Category Archives: Daily Top Ten

Topley’s Top 10 – September 7, 2022

1. The Financial Advisor Success Podcast by Michael Kitces – Featuring Matthew Topley

Michael Kitces is a leader in the finance industry with over 200,000 unique visitors to his blog every month! His podcast, The Financial Advisor Success Podcast, is one of the most popular in the market.

On his show he interviews leading advisors and industry consultants, discusses practice management tips, and gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the best advisory firms are built and run.

I am honored to be featured on the show that I have been listening to for many years. Thank you Michael Kitces! And thank you all for listening!

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

2. 60/40 Worst Start to Year Ever

Wisdom Tree Andrew Okrongly This year has offered no shortage of headaches, but the most acute source of pain for most traditional portfolios has been the positive correlation between falling stock and bond prices.

There is historical precedent for balanced 60/40 portfolios experiencing negative calendar year returns. What makes 2022 so uniquely challenging? So far, it is the first time in recent history when both stocks and bonds have had steep, simultaneous declines.

Calendar Year Returns of a Traditional 60/40 Portfolio

Managing Portfolio Volatility as Correlations Rise | WisdomTree

3. Follow Up to Yesterday’s Volatility Comments….Number of “Extreme” Days Classified as Gain or Loss of 1%

Dorsey Wright-Another measure of volatility we use at Dorsey Wright is the number of extreme daily moves in the S&P 500 Index, which is classified by a gain or loss of at least 1% in value. This can help compare how the extreme movement seen this year relates to historical market environments. 79 days so far this year have seen a gain or loss exceeding 1% in value, equating to 48% of the trading days (through 8/29). Using historical data back to April 1987, only two other years have seen a higher percentage of volatile trading days: 2008 at 53% and 2002 at 50%. Other high years to note include 2009 at 46% and 2020 at 44%. Of the 79 days, 39 have seen SPX gain 1% while 40 have been 1% down days. While we have seen almost the same number of extreme up and down days so far this year, the down days have certainly felt more frequent as the losses have been sharper.

4. September Poor Monthly Return History

Reminder historically, on average, September has been the worst month of the year for the S&P500 (returns were -0.5% on average, and positive only 47% of the time).

5. Facebook..Another Household Tech Name Giving Back 5 Years of Gains.

6. XRT Retail Sector ETF…Inflation and Consumer

XRT Re-testing 200 week moving average…50 day sloping downward….-40% from highs

7. Short Credit/Bonds ETFs

TBF short 20-year treasury ETF….breaks out to new highs …50day thru 200day to upside bullish.

Short High Yield ETF never got close to Covid highs

8. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Lowest Level in 38 Years

9. Philadelphia Stopped Arresting Shoplifters…..$5.6B loss to small business owners in Pa. last year.

Phila Inquirer by Craig R. McCoy and Dylan Purcell

Late last year, a retail trade group sought to put a price tag on retail theft across the United States. Its report found that Pennsylvania trailed only California in the dollar amount of thievery. It also determined that as a share of all sales, Pennsylvania’s annual $5.6 billion loss last year was the highest in the nation.

10. Contrarian Edge – Vitaliy Katsenelson Grew Up in Russia

Putin: The Mask is Off. Europe is Next.- Vitaliy Katsenelson, CFA

Readers have asked me for my updated thoughts on the war in Ukraine. Here are my somewhat unstructured but definitely very gloomy thoughts. I promise next week’s email will be about a much brighter subject.

I wrote a four-part series on the war in Ukraine. If you missed it, you can read it here.

This war is not about Ukraine

When Putin started the war, he tried to shift the blame to NATO, calling it the instigator. He argued that Russia had no choice but to defensively launch the war to prevent NATO from surrounding Russia from all sides. Reality, of course, was very different. NATO was a sclerotic, toothless, mission-less defense (not offense) alliance in retirement, collecting its “peace dividend” from the breakup of the Soviet Union. Most of its European members maintained their defense spending below NATO charter rules.

Yes, the US, arguably NATO’s most important member, was increasing its defense spending. But Russia was an afterthought in the rationale for this increased spending. Our single focus was on China. Of course, ironically, this offended the sensitive Russian ego. Russians felt that nobody feared and respected them anymore.

Another excuse Putin used to sell the war to Russians was that the mighty Russian army was purifying Ukraine from Nazis and drug addicts. This was a lie. Ukraine has about as many Nazis as any other country in Europe, no more and no less. I wrote a lengthy essay on this topic. And if Putin was really worried about drug addicts, Russia should have invaded San Francisco instead.

A few days ago, Putin finally lifted his veil of pretense. He compared himself to Peter the Great and the war in Ukraine to Russia’s 21-year war with Sweden. He said (I am paraphrasing) that Peter had returned land to and fortified Mother Russia, and he added that now it was his time to do the same. Putin openly wants to be Vlad the Great, and Russia looks at Europe as its oyster.

Most (not all) Russians outsource their thinking to a few TV channels controlled by the government, where they are told what to think by a few propagandists. You may see a parallel between this and some Americans and their favorite TV networks. Take this American image and multiply it by a thousand and you’ll get the level of brainwashing of an average Russian. The message on Russian TV is carefully curated by the Kremlin, and you can, for instance, go to jail for calling this war a war.

Russian propagandists packaged Putin’s empire-building message so that it seemed not to have come from a shirtless KGB thug but to have come down from Mount Sinai. Suddenly, Russians started looking at themselves as the descendants of Genghis Khan, destined to expand Russia’s borders to the old extents of the Tatar-Mongol Empire (basically encompassing all of Europe). The propagandists even started quoting Peter the Great: “We’ll take from Europe everything we need and then turn our bare ass to it,” And they openly used the threat of nuclear weapons, accompanying their threats with, “It is not our fault that you [Europe] are weak and we are strong.”

What in the past was an educated surmise has now become as clear as rain: If not stopped in Ukraine, Putin’s Russia will continue its excursion into the rest of the ex-Soviet republics – defenseless Moldova, Belarus (which is already a Russian vassal state), Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and others are next.

After Putin is done Frankensteining the Soviet Union back together with countries that are not part of NATO, he may move on to Baltic countries that are NATO members. I know, that is unimaginable. But so was the invasion of Ukraine and a shirtless thug openly discussing his plans to return land to and fortify Stepmother Russia by invading other countries and carelessly threatening the use of nuclear weapons.

This war is not about Eastern Ukraine or even Ukraine. It is about stopping Hitler in 1939 after he had already invaded Poland but before he marched on the rest of Europe.

As Gary Kasparov says, Russia under Putin has turned into a mob state. Mobsters respect strength and feast on weakness. I truly hope that as we start feeling the effects of the war on our wallets and war coverage gradually slips from primetime news to once a week updates, our resolve in supporting Ukraine doesn’t wane. Let’s be honest; Ukrainians are losing their lives on our behalf. If we don’t support them with weapons now, it will be our soldiers fighting the Russian Army in Estonia or Poland in a few years on behalf of NATO.

Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom

It is easy for some people to just look at a map, redraw a couple lines, and say that what used to belong to Ukraine now goes to Russia. That is what French President Macron told President Zelensky: that the West needs to let Putin be spared humiliation and that Ukraine should consider ceding some territory to Russia. This makes my blood boil; it is like asking a rape victim to leave a good review for their rapist on Yelp. Putin completely controls what the Russian people see and what they think. He can create his version of reality, divorced from facts and truth. He does so daily.

Ukrainians are not just fighting for their land; they are fighting for their freedom.

Thanks to Putin’s propaganda machine, the majority of Russians believe that Ukraine is on the brink of becoming Nazi Germany. I was talking to my brainwashed middle school Russian classmate, and he was telling me, “Did you see the swastikas tattooed on the Azov fighters who surrendered [after holding out for two months] in Mariupol?” I had not. He continued, “When they surrendered, some of them were shirtless, and you could clearly see that they were Nazis.”

I told him that he and his countrymen should look in the mirror.

I’m as reviled by Nazi symbols and beliefs as much as any Jew that had relatives murdered in the Holocaust, but being a Nazi is a lot more than just having a swastika tattooed on your body. It is about what you do and how you act. I paraphrased Forrest Gump: “A Nazi is what a Nazi does”. These Azov fighters, depite a tiny minority in their ranks that actually have swastika tattoos, were fighting for the independence of their country against a foe that proclaims it hates Nazis but is in fact a modern Nazi regime.

(I realize that this topic contains an incredible amount of complexity and nuance; to understand it, please read my essay on Nazis in Ukraine).

When we see the Nazi symbol we immediately stop thinking. Our emotions overwhelm us, and with good reason. But let’s think about it calmly – what is Nazism today?

It is the most recent, extreme version of nationalism, where one race or country believes it is superior to others and is willing to do any amount of killing to enforce its dominance.

It pains me to say this, but Russia today is sick with its own sort of Nazism. Just as Nazis believed they were the superior race, Russia believes it is superior to Ukraine and other nations. Russia wants to delete the Ukrainian identity, as though the country has no right to exist.

Don’t believe me?

This article (you can use Google Translate to read it) is the Russian version of Mein Kampf. It was published by the Russian Information Agency, a state-owned domestic news agency – an information arm of the Kremlin.

Ukraine, as history has shown, is impossible as a nation state, and attempts to “build” one naturally lead to Nazism. Ukrainism is an artificial anti-Russian construction that does not have its own civilizational content, a subordinate element of an alien and alien civilization.… Further denazification of this mass of the population consists in re-education, which is achieved by ideological repression (suppression) of Nazi attitudes and strict censorship: not only in the political sphere, but also necessarily in the sphere of culture and education.

Denazification will inevitably also be a de-Ukrainization – a rejection of the large-scale artificial inflation of the ethnic component of self-identification of the population of the territories of historical Little Russia and New Russia, begun by the Soviet authorities.

As Russia captures Ukrainian cities, it immediately starts “de-nazifying” and “Russifying” them. It prevents people from traveling elsewhere in Ukraine and allows them to travel only to Russia (think: the Wall in East/West Germany). It switches the functional currency to the ruble. It starts rewriting history by canceling the Ukrainian curriculum in schools. It wants Ukrainians to forget their culture and their language. Just like a rapist asking his victim to love him, Putin wants to force Ukrainians to fall in love with their new Russian nation.

Ukrainians are not just fighting for their land. They are fighting for the right to speak their own language, for their culture, for freedom of thought, for the right to be part of the West and maintain its liberal values.

My advice to Mr. Macron: If you want to save Putin from humiliation, I have heard that Burgundy is nice in August. Though Russians prefer potato vodka to French wine, they’ll adapt, and you can benefit from learning to say “I surrender” in Russian.

On a cheerier note, Ukrainians have chosen the design for a new stamp. It is called “Good evening, we are from Ukraine.”

Topley’s Top 10 – September 6, 2022

1. 2022 A Very Volatile Year

@Charlie Bilello A Volatile Year

The only years with higher volatility in stocks at this point than 2022 (169 trading days): -1930s (Great Depression, World War II) -2002 (Dot-Com Crash)-2009 (Global Financial Crisis)-2020 (Covid Crash)

2. Bull Cycles Longer…Bear Cycles Short and Sharp

From Callum Thomas Bull vs Bear Across the Ages: This is a pretty interesting chart just in terms of filling out the historical context. Albeit it is hard to draw (m)any meaningful conclusions, but as a starter: a. bears are mostly short and sharp (but note exceptions); b. bull cycles generally been longer since the 80’s (vs very cyclical/rangy in 60’s/70’s); c. the bigger/longer the rise =/= any hard/fast rules about what happens next e.g. 1930’s vs late-50’s vs early-00’s vs (now?); d. most of the time the market is going up/bull; e. (but) there is ample scope/opportunity/value in market timing (or at least asset allocation and diversification); and f. it’s always different (even if it’s similar).

Source: @Mayhem4Markets From Callum Thomas Weekly Chart Storm

3. Old Tech Favorite INTC Breaks Below 5 Year Price

4. The U.S. Labor Shortage is Not Going Away….Retirees Up and Immigration Down

Barrons-The Labor Shortage Will Get Worse and May Last for Decades Megan CassellaFollow

5. Above Will Make It Really Hard to Get Labor Costs Down but Other Inflation News Improving


JP Morgan

6. Inflation …Aluminum and Copper Corrections…China Slowdown and U.S. Housing Slowdown

Aluminum -50% from Highs

Copper -30% from Highs

7. One Commodity Staying High…Coffee After Doubling Off 2021 Levels

8. 12,000 Robots Ordered in 2022..Labor Shortage=More Robots?

ROBO ETF -35% from highs

Also approaching 5 year lows

9. Highest and Lowest Inflation Countries

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Inflation Rates (Trading Economics Jan 2022)

  1. Venezuela — 1198.0%
  2. Sudan — 340.0%
  3. Lebanon — 201.0%
  4. Syria — 139.0%
  5. Suriname — 63.3%
  6. Zimbabwe — 60.7%
  7. Argentina — 51.2%
  8. Turkey — 36.1%
  9. Iran — 35.2%
  10. Ethiopia — 33.0%

Top 10 Countries with the Lowest Inflation Rates (Trading Economics Jan 2022)

  1. Rwanda — -2.0%
  2. Chad — -0.5%
  3. Maldives — -0.2%
  4. Gabon — 0.6% (tie)
  5. Japan — 0.6% (tie)
  6. Bahrain — 0.7%
  7. Fiji — 0.8%
  8. Vanuatu — 0.9% (tie)
  9. Bolivia — 0.9% (tie)
  10. Saudi Arabia — 1.1%

10. Health Is the Secret to Happiness-

Psychology Today Thomas Rutledge Ph.D.

Your body, not your bank account, is the best source of emotional well-being.


  • Despite centuries of wisdom about happiness, happiness remains elusive in modernity.
  • Although many factors influence our happiness, arguably the most robust and persistent influence is our own physical health.
  • Physical health regulates how we feel, controls what we can do, and relies on identical biology responsible for our mental health.

In the long history of humanity, no goal has been more consistently imagined, discussed, and pursued than happiness. In fact, our persistent focus as a species on happiness—across centuries, continents, and circumstances—is possibly matched only by the diversity of means through which we’ve sought to obtain it. From Greek philosophers such as Aristotle, religious texts such as the Quran and the Bible, to modern happiness science and self-help books, happiness is a goal we never stop chasing and a feeling we never stop craving.

Although we have traditionally pursued happiness through relationships and religion, status and substance use, money and material goods, arguably the most enduring and powerful contributor to our happiness is the quality of our physical health. The profound influence of health on our capacity for happiness is readily demonstrated in two ways: First, our state of health strongly affects how we feel. Energy, vitality, motivation, and resilience are just some of the many dimensions we characteristically describe as emotions that are often instead a manifestation of our physical health. While few would dispute that it is possible to experience happiness despite the malaise of medical illness, none can deny that it is more difficult.

Second, the quality of our physical health determines the boundaries of what we can do. Even under the best of circumstances, the feeling of happiness can be as capricious as the weather or stock market. Constrain our already fickle capacity for happiness even further with disease and disability that rob our ability to move in and modify the world around us, engage with and experience the people and preoccupations we care about, and happiness becomes as ephemeral as a rainbow.

Given the intimate connection between physical and mental health, coupled with research indicating that just 2.7% of American adults are now physically healthy—based on standards of not smoking, obtaining regular exercise, consuming a nutritious diet, and maintaining a recommended body-fat level based on DEXA scans (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; 1)—perhaps it is no wonder that happiness levels in the U.S. have been declining since the 1990s (2).

How health becomes happiness or its opposite
Source: Thomas Rutledge

Evolving metabolic research and behavioral neuroscience offer even more precise insights into how our physical health directly and indirectly regulates our emotional well-being. As summarized in the figure above, our lifestyle habits and underlying biology form a symbiotic relationship that is the foundation of both our physical and mental health. Like two sides of the same coin, behaviors and physiological processes operate as inseparable components of a recurring cycle across our lifespan.

At any moment, our feelings and functional abilities are the product of a complex interaction of processes occurring from the level of our genes and epigenome, the capability of our organs, and the status of our hormones and neurotransmitters. Even while our emotions and behaviors are consequences of these processes, however, they are simultaneously causes in either a vicious or virtuous health cycle. The quality of your sleep last night modified the status of hundreds of genes, the nutrition provided by your diet today offers either an abundance of or a deficiency in the ingredients necessary for your body to create and convert neurotransmitters and hormones, and the frequency and intensity of your physical activity across the day modifies the function of dozens of hormones and even alters the state of your gut microbiome (3).

Informed by modern research, it becomes impossible to see our daily lifestyle choices as inconsequential. They are in fact powerful levers and control switches determining our capacity for health and happiness.

More than ever, we know that happiness is an inside game. As science empowers us with increasing insights into the human body, the connection between mind, body, and spirit recognized by philosophers centuries ago is explainable as an interaction between our behaviors and biology. This research offers more than an explanation for this phenomenon, however. It also reveals the remarkable power our health habits have to improve our potential for happiness.

Topley’s Top 10 – September 1, 2022

1.Bonds See Some Record Outflows this Summer

Loan ETFs Suffer Record Outflows in June

Investors pulled more money than ever before from US-listed ETFs investing in bank loans in June.

With recessionary fears growing and traders seeking the highest quality debt, exchange-traded funds holding loans posted outflows of $2.3 billion in the month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That means the cohort has now erased all inflows for the year. At the same time, broad corporate bond ETFs also posted record exits in June with $8.1 billion withdrawn.

Elsewhere, aggregate debt funds saw the weakest inflows since Covid hit in 2020 as just $90 million was added. Cash-like, ultra-short duration products attracted $6.9 billion in an 18th straight month of inflows.

2. Follow Up from Yesterday’s Chart on Shipping Rates….LA Ports Clear for Xmas…8 Ships in Queue

Brendan Murray

3. Gold Miners Making New Lows Despite War, Inflation Above 6%, and Stock Bear Market

GDXJ Junior Miners New Low

GDX Large Cap Miners New Lows

4. Inflation Adjusted CapEx for Energy Stocks at Lows….

From Kailash Concepts

5. Short Interest in Stocks Remains Low….Hedge Funds Using Futures?

From Callum Thomas Weekly Chart Storm…Short Interest Short of Interest:  Did short selling die in 2020?

(or is it just resting, like in 2000?)

Source:  @MikeZaccardi

6. Strongest Earnings Sector 2022 by Far is Energy…

Earlier this week we showed Energy sector had highest dividends

LPL Research

7. China Still by Far Largest Manufacturer in the World and They are Moving up the Value Chain.

Capital Group

China has moved up the manufacturing value chain

Source: Capital Group, based on reports from Euromonitor, SNE Research and company filings. Data as of May 2021 and reflect approximate figures.

8. 30 Year Mortgage 5.5%

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates:

Molly Grace and Laura Grace Tarpley, CEPF 

Mortgage rates spiked last week and remain elevated this week.

Average 30-year mortgage rates had been relatively low for most of August, even dipping below 5% a few times. But as the Federal Reserve gears up for another large hike to the federal funds rate next month, rates have trended up.

9. Housing Sentiment Falls to Lowest Level Since 2011


10. To Flourish, Humans Are Motivated by Four Universal Needs

Psychology Today. Are you satisfying these needs at work? Could you?  Michael W. Wiederman 


  • Psychology research has revealed four universal human needs related to flourishing and living one’s best life.
  • Although these needs are not necessary for survival, they are necessary for job satisfaction.
  • Whether for yourself or those you lead, the set of universal human needs is a useful checklist for evaluating the likelihood of job satisfaction.

One area of psychological research focuses on people’s needs, which lead to motivations. Results indicate that there are universal needs that transcend cultures and history, motivating humans in general to do what it takes to satisfy them. Primary on the list are survival needs, such as food, water, shelter, and safety. Once these needs are met, however, what does it take for people to flourish, feeling most engaged and that they are living their best life?

The Big 4 Universal Needs Related to Flourishing

Different writers may use varied terminology to describe what has become known as the “Big 4” universal human needs or motivations. I’ve taken the liberty of using pairs of terms that each start with the letter C, with hopes that doing so makes them more memorable. (There is no particular order of importance on this list.)

·  The first we might refer to as Contribution or Calling. That is, we need to feel as though our life has meaning or purpose. That isn’t to say that it has to be a grandiose sense of importance, but rather that what we do means something to others or to the world generally; that what we do is productive and purposeful.

·  The second universal need we might call Choice or Control. Generally we prefer more rather than less choice and more control over what we do and how we do it. In fact, humans tend to actively resist encroachment on their autonomy.

·  The third universal need could be termed Competence or Capability. That is, it is important to feel as though we do a pretty good job at what is important to us, and perhaps at least as important is the perception that we are improving or have opportunities to grow more effective.

·  Last on our list is Connection or Community. It’s not that we need to be liked by everyone, but it is important to have a set of people who like and respect us; a group we consider our tribe.

These Big 4 universal needs or motivations apply to all of us, but there is probably variation in their relative importance to each person. If I asked you to rank order the four from most to least important, your rankings would probably not perfectly match mine.

Topley’s Top 10 – August 31, 2022

1. Shipping Rates Collapse Back to Summer 2020 Levels 

Dave Lutz at Jones Trading-Sharp declines in container shipping rates are a reflection of easing supply-chain woes – Baltic Exchange Dry Index continues to collapse and is now back to summer 2020 levels

2. Lumber Prices Back to Summer 2020

Lumber Futures $1700 to $476

3. 200 Day Correlation Between Stocks and Bonds .87….Last Time This High was 2009

Bespoke Investment Group-High Correlation Between Stocks and Bonds So far in 2022, stocks and bonds have both sold off, leading investors with a balanced portfolio to experience historically painful drawdowns. Rates have risen, and partially because of this fact, equities have had a tough year. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY) is down 16.0% on a YTD basis, while the iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) has shed 11.3% of its value. Typically, rates fall alongside equities, as investors shift their capital allocations to safer assets. 2022 has been different, though, and has seen selling in both bonds and equities.  This has resulted in a historic level of positive correlation between the ETFs SPY and AGG going back to 2004 when AGG first started trading
Although the 200-day correlation between stocks (SPY) and bonds (AGG) has been higher once before (in late 2009), the current level remains particularly elevated. The current 200-day correlation sits at 0.87, which signifies a strong positive relationship. In the last 200 days, stocks have moved in the opposite direction of rates on most days, as the market is incredibly focused on the bond market as the Fed transitions from an accommodative to a restrictive stance in the face of higher inflation. Interestingly, the correlation coefficient does appear to be rolling over, moving lower in each of the last 15 trading sessions. Historically speaking, the correlation coefficient has tended to turn negative not long after rolling over, as illustrated by the chart below.

4.China Seeing New Covid Cases..

Dave Lutz Not Helping Commodities – China is battling Covid in every province despite strict measures to control the virus. All 31 mainland provinces recorded at least one local case over the past 10 days, the broadest exposure to the virus since at least February 2021

5. S&P Seeing Longest Stretch Below 200 Day Moving Average Since 2008

Michael Batnick Irrelevant Investor Blog-In fact, the S&P 500 has been below its 200 day for 99 days, the longest stretch since the GFC.

Source Y Charts

6. Leveraged Loan Market Possibly Most Effected by Consistent Rising Rates but very few Maturing in 2022-2023

Marketwatch- only 9% of outstanding LL loans will come due between now and the end of next year. By 

Joseph Adinolfi

7. U.S. Cropland Values Hit Record Highs

From Barry Ritholtz The Big Picture

Source: AgWeb

8. Axios-The space race for our cellphone

Young satellite companies say they’re on the precipice of blanketing the planet with cellphone service. 

Why it matters:If they succeed, their technology could eliminate dead zones and provide more reliable coverage to millions of people.

Driving the news:SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert late last week announced plans to start delivering service through SpaceX’s Starlink by the end of next year in the United States. 

  • Only text and certain messaging capabilities will be available in the beginning, with the goal of adding voice and data down the line.
  • We’ve all read about someone who was hiking, got lost, or died of thirst or exposure,” Musk said during the announcement event, adding that this service will help in those types of situations. 

How it works:New satellites equipped with larger and more powerful antennas will pick up signals from cellphones directly, rather than relying on cell towers.

  • Sievert described the vision as putting cell towers in the sky, but “a lot harder.”
  • The partnership would effectively enable cellphones to do what satellite phones can do, Jon Peha, former FCC chief technologist and professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, tells Axios.
  • “They’re no longer separate devices. It’s one device that does both,” he said.

State of play:AST SpaceMobile and Lynk are other major competitors working to make cell coverage direct from space a reality.

  • Project Kuiper, from Amazon, is working with Verizon on an effort to provide rural communities with wireless coverage via thousands of satellites.
  • Rumors are also swirling that Apple might be set to announce its own direct-to-satellite iPhone partnership with Globalstar next week.

What they’re saying:“The human race is becoming less and less tolerant of being disconnected,” AT&T CEO John Stankey told Axios in an interview. “There’s a market out there to keep people connected all the time.”

  • Stankey declined to share details about any plans from AT&T, but added, “I think we’ll see the market develop where there’s a variety of different alternatives and solutions.”

The ultimate goalis to offer high-speed mobile internet access via satellite.

  • “No one company or even a number of these companies [will] be able to meet all the needs,” Peha said.

The intrigue:With SpaceX dominating the rocket launch industry right now, “co-opetition” could drive success for all players.

  • “We’re glad that they [SpaceX and T-Mobile] have shown attention to this, but we always thought this was going to be a multiple party market,” AST chief strategy officer Scott Wisniewski tells Axios. “This is not a winner take all market given how big it is.”

What’s next:SpaceX and T-Mobile will need regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission for their plans.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Musk is CEO of SpaceX, not a co-founder.

9. $1B in Crypto Lost to Fraud Since 2021…Congress Cracking Down

Coinbase, FTX, Binance get inquiries as Congress looks to crack down on $1 billion

crypto fraud



·         The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is dialing up the pressure on federal agencies and crypto exchanges to protect Americans from fraudsters.

·         In a series of letters sent Tuesday morning, the committee asked four agencies, as well as five digital asset exchanges — Coinbase, FTX, Binance.US, Kraken, and KuCoin — for information and documents about what they are doing to safeguard consumers against scams and combat cryptocurrency-related fraud.

In its first foray into the crypto sector, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform is dialing up the pressure on federal agencies and crypto exchanges to protect Americans from fraudsters.

In a series of letters sent Tuesday morning, the committee asked four agencies, including the Department of the Treasurythe Federal Trade Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as five digital asset exchanges — CoinbaseFTXBinance.USKraken, and KuCoin — for information and documents about what they are doing, if anything, to safeguard consumers against scams and combat cryptocurrency-related fraud.

More than $1 billion in crypto has been lost to fraud since the start of 2021, according to research from the FTC.

“As stories of skyrocketing prices and overnight riches have attracted both professional and amateur investors to cryptocurrencies, scammers have cashed in,” wrote Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D.-Ill., Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. “The lack of a central authority to flag suspicious transactions in many situations, the irreversibility of transactions, and the limited understanding many consumers and investors have of the underlying technology make cryptocurrency a preferred transaction method for scammers.”

The letters ask that the federal agencies and crypto exchanges respond by Sept. 12 with information about what they are doing to protect consumers. The committee says that these responses could be used to craft legislative solutions.

10. Discipline is Destiny-Ryan Holiday

It’s next to impossible to know what kind of adversity or what sort of good luck will fall in someone’s lap.

Will they be able to handle it, whatever it is? Will they rise to the occasion or be corrupted or destroyed by it?

As it happens, this part is easy to predict.

Look at Marcus Aurelius. He was gifted all sorts of incredible things—power, money, great teachers. How did he manage to remain good when so many others, from Nero to Tiberius, had been broken by those exact same gifts? The same way that he managed to not be broken by the incredible adversity of the Antonine Plague. It was his discipline—his temperance, moderation, self-awareness, balance, and self-mastery.

When we say that, “discipline is destiny,” this is what we mean—that discipline is both predictive and deterministic. It predetermined that Marcus would not only be a great emperor, but a great man too. Just as it assured that the final chapters for the cautionary tales of history—Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, King George IV, and sadly even Marcus’s own undisciplined son, Commodus—would be marked by self-inflicted destruction.

So it goes for all of us. If you want to know why things are the way they are in your life right now…look to your level of discipline. It got you here, for better or worse. If you want to know how things are going to go for you in the future…your discipline will take you there.

It’s not merely that disciplined people do well and undisciplined people fail—we know life is more complicated than that. The maxim means that traits of discipline predict the kind of actions we will see.

The undisciplined person may succeed…but it will be an unstable, chaotic success. The unrestrained will end up unraveling the institutions around them. The lazy will end up missing some critical piece of information that costs them. The overly passionate will take it too far and pay for it. The arrogant will ignore the people and the warnings that could have saved them.

Who we are, the standards we hold ourselves to, the things we do regularly, our personality traits—in the end, these are all better predictors of the trajectory of our lives than talent, resources, or privilege. These tell us how we will respond to the future swings of Fortune, which, ultimately, is all we need to know.

“Most powerful is he,” as Seneca tried to instill in the rulers he advised, “who has himself in his own power.” Most powerful is he who is disciplined because…

Discipline is destiny.

Topley’s Top 10 – August 26, 2022

1. Equity Returns Resilient in Rising Rate Environments.

Capital Group

2. Problem…..Inflation Adjusted (Real) Rates Still Well in Negative.

Different than past rate hike cycles

Dan Morehead

3. The 2 Year U.S. Treasury Broke Above Downtrend Line Going Back to 1980

4. Bond Index 50day thru 200 day to Downside

AGG index bearish signal on weekly chart

5. Energy ETFs Making Run at New Highs

XLE Energy ETF

PSCE Small Cap Energy ETF

6. OPEC/Saudis Talking Lower Production…Pullback to Feb Levels on Feared Global Slowdown

6. The global energy crisis could drive a massive $42 billion boost in natural gas investment in the next 2 years

Business Insider Jennifer Sor 

  • The energy crisis could drive a major boost in the natural gas market, and investment could reach $42 billion by 2024.
  • The lack of investment has been a key problem in the current global energy crisis.
  • It won’t come in time to help Europe, but it could cement the US’s rank as the world’s top LNG exporter.

The global energy crisis could bring a massive investment in natural gas infrastructure, with new investment in the industry hitting as much as $42 billion in 2024, according to Rystad Energy.

Underinvestment in infrastructure has been a key component of the global energy crisis, which threatens to send AsiaEurope, and the US into a crisis this winter. Analysts have said OPEC+ has largely run out of spare capacity, which the cartel has blamed on chronic underinvestment throughout the entire industry.

“As the global energy crisis deepens and countries scramble to secure reliable energy sources, investments in new liquefied natural gas infrastructure are set to surge,” Rystad said in a note on Wednesday. 

The analysts also predicted that total natural gas production will reach 14.7 million barrels per day in 2030, nearly double from the 8.7 million barrels per day reported in 2021. Total production is estimated to peak at 16.3 million bpd in 2034. 

That won’t come in time to aid Europe and Asia as they scramble for fuel supplies, but it will help cement the US’s position as the world’s top LNG exporter. By 2030, the Americas – with the US in the lead – is expected to fuel around 30% of the world’s natural gas consumption, and Asian-Pacific countries will account for around 25%, Rystad said.

Much of the investment so far has also taken place domestically. $10 billion has poured into Texas for Exxon Mobil’s and Qatar Energy’s Golden Pass LNG project. Another $13.2 billion has been directed to Louisiana to build Venture Global’s Plaquemines LNG project

Natural Gas Made the New Highs

8. Goldman Sachs has run the numbers on student-loan forgiveness. This is its assessment.

Marketwatch Steve Goldstein


The White House on Wednesday finally released its program for student-loan-debt relief, saying it will cancel up to $20,000 in debt per borrower to households earning as much as $250,000.

Goldman Sachs economists Joseph Briggs and Alec Phillips ran through the numbers and gave a conclusion perhaps jarring to the plan’s supporters and detractors alike — that it won’t amount to much, saying the headlines are bigger than the macroeconomic impact.

If all borrowers eligible for the program enroll, it will reduce student-loan balances by around $400 billion, or 1.6% of GDP. That’s not a given — the economists point out that previous programs to reduce loan payments didn’t reach full enrollment.

The economists then drew on both Education Department data, as well as the Federal Reserve’s survey of consumer finances, to estimate the boost to income and consumption. Though lower-income households will see the largest proportional cut in debt payments, most of them don’t have student debt. The wealthy, on the other hand, are limited by the income thresholds attached to the relief. Middle-income households will benefit the most.

What’s the impact? Payments will fall from 0.4% of personal income to 0.3%. “This modest reduction in debt payments as a share of income implies only a modest boost to GDP. Relative to a counterfactual where debt forbearance ends and normal debt payments resume, our estimates imply a 0.1 percent point boost to the level of GDP in 2023 with smaller effects in subsequent years due to the natural maturation of student loans, as well as continued growth in nominal GDP,” they say.

9. Another Look at Record Home Owner Equity….One Reason Consumer Still Feels Good.

10. The Benefits of a Performance Culture (and How to Implement One)

By Jim Motavalli | August 2, 2022 | 


Nice people don’t always finish first. The more money at stake, the more cutthroat a business is likely to be. All the hedge fund managers in Greenwich, Connecticut, probably didn’t pay for their Ferraris by being nice to people.

But what works on Wall Street—at least some of the time—is probably not going to work on Main Street. And Kansas-based Advisors Excel built its business the old-fashioned way—with honesty and care not only for its clients, but its employees, too. By staying true to its values, Excel was selected for the top 100 Best Small and Medium Workplaces for Millennials list by Fortune in 2021.

Cody Foster is co-founder and owner of the company, which started nearly two decades ago with three employees and which now works with about 500 advisers, according to the company. Foster says he learned a few things after the company’s first eight years of growth. There are things he would do differently, he says, but his core values influenced the company’s culture then and now, and it’s fair to say Excel was built with the kind of integrity that sometimes eludes bigger companies (even if their ethics policies say otherwise).

“In any business, no matter what field they’re in, the competitor with the best value proposition is going to win,” Foster says. “We felt we had a good value proposition… Things began picking up pretty well, and it turned out that what we thought was missing from the marketplace really was missing.”

A major lesson learned at Excel in the early days is the virtue of hard work. It seems obvious, but Foster says it’s often overlooked as a priority, especially when a business is starting out. “When it was just the three of us, we worked really hard—sometimes 24 hours straight—and did everything ourselves,” he says. “If your life is on the line to a degree, it’s amazing what you can get done.

The company was launched on Feb. 1, 2005, only three days before Foster’s first child was born. Still, he kept his eyes on the prize—making Excel viable. “I put a lot of extra pressure on myself to make sure we could do it,” he says. “We were making a lot of cold calls, just pounding the phones, to try and convince people to work with us. That’s not necessarily the best approach to prospecting, but when our budget was limited we relied on it.”

Although that work ethic was a big virtue in building Excel, it turned out to be a deterrent as the company got bigger.

It’s a not-uncommon problem, sometimes called “founders’ syndrome.” Out of necessity, the original partners have to know and act decisively in every aspect of the business. But once they’ve added many new managers, they have to be ready to let go. “It’s great to be on top of everything going on in your organization,” Foster says, “but when you reach a certain size you can’t do that anymore.

“We could have done a better and quicker job of delegating, of trusting the people we had put in charge of certain areas. It’s hard to let go of things you’re used to doing all the time, but it was important to identify where our strengths and talents lie, and focus on getting the highest payoff,” he continued.

Missteps have been few for Excel, however. “We’ve had some failures along the way, but none of them have been colossal,” Foster says. “It’s a cliché to say you learn more from failures than anything else—I think you learn more from studying your successes.”

The company’s greatest success is in its values—primarily in having a performance culture. Even though it started small, Foster bristles at the notion that Advisors Excel is a “family” company, because it implies a lax working environment.

“It’s not a family culture; it’s a performance culture,” he says. “Working for us means having the most hectic workdays you’ll ever have. We don’t have room for people who don’t meet their goals, but that’s from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.—you work really hard while you’re here, but we want people to have balance in their lives. We know in the great scheme of things that there are a lot of things that are more important than this job.”

Ensuring that workers have a life might not be a concern at many financial institutions. But Foster, who was raised in a small farming community, believes in investing in people for the long haul. “Working 20 hours a day isn’t sustainable in the long term,” he says. “I love the business, love our company, love the people who work with us, but I also have other priorities in my life. I do want to win, don’t get me wrong—we’re all about winning—but not at all costs. We don’t see our employees as interchangeable—they’re a valuable part of what we do.”

Some might have scoffed that Excel wasn’t ready to swim with the sharks in a very cutthroat business. The company’s results spoke for themselves, however: Excel had $3.6 billion in annual production in 2012 (up $900 million over 2011) and partnered with 850 leaders in the insurance business. In 2020, according to a report by the company, the “advisors working with Advisors Excel did over $8.2 billion in annuity, Medicare and life insurance production.”

In return for the growth, Excel’s hardworking staffers earn their annual trip to Cancún or some other fun destination—if and only if the company hits its numbers. After all, Advisors Excel has a performance culture.

This article was published in April 2014 and has been updated. Photo by @ilonakozhevnikova/Twenty20