Category Archives: Quarterly

Topley’s Top 10 – April 12, 2022

1. U.S. Bonds Vs. Inflation

The Worst Quarter in Years for Bond Fund Investors Had Few Bright CornersBy Evie LiuFollow

2. Inflation Adjusted Yield on 10 Year Treasury Breaks thru 1975 and 1980 Lows

Remember all those charts on record negative yielding debt….$18T to $3T×309.png?itok=mWOTtlCx

3. Spread between 2 Year Treasury and S&P Dividend Yield is now the widest it has been in fourteen years since the Financial Crisis

Corporate Profits After Tax Hit Record

Bespoke Investment Group BABY’s Back-Since mid to late-2019 when interest rates really started to fall, the dividend yield on the S&P 500 consistently provided a higher yield than the two-year US Treasury.  With a higher payout plus the potential for price appreciation, equities looked more attractive to many investors. The period from the Financial Crisis through 2017 also saw a similar setup where the S&P 500’s dividend yield was higher than the yield on the 2-year, but before the Financial Crisis and the FOMC’s zero-interest-rate policy, it was extremely uncommon for the S&P 500 to yield more than the two-year Treasury.  This year has caused a tidal shift in the balance of power in yield between the S&P 500 and the two-year Treasury.  As the Fed came to the conclusion that inflation wasn’t as transitory as originally thought and found itself behind the inflation curve, it shifted from a much more accommodative stance to one that was more biased towards tightening, and that shift resulted in one of the most rapid increases in two-year Treasury yields in decades.  In the process of this spike in rates, back in February, the yield on the two-year rose back above the dividend yield of the S&P 500 for the first time since 2019.

As Treasury yields have continued to spike, the premium in yield of two-year Treasuries relative to the dividend yield of the S&P 500 reached an important milestone last Friday (4/8).  As shown in the chart below, the spread between their yields widened out to 110 basis points (bps), taking out the high of 108 bps from 2018.  At these levels, the spread between the two is now the widest it has been in fourteen years since the Financial Crisis.  It started with long-term Treasury yields, but as the overall trend in rates has been higher, most of the Treasury yield curve is now yielding more than the S&P 500.  For years now, investors have had a TINA (There Is No Alternative) relationship with the stock market, but as interest rates have shot higher, TINA is taking a backseat to BABY (Bonds Are Better Yielders).

4. High Yield ETF-After Sell Off Back to Yielding 5%

5. Long-Term Chart of Pro Shares Short 20 Year Treasury …..Big Rally but it was at $52 Post GFC

6. The U.S. Attracted Chinese IPOs by Offering Insiders More Favorable Rules than U.S. Based Management

WSJ-Executives and other major shareholders at American companies have to disclose their trades within two days in a filing that is posted on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website and freely available to investors. That may deter bad behavior: Nobody wants the investor or media scrutiny that comes along with share sales that may, in retrospect, appear perfectly timed, the researchers say.

\But in the early 1990s, in part to entice foreign companies to list on U.S. exchanges, regulators exempted their executives and major shareholders from that rule. Instead, their trades are reported on paper forms and mailed to the SEC’s headquarters in Washington, where they are stored in filing cabinets for three months—technically available to curious investors with time on their hands, but effectively shielded from view.

By Liz HoffmanFollow andTom McGintyFollow,academic%20analysis%20of%20securities%20filings.

7. Tech Insider Selling 2021

8. Stock Splits Add Very Little but Performance has been Impressive Post Event

Stock Splits Actually Work—Just Not for the Reason Everyone ThinksBy Nicholas JasinskiFollow

9. Food Inflation

Chartr-Global food prices have just hit a new high, as the food price index from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization rose 12.6% in a single month to notch its highest ever recorded level.

Food prices were rising before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the disruption has only compounded the problem as both countries are a key source of supply in a number of food markets. Between them Russia and Ukraine account for around 30% of global wheat exports, and 20% of global maize, while Ukraine is also the world’s biggest supplier of sunflower seed oil.

All told the supply disruptions have meant the sharpest rises in global cereal and cooking oil prices, with both indices rising 17% and 23% respectively in the last month. The price rises are expected to hit poorest countries hardest, where food makes up a larger proportion of individual spending.

10. 30% of Workers Hitting Peak Hours at 10pm vs. 9am

The Atlantic-Apparently Last week, Microsoft published a study that offers an eerie reflection of my working life. Traditionally, the researchers said, white-collar workers—or “knowledge workers,” in the modern parlance—have had two productivity peaks in their workday: just before lunch and just after lunch. But since the pandemic, a third and smaller bump of work has emerged in the late evening. Microsoft’s researchers refer to this phenomenon as the “triple peak day.”

A new study shows some workers experience a third productivity peak late in the evening (Microsoft)

For the new study, workers allowed Microsoft to track their “keyboard events”—a funny euphemism for sending emails or engaging with productivity applications on a work computer. While most people didn’t show a third mountain of work in the evening, 30 percent did. They were working almost as much at 10 p.m. as they were at 8 a.m.  This Is What Happens When There Are Too Many Meetings-Why a 9-to-10 is the new 9-to-5 By Derek Thompson

Topley’s Top 10 – April 11, 2022

1. Corporate Profits After Tax Hit Record


Philip Van Dorn Marketwatch

2. First Quarter ETF Winners and Losers

3. Natural Gas About to Break Out of a 15 Year Sideways Box

4. 10 Year Real Yield Still Negative but Highest Since March 2020

5. Two Defensive Sectors Big Pharma and Utilities Start Outperforming Transports

When defensive sectors start outperforming economically linked sectors like transports, it can sometimes point to a slowdown.  This chart show PPH Big Pharma ETF vs. Dow Transports.

Another defensive sector Utilities outperforming Dow Transports

6. Vanguard Consumer Spending ETF VCR…50 day thru 200 day to downside…

VCR-bounced back to 200 day and reversed back down….This will be tell on how inflation affecting consumers.

7. Small Cap Tech vs. S&P

Callum ThomasBig Trouble in Small Tech:  Seems small cap tech stocks are struggling to keep up. For that matter, small caps in general have been a picture of weakness, and tech still seems vulnerable. I would call this breakdown here a red flag.

Source:  @adaptiv

8. Top 10 Stocks by Market Cap Make Up 25% of the Entire U.S. Market

Steve Blumenthal CMG Wealth How About the Top 10 Stocks?-The top ten stocks make up 31.4% of the value of the S&P 500 Index, 25% of the entire U.S. stock market, and ~ 14% of the entire value of the global stock market.

Rhymes, indeed.

9. China 1980 vs. 2020….See Urbanization.

Capital Group 40 years of explosive growth

Sources: Capital Group, CEIC Data, IMF, The World Bank. *Data for number of private enterprises as of 1988 and 2018. RMB represent Chinese renminbi.

China’s manufacturing engine climbs the value chain

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

10. You Are Perfectly Suited To Be Yourself

I don’t know if you have noticed, but most of our dilemmas begin with some type of ignorance or deception. Have you ever been told that if you set your mind to it you could achieve anything? That’s a lie. For a long time, I believed it. This is the lie that creates the great psychological fault line in the development of young men and women in our society. And once the fault line is there, it’s only a matter of time before the earthquake. Looking back on my childhood, I have identified one consistent and repetitive untruth that I was told. My brothers were misled in the same way, as were my friends.


The people who told us this lie thought they were helping us. They wanted only to encourage us. On the surface, it seemed like the good and noble thing to do, but the damage that was being done was below the surface. The lie has several versions: “You can do anything you set your mind to” and “You can be whatever you want to be as long as you work harder than anyone else” and “You can have anything if you want it bad enough.”


At first I was young, and young people tend to believe people who are older and have some kind of authority over them—parents, teachers, coaches, older brothers and sisters, even babysitters. So at first I believed the lie. I set my mind to things and failed. I wanted things badly and failed.


And with these failures came feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing, feelings that as a young man I was too proud to talk to anyone about, so I could only bounce them around inside myself without any hope of figuring them out. In the years since, I have seen this same phenomenon in my brothers and friends, and now I see it in the young people I work with in high schools and colleges. They apply themselves with all the strength of their will and the focus of desire, and they come up short.


Self-doubt begins to plague them. They review the steps they took. They seem sure that they “set their mind to it” as they had been encouraged to do. They did the best they could, but still they failed. They followed those golden maxims set out for them by their teachers, parents, coaches, mentors, professors, and employers… and still they fell short. Sometimes we fail at things because we are simply not well suited to them. But we are seldom told such things when we are young, and our minds are like sponges. People keep telling us that we can do anything if we set our minds to it. These maxims are so absolute and so often reinforced that when we follow them and fail, we are left with only one conclusion: There must be something wrong with me. Here begins the great wrestle with self-doubt, insecurity, inadequacy, and self-loathing. Many of us struggle with these feelings our whole lives, consciously or subconsciously. Most of us struggle with them semiconsciously. We know that they are there, that they are affecting us, but we don’t know what to do with them or about them. These feelings affect our relationships, the way we progress professionally, the way we manage our time, the way we plan for the future, and the way we dream or don’t dream. If the lie is that you can do anything you set your mind to, then what is the truth? Some would say cynically, “You can’t do anything you set your mind to.” But they too would be wrong. The truth is this: We are capable of extraordinary things, but each of us is different. Our unique abilities make us better suited for some things than for others. What does that mean to you? It means that you can’t do any- thing you set your mind to and that that doesn’t make you bad or deficient—just human. It is finding the things that you are better suited for that is one of the great adventures of this life and the source of a great deal of happiness. You cannot do anything you set your mind to. If you are four feet tall, you are not well suited to become the next legendary basketball player. But you are still perfectly suited to be yourself. The real question is this: What are you well suited to achieve and become? Matthew Kelly From Perfectly Yourself Click Here to get your copy

Topley’s Top 10 – April 07, 2022

1. Global Bonds Slump to a Discount for First Time Since 2008

Finbarr Flynn

(Bloomberg) — A gauge of global bonds dropped below a key fixed-income watermark after Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard signaled a quicker-than-expected rundown of the central bank’s debt holdings.

The Bloomberg Global Aggregate Index fell below a measure of so-called par value Tuesday, with its price falling to 99.9 — under the key 100 level at which bonds are often sold to investors. It’s the first time since 2008 that the gauge has traded at a discount to face value.

Global investors have fled the bond market this year, as skyrocketing inflation forced many central banks to accelerate plans for rate hikes to try and cap rising prices. The index — which contains government and corporate debt — has fallen 7.4% so far this year — a drop in market value of some $4.6 trillion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brainard called the task of reducing inflation pressures “paramount” and said the Fed will raise interest rates steadily while starting balance sheet reduction as soon as next month.

Stock, Credit Markets Too Calm Ahead of Fed QT, Funds Say

Treasuries extended a slump Wednesday, pushing the benchmark 10-year yield past 2.6% to the highest since 2019.

2. U.S. Stock Buybacks Drop to Lowest in 5 Years

From Dave Lutz at Jones Trading-U.S. stock buybacks dropped to the lowest in five years in the first quarter, providing evidence of a reversal in the multi-decade bullish trend for equities, according to BofA – While buybacks typically slow at the end of each quarter ahead of the earnings season, spending by S&P 500 firms on share repurchases as a percentage of market capitalization fell to its lowest since the first quarter of 2017

3. U.S. vs. Rest of World…Valuation Spread Historical Event

This is the U.S. divided by the rest of the world …2 std. deviation event…Double 1999 bubble.

Courtesy of Animal Spirits Podcast

4. U.S. Households Net Worth Relative to Consumption Straight Up…Cushion for Recession Watch.

For now, strong household balance sheets are expected to be a tailwind for spending.

Source: Gavekal Research

The Daily Shot

5. Crude Pulls Back Toward Major Support

6. Chinese Executives Sell at the Right Time, Avoiding Billions in Losses

WSJ–Consider a trade in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA -2.99% stock in 2020. In October of that year, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, Ant Group Co., was preparing for its initial public offering, a move that would have likely increased the value of Alibaba’s one-third stake.

Then Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, criticized Chinese regulators in a speech that infuriated government leaders, who scuttled the listing. Alibaba shares fell 8% on the New York Stock Exchange the day the announcement was made, Nov. 3, 2020.

Chinese tech stocks popular among U.S. investors have tumbled amid the country’s regulatory crackdown on technology firms. WSJ explains some of the new risks investors face when buying shares of companies like Didi or Tencent. Photo Composite: Michelle Inez Simon

The day before that announcement, an entity controlled by an Alibaba insider sold $150 million of Alibaba stock, according to filings. It isn’t known exactly who controls the entity, Sky Scraper Enterprises Ltd., but whoever it is was one of the company’s best-paid executives in recent years and had been granted huge swaths of stock as compensation, the Financial Times previously reported. The sale avoided hundreds of millions of dollars of losses when the stock dropped on news of the scuttled IPO.

The filing said the trade was made under a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan that was adopted two months earlier. Such plans are supposed to be adopted when an insider doesn’t have nonpublic information that might affect the stock price, and executives can’t direct stock sales after it is in place. A spokeswoman for Alibaba said the company’s plans require a period of up to 60 days before trading can begin.

How’s That October 2020 Insider Sale Look…Top tick $300

Chinese Executives Sell at the Right Time, Avoiding Billions in Losses – By Liz HoffmanFollowTom McGintyFollow

7. Volatility Index Non-Event Around Fed Speak

8. Carnival records busiest week in company history

Ihsaan FanusieCarnival Cruise Line (CCL) recorded its biggest booking week in company history last week as demand for luxury cruises continues to skyrocket.

The company announced that 22 of its 23 ships are back in operation now after many of the ships were out of operation following the pandemic. With covid hospitalizations decreasing and the 7-day moving average for new cases on the decline in the US, consumers feel more comfortable embarking on cruises.

“So where we are right now is in almost a transition period where it continues to come down,” Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci told Yahoo Finance Live last week. “The CDC has pulled back on some of the recommendations for indoor masking. And yet, in the next week or two, we will see soon whether we are going to see an increase.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidelines for cruise travel on March 30, removing the “Cruise Ship Travel Health Notice” that it has uploaded on its website following a spread of COVID-19 variants across the world. Back in January, the CDC had given cruise ships a Level 4 warning, the highest level possible.

Carnival wasn’t the only cruise line to record significant bookings increases. Virgin Voyages, the cruise line operating under the parent conglomerate Virgin Group, also experienced higher demand after the CDC announcement.

“There’s incredible pent-up demand,” McAlpin, the president as well as chief executive of Richard Branson’s cruise line, told Yahoo Finance in an interview. “We are starting to see it. Bookings are up significantly, 125% over just January levels. Last week, we had a record booking week and we are gonna surpass that this week.”

Ihsaan Fanusie is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @IFanusie.

9. The Richest People in the World.


10. To Be a More Decisive, Persuasive, and Effective Boss, Science Says First Take a Look at the Clock

Research shows sleep affects leadership decision making, engagement, and behavior. Here’s why you should get a good night’s rest — and what to do when you haven’t gotten enough.


Even though he was our boss, for the first two hours of each day we only glimpsed Rudy from a distance when he shuffled back and forth from his office to the break room coffee machine. If we called him — even if we paged him — he wouldn’t answer.

By around 10 a.m., he was a different person. Upbeat. Encouraging. Chatty. Eager to solve job scheduling or materials bottlenecks that could affect our productivity.

Then, by late afternoon, he became yet another person. Instead of chatting, he barked orders. Instead of solving actual problems, he yelled about nonexistent ones. Whether we needed his help or not, we did our best to avoid him.

Hold that thought.

It’s easy to assume that some people are good leaders and others are not. But the reality is more nuanced. Sometimes you’re a great leader. You’re empathetic. Insightful. Collaborative. Decisive.

Other times, you’re less effective.

Why? According to research, sleep plays a major role in your effectiveness. A 2015 study published in Academy of Management found that bosses who don’t get a good night’s sleep are less likely to make good decisions the next day. So, for example, less likely to foster engagement and collaboration with, and among, their teams the next day.

And they are also more likely to be abusive (which the researchers define as “hostile verbal and nonverbal behavior”) towards their employees the next day.

As the researchers write:

Emerging evidence suggests that leaders might be more (or less) abusive on some days than on others…abusive supervisory behavior varied more within supervisors than it did between supervisors.

Why does sleep deprivation have such an impact on leadership performance? For one thing, tired people tend to make poorer decisions

But the researchers speculate the real culprit is ego depletion: Since self-control draws on a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up, when your energy is low, so is your self-control. Which means you’re less likely to have the inner “oomph” required to be the kind of leader you want to be.

Which makes you less patient. Less tolerant. Less collaborative. More likely to make snap decisions — and to snap at people, even if your version of “snapping” is only a nonverbal eye roll.

Rudy? He was chronically sleep-deprived. He needed four cups of coffee and a couple hours of quiet time to face the day, and us. But by the afternoon, no amount of coffee — or “I really want to be a good leader” willpower — could overcome his fatigue.

The solution, of course, is to always get a good night’s sleep.

But like most solutions, that isn’t always possible. So what should you do when you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep? According to the researchers, don’t just try to power through.

Instead, adapt to the fact — and it is a fact — that lower levels of physical and mental energy can impact your leadership performance. If you can, put off major decisions. Force yourself to take a beat and think — instead of just reacting — before making smaller decisions. Recognize that fatigue naturally decreases your tolerance for frustration, and save potentially difficult or confrontational conversations with employees — if the issue or problem can be put off — for the next day.

And don’t answer emails that require deep thought, or nuance, or fine judgment late at night. Save them for the next morning when you’re fresh.

The key is to remember that no one is able, no matter how hard they may try, to always be the exceptional leader they aspire to be — especially when they’re tired.

So do your best to ensure you are at your best.

And when you’re not, to adjust accordingly.


Topley’s Top 10 – April 04, 2022

1. High Yield Stock Index Trading at Discount

Barrons-Start with common dividends. Five years ago, the S&P 500 index traded at 18 times forward earnings, and the index’s high-yield stocks went for about the same price. Now, investors can pay 20 times this year’s earnings for the S&P index, or 13 times for its high-yielders. One fund that tracks them is the SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 High Dividend exchange-traded fund (SPYD). It yields 3.8%.

2. Price to Book Valuations Vs. Historical

Top Down Charts Blog-Price to Book Valuations: S&P 500 price to book ratios still at eye watering levels.

Correction barely put a dent in valuations: Upper Quartile of industries are trading at price to book ratios *higher* than that seen during the dot com bubble, and this is despite a (minor) reset. Even the Lower Quartile is at the upper end of the range, and last but not least: the Median is well above that ever seen in recent history.

Source: Chart of the Week – Vertiginous Valuations

3. JP Morgan Valuation Update March 31

4. Lithium Prices +441% in One Year

The February reading for the lithium price index, which is tied to the global weighted average price for lithium carbonate and hydroxide—two primary lithium chemicals—stood at 869.2, up 88% so far this year, and up by a whopping 441% from the same time a year ago, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. By Myra P. Saefong

5. Intermediete Term Momentum Positive…Nasdaq Had 10% Rally in 10 Trading Sessions

Bloomberg-Last week, 80% of the roughly 2,000 constituents of the NYSE Composite Index — which spans all common stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange — traded above their 20-day averages. That’s happened 56 times in the last decade, and over the subsequent 100 days after these occurrences, the gauge climbed an average 6%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 index is also flashing some positive signals. In mid-March, it rallied more than 10% over four trading sessions. Four-day gains of at least 10% are rare, occurring 12 times in the last two decades, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Over the subsequent 100 days, the index returned an average of 8%.

Tech Jump

6. Bitcoin Now Outperforming S&P YTD

Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin is outperforming the S&P 500 so far this year but has lagged gold.

Although, altcoins outperformed bitcoin in March, indicating a stronger appetite for risk among crypto traders.

From The Daily Shot Blog

7. Rise in Average Monthly Mortgage Payments

NYT- In February, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the median monthly payment on a new mortgage application in America jumped more than 8 percent in just one month. That spike points to an entirely new and unpredictable phase in what has been a jaw-dropping housing market.

By Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui

8. Inflation Huge Negative for Consumer Sentiment

Found at Zerohedge

9. U.S. Military Spending vs Other Top Countries

Source: Visual Capitalist

From Barry Ritholtz Blog

10. 10 Lessons from Great Businesses

After publishing over half a million words on some of the world’s most innovative businesses, these are the 10 lessons I come back to again and again. You’ll find tactics from Stripe, FTX, Tiger Global, OpenSea, and other exceptional organizations.

Actionable insights

If you only have a couple of minutes to spare, here are ten lessons from great businesses that investors, operators, and founders should know.

  1. Be a painfully persistent recruiter (Stripe)
  2. Maximize deep work time (Levels)
  3. Obsess over your customer (Coupang)
  4. Align the incentives (AngelList)
  5. Think like a nation-state (Terra)
  6. Invest in soft-power (FTX)
  7. Preserve optionality (OpenSea)
  8. Intensify your advantages (Tiger Global)
  9. Find your counter-positioning (Telegram)
  10. Proactively reinvent yourself (Many)

Topley’s Top 10 – March 31, 2022

1. Stocks Have Gained in April 15 of Past 16 Years

LPL Research

2. Emerging Markets Closed Below 200day Moving Average on Long-Term Weekly Chart

3. Chief Investment Officer Survey



4. Investment Grade Debt Biggest Dollar Decline Ever

Advisor Perspectives-The slump marked the biggest total return loss for high-grade bonds since Lehman Brothers’ collapse, and the worst junk performance since the start of the pandemic. The U.S. investment grade market alone saw about $440 billion in market value erased and is on track for the biggest three-month slump since 1980.

Global Corporate Bonds Lost $1 Trillion, and Risks Are Risingby Tasos Vossos, Hannah Benjamin, Jack Pitcher, 3/30/22

5. Yield Curve Inversions and SPX Returns

Posted on March 30, 2022 by Rob Hanna

There has been a lot of talk recently about yield curve inversions and whether that means a recession is on the way, and how soon? And if there is a recession, will there also be a bear market? I decided to forget about economic forecast and just look at how the SPX did after a curve inversion. I looked at both the 2yr/10yr and the 3mo/10yr combinations. For the study I used Norgate Data, and looked back as far as my database went, which was 1976 for the 2yr rate and 1981 for the 3mo. Results can be found below.

Note that 21 trading days is approximately 1 month. So 42 days is two months, 126 days is 6 months, 252 days is a year…you get it.

Not many instances to build out a case here. Some good and some bad numbers. More bullish than bearish. Overall, the initial inversion does not seem to be a great timing signal. Academics can argue and tv talking heads can blather about potential consequences, but traders should probably look to better timing devices to make their market judgements. I don’t see myself factoring this into any trading decisions.

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6. Two Week Short Squeeze?


7. Walmart Owns Most of Supermarkets in Mexico

VisualCapitalist-Mexico’s Relationship with Walmart-When it comes to supermarkets in Mexico, no single company comes close to matching the reach of Walmart. Also the world’s largest company by revenue, Walmart has over 2,700 stores in the country, including chains it owns such as Sam’s Club and Bodega Aurrera. The latter is both the largest supermarket within the Walmart category, and also the most popular in Mexico.

8. Fertilizer Prices Huge Rally but Only Back to Pre-Covid Levels


How Putin’s War Made These 3 Fertilizer Producers Hot Stocks-By Craig Mellow

9. U.S. population in multigenerational households quadrupled since 1971

Pew Research

For many, multigenerational living has practical reasons and emotional results

U.S. population in multigenerational households quadrupled since 1971 | Pew Research Center

10. Principles For Making the Right Decision