Category Archives: Quarterly

Topley’s Top 10 – October 06, 2021

1. Crude Oil Breakout.

Brent Crude Oil…50day thru 200day to upside on long-term weekly chart.

2. Investor Polls Favoring Energy and Financials.

RBC—What are Investors Favored Sectors Going into Next Year?

3. Nasdaq 100 -8% from Highs Before Rally Yesterday.

NDX broke thru 50day in blue.

4. Fund Managers Voting “Long Tech” as Most Crowded Trade

Dave Lutz at Jones Trading–40% of fund managers surveyed by BofA Global Research in September said buying U.S. technology stocks was the market’s most crowded trade, a designation tech stocks have received for three straight months.

Chart, waterfall chart Description automatically generated

5. NFT Sales Up 8x Quarter Over Quarter.

(Reuters) – Sales volumes of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) surged to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up more than eightfold from the previous quarter, according to data from market tracker DappRadar, as the frenzy for crypto assets reached new highs.

NFT sales surge to $10.7 bln in Q3 as crypto asset frenzy hits new highs–By Elizabeth Howcroft

6. No Panic From Volatility Measures.

VIX Volatility Index…Nowhere Near Panic Levels.

Put/Call Ratio …Sideways.

From Liz Ann Sonders  Schwab

7. FAANG Hit 24% Weight of S&P 500

Mega-Cap Tech ETF…-5% Correction…Closes below 50 day…..pulls back to July low

8. Manhattan Homebuyers Send Sales Soaring to Best in Three Decades

Oshrat Carmiel  8 hrs ago

(Bloomberg) — Manhattan apartment sales surged to a record in the third quarter as buyers grabbed what they could while inventory remains high. 

Closed purchases totaled 4,523, the most for any quarter in data going back to 1989, according to a report Tuesday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The median price of all properties that changed hands climbed 1.4% from a year earlier to $1.12 million.

Home shoppers who held back in Covid-19’s early days have returned in force, sensing a chance to secure a deal while the city is still recovering. Employers are gradually summoning workers back to the office as the recent rise in cases flattens and Broadway returns — small measures of confidence that it’s a good time to invest. 

“There’s more optimism and a sense of safety in the market,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. “And there’s a sense that Covid discounts are evaporating quickly. They’re not going to have a lot of life left in them.”

Manhattan Rising

Buyers moved fast: Homes that sold in the quarter spent an average of 152 days on the market, 10% less time than in the prior three months. 

And some were willing to enter bidding wars: The share of deals closing above the asking price was 8.3%, the highest in three years.

Read more: NYC’s Surging Real Estate Market Boosts Coffers With Tax Revenue

“People learned a decade ago that when you get a buying opportunity like this, you want to take advantage of it,” said Greg Heym, chief economist at brokerage Brown Harris Stevens, which released its own report on Manhattan home sales. 

The median price of resale apartments jumped 9% from a year earlier to a median of $999,250, Brown Harris said.

The deal surge helped whittle down Manhattan’s massive pile of listings from earlier in the pandemic. As of mid-September, there were 6,850 apartments for sale, 28% fewer than a year ago, according to a report by Corcoran Group. 

Still, inventory remained historically high — at 17% more than the decade average for a third quarter, according to Miller. 

“Buyers still have a significant amount of control over the transactions,” he said.

9. Pandora Papers Leading Countries.

Infographic: Where Politicans Are Named in The Pandora Papers | Statista

10. 6 Creative Ways to Solve a Problem

By Bryan Lindenberger | September 26, 2021 | 0

Creative problem-solving strategies separate forward-moving solutions from quick fixes. Truly an art, creative strategies address challenges by guiding you to see challenges in a whole new light. Can crisis equal opportunity? With these 6 creative ways to solve a problem, the answer is often a resounding yes.

1. Six Step Problem-Solving Model

Some problems seem overwhelming in their complexity. You don’t know where to begin. And this lack of direction can leave you running in circles.

The six step problem-solving model aids you by creating a structured, coherent approach to problem solving. In a sense, it gives you the opportunity to step back, take a breath, and approach the issue methodically.

The six steps of this method are:

  1. Define the problem.
  2. Define the root cause or causes of the problem.
  3. Develop possible solutions.
  4. Choose the best-seeming solution from the list.
  5. Implement the solution.
  6. Evaluate the outcome of the solution.

Although the steps are sequential, any one of them can be repeated. For instance, deep thought about Step 4 might lead you to realize that you defined the root causes of the problem in step 2 incorrectly. And evaluation of outcomes at the final stage may be negative, calling upon you to repeat the process. In this sense, the model functions as a sort of algorithm, with feedback loops at each stage.

2. Drill-Down Technique

Defining root causes of a problem is often the most difficult part of problem solving. You know that something is wrong. You see something isn’t working. But the causes remain vague or elusive. The drill-down technique helps you resolve this issue by breaking the problem down into progressively smaller pieces. More accurately, you define a large problem and “drill down” closer and closer to the root causes.

To use the drill-down technique, you will draw a simple table. On the left side you write down the problem you face. To the right, in the middle, you list possible causes of that problem. And even further to the right, you will list potential causes of each of the middle issues. Although it sounds complicated, a graphic example shows how easy it is:

Sales are Down

Store Inventory is Low

Supplier is Unreliable

Some Items Discontinued


Outside Sales Team
Below Goals

High Team Turnover


Low Team Morale


In this simple example, you’ve drilled down from one large problem to its core issues. Once you know root causes, solutions present themselves more easily. In this case, you may consider looking at a new, more reliable supplier that has items similar to ones that have been discontinued. At the same time, you may want to meet with the outside sales team to show you care about their challenges and help to address them.

3. Reverse Brainstorming

You likely have some familiarity with brainstorming techniques. That is, a gathering of interested parties to throw out spontaneous solutions to a problem without judgment. Often, a team leader facilitates the brainstorming session by writing the team’s ideas on a white board. With practice, you can brainstorm on your own, too.

But what is reverse brainstorming?

The process may appear the same to an outsider. The difference lies in the fact that you don’t try to find solutions to the problem. You’re looking for ways to make the problem worse

With reverse brainstorming, everyone offers how to decreasesales, increaseemployee turnover, raiseexpenses—bring us your worst. It may seem silly at first, but people will get quite focused and creative as the brainstorming period evolves. Once you have a satisfactory number of negative solutions, work on reversing them to uncover the realsolutions. The method is highly effective at finding new angles to solve problems.

4. Reverse Engineer—Work Backwards Problem Solving Strategy

While we’re in reverse, let’s look at the “work backwards problem solving strategy.” With origins in mathematics and engineering, it’s not for everyone. But you hardly need a mathematics degree to try it out. It requires mostly patience with yourself as you learn to “walk backward.”

We usually approach problems from a starting point of the present. Then, we define the consecutive steps required to reach our goal. But any particular step may lead us off the best, most efficient path. But sometimes, plans in action go completely astray when implemented. Backwards problem solving serves as a sort of check against this possibility.

With the work backwards strategy to problem solving, you start with your goal. Then you work backward: what was the final stage prior to reaching that goal? And what came before that? Step by step, you work backward to the situation as it currently exists. When you are finished, compare the stages to your more standard, forward plan. Where are they the same, and how do they differ?

5. Make the Problem Bigger (aka 10X Problem Solving or the Eisenhower Principle

The 10X Rule teaches you to reach for 10X the success. What if you attempted to solve problems by making them—or at least, imagining them to be—10X bigger?

Any organization faces a multitude of problems. Managers or entrepreneurs race to resolve one mini “crisis” after another. In this rushed state, it’s easy to lose perspective of the issues that are truly critical. But not all problems deserve the same amount of attention. One way to manage task prioritization is to imagine that each issue is 10 times bigger.

Suppose you manage an office staff of 10. Three issues arise. An employee is consistently 10 minutes late, a company computer has gone missing, and your administrative assistant neglected to schedule your important lunch meeting. Each issue needs to be resolved. And at an emotional level, the late employee gets under your skin in particular.

But imagine the problems as 10 times bigger, and you may prioritize differently. One missing computer seems easy to put off. But the entire office would grind to a standstill if 10 of them were missing. Your first move may be to call security to help resolve the issue, thenaddress your administrative assistant’s lack of focus. After all, 10 missed lunch meetings could be disastrous when one of them is with the CEO. The tardy employee can wait until the end of the day.

This process, famously used by General Eisenhower on the battlefield, allows you to take a step back and see issues more holistically. You develop a big picture to assist you in prioritization.

6. Don’t Just Step Back—Sleep on It

Each of the above creative problem-solving strategies uses an entirely different method. And yet, they all share one thing in common: they help you step back and re-assess the problem in a new way. But if you find yourself embroiled in a single, complex problem—the sort of thing that consumes your days and weeks—you may need to do more than simply step back. You might want to sleep on it.

We sometimes over-emphasize the benefits of “sticking with it.” We admire the person who works hard, stays up late, and gets up early to attack the problem again. But lack of sleep not only takes a toll on your health. It can also prevent your brain from doing what it is designed to do during rest. That is, process and correlate the information of the day in ways our waking minds may have missed.

Abundant research makes clear that a proper night’s sleep aids in problem solving. That time you woke up refreshed and a solution seemed clear? That wasn’t a unique occurrence. The process has been widely documented across cultures. Historically, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and others have resolved complex problems during sleep.

Yes, you might sometimes need to burn the midnight oil to catch up on routine tasks. Filing taxes, meeting payroll, and ordering inventory are valid reasons to miss a little sleep if they all hit at once. But for complex problem solving—and overall health and wellness—don’t deprive yourself of sleep for long periods. That night of quality sleep might provide unique, creative solutions your overworked conscious mind would have never imagined.

Photo by mavo/Shutterstock

Bryan Lindenberger


Bryan Lindenberger loves a challenge. He served as the first communications specialist for the Arrowhead Entrepreneurial Institute at the New Mexico State University business college with SBA funding. He has since worked in marketing, communications, and development for science, engineering, and business projects. His clients have included NASA, Disney, state education institutions, and multiple corporations and nonprofits. A former PC gamer, Bryan enjoys hiking, amateur photography, and delving into history books.

Topley’s Top 10 – October 5, 2021

1.The Correlation Between Stocks and Bonds Most Elevated Since 2013

Equities: The correlation between stocks and bonds remains elevated (nowhere to hide).

Source: The Daily Post

2.Add Up Net Outflows from Mutual Funds vs. Net Inflows from ETFs……Equities have Negative Flows 2020-2021

Little thing out today on how the equity ETF flow-a-thon gets a little less dramatic as a sentiment indicator when context provided, namely the $304b out of equity MFs and the $415b net outflows in 2020. Add it up and equity fund flows over past 20mo are negative $240b.


3.Record Amount of ETF Launches….59% of New ETFS are Actively Managed.

ETF.COM This year has been just as dizzying, but in a different way. At the quarter’s close, we had a total of 332 launches, breaking 2021’s record-setting number in just nine months. Since that number averages out to roughly 110 launches per quarter, we could easily see 400 launches by the end of the year.

A lot of those launches have come from the active side of things. Consider that in 2018, before the ETF Rule and when defined outcome ETFs were just getting started, there were 67 active launches. That’s out of a total of 267 launches for the whole year. That represents a quarter of all launches in 2018.

Now consider that out of the 332 launches in the first three quarters of 2021, there were 197 active ETFs in the mix, or 59% of all launches year-to-date. That’s a huge difference in just a few years. And it shows that the shape of the ETF industry is changing before our eyes.

ETFs Up The Ante Again In 2021-Heather Bell

4.Onshore Chinese Investors Calm During Evergrande Collapse

5.China Ring Fencing Evergrande.

Bloomberg -Beijing nudges banks to ease credit, support real estate firms

-Moves show China will put homebuyers ahead of bond creditors

The moves underscore that China will do everything it can to ring-fence Evergrande, while showing little interest in a direct bailout of the developer that has roiled global markets for weeks. That doesn’t bode well for bondholders — both onshore and abroad — looking for some kind of rescue from the Chinese government.

“The first obligation is going to make sure that homeowners who bought those homes take delivery and are made whole,” said Marathon Asset Management Chief Executive Officer Bruce Richards, who started buying Evergrande debt last week. “At the very end of the pecking order are offshore bondholders.”

Asia High Yield Index Not Collapsing

China Real Estate Index 5 Year Chart—No Collapse

China Steps Up Efforts to Ring-Fence Evergrande, Not Save It

6.Clear Picture of Chinese Worker Demographic Cliff…Inflationary?

Annual Change in China Working Age Population, Aged 20-59

From Liz Ann Sonders Schwab

7.S&P -4.6% September vs. Commodities Up

Charlie Bilello-Hot Commodities–While US equities had their worst month of the year in September (S&P 500: -4.8%), Commodities continued their steady advance. In an interesting change of leadership, Commodities have bested equities over the past 18 months. The last time that happened was back in 2011.

The CRB Index ended the week at a 6-year high, up 128% from the lows last April.

Cotton is the latest commodity to spike, surging to levels we haven’t seen in over 10 years. This will likely mean higher prices to come for clothing.

8.Seasonality….There has been Crashes in October…But Overall the Month is Positive for Stocks.

Keep in mind these are average numbers…no adjustment from valuation standpoint.

LPL Research

9.Mid-Term Elections One Year Away

Capital Group-Midterm elections will produce a divided Congress–All these momentous events are happening against a backdrop of what could be one of the more consequential midterm elections in U.S. history. Make no mistake, every move in Washington right now is being carefully calculated with the midterms in mind. While the election is still more than a year away — and that’s a lifetime in politics — history suggests we will see a backlash against the party in power that will result in Republicans taking back control of the House and potentially the Senate.

Democrats are certainly worried about this outcome, which is why they feel the urgent need to pass their ambitious agenda now. Assuming history repeats itself, Republican control of the House or the Senate will end the affirmative phase of Joe Biden’s presidency and the Democratic Party’s lofty legislative ambitions.

10.Tasks or initiatives?

Seth’s Blog

For the longest time, just about all jobs were task jobs.

Factory work.

Inbox then outbox.

The assembly line, the ticket taker, the cook…

We learned how to hire for these jobs, measure them, manage the work to be done. Over time, we’ve figured out how to outsource them, mechanize them and pay as little as possible for them.

But in many pockets of our economy, the new jobs and the best jobs aren’t task jobs. They are jobs of initiative. Work that’s taken, not simply assigned. Work that can’t be easily forecast, and work that thrives with a different sort of teamwork.

These jobs often have a lot of task work mixed in, which is really confusing for everyone involved. Because reverting to task work feels safe and hiring for task work is easier. Apparently, people are supposed to learn how to do initiative work on their own and do it in their spare time.

Most organizations do an astonishingly bad job at creating, initiating and dancing with the next thing. And so they struggle and eventually become Yahoo.

First step: announce what the jobs around here are like. Hire for them and measure and reward appropriately.

Found at Abnormal Returns