data confirmed that I was “time poor” — or feeling like I had too little time available to do all that I needed and wanted to do.

Nearly half of Americans feel they are in the same spot, according to a Gallup poll. Other studies have also shown that being “time poor” makes us more depressed, stressed and emotionally exhausted.

On the other hand, regularly having more than five hours of discretionary time in the day is too much, because it undermines one’s sense of purpose.

It’s worth pointing out that having a sense of purpose does not require working in a paid job. For example, unpaid volunteer work often provides a sense of purpose.

Additionally, tasks required to produce well-functioning households or for successful parenting can similarly offer a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Yet I recognized that in my case, work gives me a significant source of purpose.

Free time is important, but so is how you spend it

The flatness of life satisfaction between two and five hours suggests that, except at the very extremes, the way we spend our free time matters a great deal.

We have 24 hours in a day, but the way we perceive time is subjective. This is important because how long a minute, an hour, a day, or a decade feels informs whether you view yourself as having “enough” time.

Feeling confident that you are able to accomplish everything you want to do is the definition of being “time affluent.” I learned that even with the 90 minutes of free time I had a day, I could make my days feel less overwhelming and more fulfilling.

Here are three ways to feel more “time affluent,” without adding more free time to your schedule:

1. Get moving.

Physical activity has been proven as an effective means to increase healthhappiness and self-esteem.

Try 30 minutes of exercise per day for a few days this week. It’s important to block out time in your calendar for this. The activities don’t have to be strenuous; just taking a slow jog outside or walking to work — instead of driving — is enough.

After your session, write in a journal about how you’re feeling (most likely, you’ll feel great). So the next time you think you don’t have enough time to work out, you’ll remember how you felt, and that the time will be worth it.

2. Practice acts of kindness.

In one of my studies, I found that giving time to other people can make you feel like you have more discretionary time.

Sometime this week, perform two random acts of kindness — one for a friend or acquaintance, and another for a stranger. It’s up to you what you do, but here are some ideas:

  • Pay for a stranger’s order at a coffee shop.
  • Give someone a compliment.
  • Help a coworker complete a task.
  • Bring a family member a tasty treat or beverage.
  • Leave a friend flowers or a nice note.

Whatever it is, do it with the sole purpose of benefiting the other person. Don’t think about or anticipate receiving anything in return for your kindness.

3. Experience awe

The ocean has always had a powerful effect on me. It inspires and fills me with a sense of awe. Finding ways to achieve this feeling can expand your perception of time.

In one study, researchers showed that compared to reflecting on a happy event, reimagining an awe-inspiring event made people feel less hurried. It also made them behave as though they had more time — making them more willing to volunteer their time for a charity.

Try to fit one of these experiences into your week:

  • Social interactions: Whether through physical intimacy, eye-opening conversation, or cradling a newborn, our interpersonal relationships extend us beyond ourselves.
  • Being in nature: Take a stroll your neighborhood park. Look up at the moon. Catch the golden-pink glow of dawn or dusk, and you’ll feel less rushed.
  • Absorbing art: I vividly remember as college student being awestruck by Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” At first, I was anxious to take notes for my essay. But standing there, peering at the artist’s swirling vision, I was enraptured and moved beyond concern about time.
  • Witnessing accomplishment: Tremendous inspiration can be found in individual achievement. Watching a skillfully executed athletic feat, for example, can open our eyes to the magnificent possibilities of humanity.

During moments of awe, absolutely nothing feels limiting — certainly not the minutiae of the day’s schedule.

Cassie Holmes is a psychologist and professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Her work on the intersection of time and happiness has been featured in such outlets as NPR, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. She is also the author of “Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most.”

Topley’s Top 10 – September 8, 2022

1. Behind the Markets Podcast with Wharton Finance Professor Jeremy Siegel and co-host Jeremy Schwartz –  Featuring Matthew Topley

Wharton Finance Professor and author of Stocks for the Long Run, Jeremy Siegel and co-host Jeremy Schwartz, Global Chief Investment Officer at WisdomTree, discuss the how and why of market performance with leading economists and market strategists so you know what’s ahead for the economy and your portfolio.

I am honored to be featured on the show! Thank you Jeremy Schwartz and Jeremy Siegal! And thank you all for listening!

Please reach out with any questions or to discuss any of the topics in more detail.

2. Institutional Traders Net Speculative Put Hedging Last Week was 3x More Than 2008


Sometimes, there’s a chart that just blows your hair back. In 22 years of doing this, none stand out like this one. Last week, institutional traders bought $8.1 billion worth of put options. They bought less than $1 billion in calls. This is 3x more extreme than 2008.

3. International Equity Panic?….Net Outflows from International Stocks 20 Weeks in a Row

From Dave Lutz Jones Trading “Everybody is slowing down, but the U.S., because of the continuing strength of the jobs market, still seems to be slowing more slowly” – Investors have added money to U.S. equity-focused stock and mutual funds for four of the past six weeks, according to Refinitiv Lipper data, while yanking money from international stock funds for 20 consecutive weeks. That’s the longest streak since a 22-week run of outflows that ended in October 2019, WSJ reports.

4. European Central Bank Well Behind U.S….Rates Barely Positive and Inflation 9.1%

Inflation in the Eurozone jumped to 9.1% in August, a new record in the Eurozone data going back to 1997, according to preliminary data released today by Eurostat. It topped out at 25.2% in Estonia. Germany hit at a record 8.8%.

5. $11B Invested in Solar and Wind for 2022….Passing Oil for First Time Ever.

WSJBy Miriam Gottfried

6. Spread in One-Year Performance Between Small Cap Growth and Large Cap Value Hits Internet Bubble Levels

Bespoke Investment Group

7. Retail Trading Volume Drops to Pre-Covid Levels

Zerohedge-A better indicator of retail capitulation comes from Vanda’s tracker of total retail investors’ traded value in US securities, which has dropped to pre-Covid levels, or around $11BN per day…

8. 77% of Single Family Home Renter Renewed Rental Leases…Record Amount.

9. U.S. Labor Day holiday air passengers exceed 2019 levels – TSA

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) – U.S. officials screened 8.76 million air travelers over the four-day Labor Day weekend, marking the first time holiday weekend screening volume has exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Tuesday the four-day period topped the 8.24 million passengers screened over the Labor Day weekend in 2019, which traditionally marks the end of the busy U.S. summer travel season.

A space launch in Florida that could have impacted air travel over the weekend was scrubbed. On Monday, U.S. airlines canceled 108 flights and delayed 4,075, according to FlightAware.

Overall, U.S. summer travel did not meet early expectations as U.S. airlines trimmed summer capacity by 16% and adjusted staffing models to account for the time it takes to hire and train new employees.

On Thursday, the Transportation Department (USDOT) said the largest U.S. airlines had made “significant changes” to customer service plans with nearly all agreeing to offer passengers meals and overnight stays for delays within their control after a rough summer for travel, during which hundreds of thousands of flights were canceled or delayed.

Reuters reported that many of the changes to the customer service plans came after Secretary Pete Buttigieg told airlines Aug. 19 that he would publish a “dashboard” comparing customer protections airlines that were offering ahead of the busy U.S. Labor Day travel weekend.

Buttigieg said in the first six months, roughly 24% of U.S. airlines domestic flights were delayed and 3.2% were canceled.

“Americans have experienced an unacceptable level of flight — of flight delays and cancellations this year due to airline issues,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.

Airlines argue that the commitments largely reflect what they were doing even if it was not in writing. The White House says the written commitments made the promises enforceable by the Department of Transportation.

10. Farnam Street Small Thoughts

he funny thing about teenagers is that very often the best of them, the most interesting and curious, are rather lousy high school students. They have other things on their minds than geeking out every single point on the AP U.S. history exam. They are very often readers, and preparation for elite-college admission does not allow one to be a reader; it’s far too time consuming. These “lousy” students were often among my favorites, and I never feared that they were going to lose a chance at a great education because they didn’t have the stuff of an “elite” admission. They themselves were smart. They didn’t need some Ferrari of a college nudging them along the path to a great education; they were going to get one wherever they went.”

— Caitlin Flanagan

“The problem isn’t that you’re too busy. You are too busy, but that’s not the problem. If you view being busy as the problem, there is no solution. You will always be too busy, and that will never change. As Andy Grove once noted: “A manager’s work is never done. There is always more to be done, more that should be done, always more than can be done.” The problem is that you’re acting like a firefighter instead of a fire marshal.”

— Ed Batista