Topley’s Top 10 – June 14, 2022

1. Since Covid Lows, Gas Prices Have Tripled….Since Jan 2021 +122%

Bespoke Investment Group-Every week, we show numerous charts to illustrate key trends in the market and economy in order to try and make sense of whatever is going on in the market. These days, though, only one chart matters—prices at the pump. Heading into this weekend, the national average price of a gallon of gas approached $5, a level it will almost certainly breach over the weekend. Not only are prices at a record high, but the pace of increase has been unprecedented. Since the COVID lows, the national average price has nearly tripled. Since the start of 2021, prices are up 122%, and this year prices are up 52% in less than six months. For just about every issue facing the market these days, gas prices are in some way related to it.

2. Nasdaq Comp…200 Week Moving Average Major Support

3. Two Charts from Cullen Roche on the How Fast the Fed Changed Markets…Home Purchase Applications


4. High Yield Bond Issuance Implodes.

Cullen Roche Funds

5. Another Look at the End of Retail Investors Playing the Options Market…The Fed Popped Speculative Bubble in Options

 -70% Reduction in Call Options….I would guess 99% of retail investors lost money trading in options

6. China Total Bank Assets Double the U.S.

From Zerohedge

7. Crypto Winter for Retail ETFs

BITO -60% from highs

ETHE -78%

8. This Chart is Comparing XLE Energy ETF to SPDR Clean Energy ETF

9. Global Retail Stocks Down More than Technology Sector

If You Thought the Tech Rout Was Bad, Spare a Dime for Retailers

(Bloomberg) — For all that the slump in technology stocks has headlined a treacherous year for global equity markets, there’s one sector that’s faring even worse.

The MSCI World Retailing Index, which includes the likes of Target Corp., Zalando SE and Inc., is on track for its first negative year since 2008. The gauge was down about 29% in 2022 through Thursday, surpassing even the 24% decline of the MSCI World Information Technology Index.

The same inflation worries that have sent shivers through tech stocks are also taking a toll on retailers, leading to a squeeze on disposable incomes and pushing up costs of everything from transportation to labor. Warnings from behemoths like Walmart Inc. and Target have shaken investors, and many analysts say they may not be the last.

Thyagaraju Adinarayan, Lisa Pham and Janet Freund

10. How Anxiety Gets Out of Control

David H. Rosmarin Ph.D., 
In a culture obsessed with control, feeling peace all the time is not realistic.
  • Our culture is obsessed with control and security and expects to feel peace and happiness all the time, which is not realistic.
  • When we perceive our initial physical sensations of anxiety as a reason for concern, our apprehension triggers adrenaline to release.
  • Our need to get rid of anxiety increases our symptoms.
  • Accepting that anxiety is normal and not inherently dangerous could stop it from spiraling out of control.

Jim is stuck in a cycle. He’s an athletic man in his 40s who works as an EMT, and he is prone to panic attacks. When panic strikes, Jim’s heart palpitates, his throat closes up, and he thinks, Oh no, I’m having a heart attack! or Oh no, I’m going to end up with super-high levels of anxiety and I’m not going to be able to tolerate it!

When Amelia describes her onrush of anxiety, she says it feels like a hurricane that gradually mounts in intensity. It starts with the stormy winds of anxious feelings, and these are quickly followed by a torrent of guilt and shame. “I judge myself for feeling anxious,” she says to me. “I get concerned that I have a disease, that I’m not strong enough and I won’t be able to handle life.”

In both of these cases—and countless others—there are actually two types of anxiety happening.

The First Type of Anxiety

The first is the initial experience of anxiety, such as Jim’s heart palpitations and Amelia’s anxious feelings. These are uncomfortable, but completely innocuous. That’s right—there is nothing problematic, dangerous, or harmful in any way with having some anxious thoughts, feelings, or sensations. In fact, the physical sensations associated with this form of anxiety are meant to be unpleasant, in order to keep us alert and aware.

The Second Type of Anxiety

The second type of anxiety involves how people respond to the first. In Jim’s case, he catastrophizes and thinks the worst. As for Amelia, she gets caught in a pattern of judgment and self-criticism. It’s this second form of anxiety that gets people into trouble.

When we perceive our initial (unpleasant but harmless) physical sensations of anxiety as a reason for concern, our apprehension triggers adrenaline to release into the bloodstream. This causes our anxiety to cascade further, which typically begets more catastrophizing and self-criticism. A vicious cycle results, and, voila—anxiety gets out of control.

The critical factor that begets and perpetuates this cycle is seeing anxiety as something we shouldn’t have. Our need to get rid of anxiety increases our symptoms. For some, it’s more like an avalanche than a hurricane, as the initial shock of recognition shakes loose layers of mental and emotional debris until the person fears being suffocated.

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The above raises a question: If the initial experience of anxiety isn’t inherently dangerous, but merely uncomfortable, why does it make us so afraid?

The Desire for Control and Security

The most compelling explanation I’ve found for this paradox is that our culture is obsessed with control. Today, we have predictions for everything, from financial markets, political elections, and flu epidemics to professional sports outcomes and the weather. And despite the fact that such predictions are notoriously incorrect—often by a wide margin—we scrutinize them as the soothsayers of ancient Rome once examined the entrails of sacrificial animals.

Along these lines, we medicalize normal mood states. What was once considered standard levels of stress in decades past is a reason for a Xanax prescription today. We expect our emotions to be totally even-keeled—we want to feel equanimity and peace and happiness all the time. As a result, we cannot handle the discomfort or perceived danger of feeling anxious and unmoored. Our inability to accept a full range of normal human emotion (including the first type of anxiety) leads our distress to intensify (the second type of anxiety).

We do all of this because our culture cannot tolerate uncertainty. We would prefer to predict the future and be completely wrong than to admit we have no clue what’s going to happen!

We are also obsessed with security. In the context of our society’s unparalleled and unprecedented affluence, we have become accustomed to a false sense of safety. When moments of threat penetrate the veil, we are thrust into panic.

Ironically, individuals who live in the third world are at an advantage when it comes to anxiety because they are less likely to expect safety or security. As such, when reality hits, it is simply understood and accepted as a part of life. Perhaps it’s for this reason that anxiety is higher in the United States than in all other nations on earth,1 and wealthier nations are substantially worse off than those with fewer resources.2

How do we stop our anxiety from getting out of control? We need to internalize that the initial experience of anxiety itself is not a problem. Nothing is wrong with you for being tense, anxious, or afraid. Anxiety is nothing to fear! In fact, the initial experience of anxiety is actually positive, since it keeps us alert, aware, and safe. Once we realize this basic concept, we never need to catastrophize about anxious feelings or judge ourselves for feeling anxious, and our anxiety is less likely to get out of control.

Topley’s Top 10 – June 13, 2022

1. More 1% Days Including 5 in June Already….Highest 1% Days in SPX Since Covid and GFC

Nasdaq Dorsey Wright Last month, we touched on how our SPX volatility study had seen about half the trading days throughout 2022 show an extreme move. Even though the S&P 500 was about flat over the month of May, we saw another 10 trading days show a gain or loss of at least 1%, which is about double the historical average for that month. We have already seen 5 such days in the month of June (through 6/9). This continues the theme from April, as we have seen 51% of the trading days so far this year show an extreme move. That brings us up to 57 trading days with the sharp declines seen on Friday, which is the third-highest count in the first half of any year since 1987. The only two years to show a higher count were 2020 with 68 and 2009 with 74. The second half of both those years saw a fewer number of extreme days, however, the 2H count was still above the average of 33 days per half in each case.

2. History of Recession Returns Starting 6 Months Prior

Ben Carlson–Here is a look at every recession since WWII along with S&P 500 returns in the 6 months leading up to the recession, during the actual recession itself and then one, three, five years and ten years from the end of the recession:

Timing a Recession vs. Timing the Stock Market

3. These 19 large-cap stocks have now dropped at least 60% from their 52-week highs

Marketwatch–By Philip van Doorn

4. Crude Oil Hits Highs….Energy Volatility Rolling Over Going Lower

Oil Volatility Index rolling over toward 2022 lows

5. The Last 8x S&P was Down in Calendar Year Bonds were Up.

@Charlie BilelloThe last 8 times the S&P 500 was down in a calendar year, Bonds finished the year up, cushioning the blow. Very different story thus far in 2022 with Stocks and Bonds both down over 10%, something we’ve never seen. 60/40 is down 14.8%, on pace for its worst year since 2008.

6. I was Surprised by this Chart….Stock Splits Data

From Gary Black

7. Durable Goods Prices Decelerate- LPL Research

8. Retail Inventories Soaring

But, sales to the US will likely slow amid ample inventories and slowing demand.

Source: BCA Research

9. Where Salaries are Soaring

10. Oliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life

After more than a decade of writing life-changing advice, I know when to move on. Here’s what else I learned

Oliver Burkeman


Found at Barry Ritholtz Big Picture blog

In the very first instalment of my column for the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, a dizzying number of years ago now, I wrote that it would continue until I had discovered the secret of human happiness, whereupon it would cease. Typically for me, back then, this was a case of facetiousness disguising earnestness. Obviously, I never expected to find the secret, but on some level I must have known there were questions I needed to confront – about anxiety, commitment-phobia in relationships, control-freakery and building a meaningful life. Writing a column provided the perfect cover for such otherwise embarrassing fare.

I hoped I’d help others too, of course, but I was totally unprepared for how companionable the journey would feel: while I’ve occasionally received requests for help with people’s personal problems, my inbox has mainly been filled with ideas, life stories, quotations and book recommendations from readers often far wiser than me. (Some of you would have been within your rights to charge a standard therapist’s fee.) For all that: thank you.

I am drawing a line today not because I have uncovered all the answers, but because I have a powerful hunch that the moment is right to do so. If nothing else, I hope I’ve acquired sufficient self-knowledge to know when it’s time to move on. So what did I learn? What follows isn’t intended as an exhaustive summary. But these are the principles that surfaced again and again, and that now seem to me most useful for navigating times as baffling and stress-inducing as ours.

There will always be too much to do – and this realisation is liberating. Today more than ever, there’s just no reason to assume any fit between the demands on your time – all the things you would like to do, or feel you ought to do – and the amount of time available. Thanks to capitalism, technology and human ambition, these demands keep increasing, while your capacities remain largely fixed. It follows that the attempt to “get on top of everything” is doomed. (Indeed, it’s worse than that – the more tasks you get done, the more you’ll generate.)

The upside is that you needn’t berate yourself for failing to do it all, since doing it all is structurally impossible. The only viable solution is to make a shift: from a life spent trying not to neglect anything, to one spent proactively and consciously choosing what to neglect, in favour of what matters most.
When stumped by a life choice, choose “enlargement” over happiness. I’m indebted to the Jungian therapist James Hollis for the insight that major personal decisions should be made not by asking, “Will this make me happy?”, but “Will this choice enlarge me or diminish me?” We’re terrible at predicting what will make us happy: the question swiftly gets bogged down in our narrow preferences for security and control. But the enlargement question elicits a deeper, intuitive response. You tend to just know whether, say, leaving or remaining in a relationship or a job, though it might bring short-term comfort, would mean cheating yourself of growth. (Relatedly, don’t worry about burning bridges: irreversible decisions tend to be more satisfying, because now there’s only one direction to travel – forward into whatever choice you made.)
The capacity to tolerate minor discomfort is a superpower. It’s shocking to realise how readily we set aside even our greatest ambitions in life, merely to avoid easily tolerable levels of unpleasantness. You already know it won’t kill you to endure the mild agitation of getting back to work on an important creative project; initiating a difficult conversation with a colleague; asking someone out; or checking your bank balance – but you can waste years in avoidance nonetheless. (This is how social media platforms flourish: by providing an instantly available, compelling place to go at the first hint of unease.)

It’s possible, instead, to make a game of gradually increasing your capacity for discomfort, like weight training at the gym. When you expect that an action will be accompanied by feelings of irritability, anxiety or boredom, it’s usually possible to let that feeling arise and fade, while doing the action anyway. The rewards come so quickly, in terms of what you’ll accomplish, that it soon becomes the more appealing way to live.
The advice you don’t want to hear is usually the advice you need. I spent a long time fixated on becoming hyper-productive before I finally started wondering why I was staking so much of my self-worth on my productivity levels. What I needed wasn’t another exciting productivity book, since those just functioned as enablers, but to ask more uncomfortable questions instead.

The broader point here is that it isn’t fun to confront whatever emotional experiences you’re avoiding – if it were, you wouldn’t avoid them – so the advice that could really help is likely to make you uncomfortable. (You may need to introspect with care here, since bad advice from manipulative friends or partners is also likely to make you uncomfortable.)

It’s wrong to say we live in especially uncertain times. The future is always uncertain

One good question to ask is what kind of practices strike you as intolerably cheesy or self-indulgent: gratitude journals, mindfulness meditation, seeing a therapist? That might mean they are worth pursuing. (I can say from personal experience that all three are worth it.) Oh, and be especially wary of celebrities offering advice in public forums: they probably pursued fame in an effort to fill an inner void, which tends not to work – so they are likely to be more troubled than you are.
The future will never provide the reassurance you seek from it. As the ancient Greek and Roman Stoics understood, much of our suffering arises from attempting to control what is not in our control. And the main thing we try but fail to control – the seasoned worriers among us, anyway – is the future. We want to know, from our vantage point in the present, that things will be OK later on. But we never can. (This is why it’s wrong to say we live in especially uncertain times. The future is always uncertain; it’s just that we’re currently very aware of it.)

It’s freeing to grasp that no amount of fretting will ever alter this truth. It’s still useful to make plans. But do that with the awareness that a plan is only ever a present-moment statement of intent, not a lasso thrown around the future to bring it under control. The spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti said his secret was simple: “I don’t mind what happens.” That needn’t mean not trying to make life better, for yourself or others. It just means not living each day anxiously braced to see if things work out as you hoped.

The solution to imposter syndrome is to see that you are one. When I first wrote about how useful it is to remember that everyone is totally just winging it, all the time, we hadn’t yet entered the current era of leaderly incompetence (Brexit, Trump, coronavirus). Now, it’s harder to ignore. But the lesson to be drawn isn’t that we’re doomed to chaos. It’s that you – unconfident, self-conscious, all-too-aware-of-your-flaws – potentially have as much to contribute to your field, or the world, as anyone else.

Remember: the reason you can’t hear other people’s inner monologues of self-doubt isn’t that they don’t have them

Humanity is divided into two: on the one hand, those who are improvising their way through life, patching solutions together and putting out fires as they go, but deluding themselves otherwise; and on the other, those doing exactly the same, except that they know it. It’s infinitely better to be the latter (although too much “assertiveness training” consists of techniques for turning yourself into the former).

Remember: the reason you can’t hear other people’s inner monologues of self-doubt isn’t that they don’t have them. It’s that you only have access to your own mind.

Selflessness is overrated. We respectable types, although women especially, are raised to think a life well spent means helping others – and plenty of self-help gurus stand ready to affirm that kindness, generosity and volunteering are the route to happiness. There’s truth here, but it generally gets tangled up with deep-seated issues of guilt and self-esteem. (Meanwhile, of course, the people who boast all day on Twitter about their charity work or political awareness aren’t being selfless at all; they are burnishing their egos.)

If you’re prone to thinking you should be helping more, that’s probably a sign that you could afford to direct more energy to your idiosyncratic ambitions and enthusiasms. As the Buddhist teacher Susan Piver observes, it’s radical, at least for some of us, to ask how we’d enjoy spending an hour or day of discretionary time. And the irony is that you don’t actually serve anyone else by suppressing your true passions anyway. More often than not, by doing your thing – as opposed to what you think you ought to be doing – you kindle a fire that helps keep the rest of us warm.

Know when to move on. And then, finally, there’s the one about knowing when something that’s meant a great deal to you – like writing this column – has reached its natural endpoint, and that the most creative choice would be to turn to what’s next. This is where you find me. Thank you for reading.

Oliver Burkeman’s book Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals will be published next year by The Bodley Head. Find out more at

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Topley’s Top 10 – June 08, 2022

1. 2022 Sector Dispersion Highest Since 2007….Energy vs. Consumer Discretionary 82% Spread

2. 30 Year Treasury Yield…1.2% to 3.1% One Year.

50 day about to go thru 200 day to upside on chart

3. Small Cap Tech -25% Correction High to Low.

I was expecting this chart to be worse when I hit it up today

4. Under Armour Another Full Round Robin Stock Back to Covid Lows

5. Target TGT -43% Correction

6. Weakness in Retail-Bespoke Investment Group

The broader retail space has been weak relative to the S&P 500 so far this year. Much of this weakness came after Target’s (TGT) and Walmart’s (WMT) earnings calls, in which management noted margin compression, inventory gluts in certain categories, shifting consumer preferences, and weakness in consumer spending as inflation in food and energy reduces discretionary budgets. Institutional subscribers can view our Conference Call Recaps on these two companies by clicking here. On a YTD basis, the VanEck Retail ETF (RTH) has underperformed the S&P 500 (SPY) by 4.5 percentage points, trading down by 18.2% as of today. A chart of the relative strength of RTH vs SPY over the last year is shown below.

Within the S&P 500, there are 21 stocks that make up the Retailing industry, and in the table below, we have outlined the performance of the 10 largest stocks by market cap.  You’ll notice that companies like Costco (COST) and WMT aren’t listed, but that’s because they are actually part of the Food and Staples Retailing industry.  As you can see, seven of these ten stocks are down more than the average S&P 500 member on a YTD basis, and six are further from their respective 52-week highs than the average S&P 500 member. However, only two of these stocks are below their pre-COVID highs, whereas more than a third of (35.8%) of S&P 500 components are below their pre-COVID highs.

7. Consumer Credit Explodes…Double Estimates

Zerohedge-Here are the shocking numbers: in April one month after the jarring March print again came in more than double the $25 billion expected to $52.435 billion, in April consumer credit again exploded to a ridiculous $38.1 billion, again blowing away expectations of a $35 billion increase (and not much lower than last month’s downward revised $47.3 billion).

8. U.S. Exports Set a Record in 2021….$1.8 Trillion.

From The Daily Shot Blog  Food for Thought: Lastly, let’s take a look at US exports of goods by state.

Source: Visual Capitalist Read full article

9. Homeownership Remains the American Dream, Despite Challenges

NY TIMES A new survey reveals that nearly three-quarters of Americans place owning a home above career, family and college as a sign of prosperityBy Gregory Schmidt

Nearly three-quarters of Americans say owning a home is a higher measure of achievement than having a successful career, raising a family or earning a college degree, according to a new survey. But affordability remains a challenge for many of them.

The survey, released in March for, a financial services company, found that 74 percent of respondents ranked homeownership as the highest gauge of prosperity, above having a career (60 percent), children (40 percent) and a college education (35 percent).

The survey, conducted by the market research firm YouGov, comprised 2,529 adults, 1,397 of whom were homeowners. Of those respondents who did not own homes, about two-thirds pointed to one or more affordability factors for holding them back, including income level, soaring housing prices and their ability to make a down payment.

Other factors included poor credit, not being ready for homeownership and high mortgage rates. Fourteen percent said they were not inclined to be homeowners, regardless of the circumstances.

To find more affordable housing, 58 percent of all respondents said they would be willing to make compromises, including moving to another state, buying a fixer-upper or moving to a less desirable area.

Those results skewed toward younger Americans, said Jeff Ostrowski, a senior reporter at who covers the housing market and mortgages. “Boomers and Gen X have built up equity, so there was a smaller percentage of older people willing to make concessions,” he said.

But he added that there were still affordable homes to be found, particularly in cities in the Midwest and Northeast like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. “In all of those places, the median home prices are $300,000 or less,” he said.

Despite the rise of remote work, which has accelerated the migration from expensive coastal cities to more affordable inland housing markets, a majority of homeowners in the survey were satisfied with their choice: Seventy-two percent said they would buy their current home again.

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

Gregory Schmidt covers New York real estate. @GregoryNYC

10. The purpose is to become the kind of person that can do it

The Daily Stoic —In one of his lettersSeneca describes himself as a “cold-water enthusiast.” He would “celebrate the new year by taking a plunge into the canal, who, just as naturally as I would set out to do some reading or writing, or to compose a speech, used to inaugurate the first of the year with a plunge into the Virgo aqueduct [present day Trevi Fountain].” But then he gives the real reason for his cold plunges: “The body should be treated more rigorously that it may not be disobedient to the mind.”

There’s a lot of interesting research about the health benefits of taking cold showers and going for a run and lifting weights. But the real reason to do these things is far more simple: it’s to make a statement about who is in charge.

Who is in charge? The courageous side or the cowardly side of you? The side that doesn’t flinch at discomfort or the side that desires to always be comfortable? The side that does the hard thing or the side that takes the easy way?

We challenge ourselves not to improve our immune system. Not to increase our metabolism. Not to reduce anxiety. Those things might be nice ancillary benefits but they are not the point. The purpose is to become the kind of person that can do it. How do you expect to do the big things that scare you—that scare others—if you haven’t practiced them? Why do you think you can endure the cold reception of a bold idea if you can’t even endure cold water? How can you trust that you’ll step forward when the stakes are high when you regularly don’t do that when the stakes are low? What gives you any confidence you’ll do the hard thing when people are watching if you can’t do that even when no one is watching?

The person who does something scary every day is less fearful than someone who can’t. The person who does something difficult every day is tougher than someone who doesn’t.

Topley’s Top 10 – June 06, 2022

1. Energy Stocks are Still at Record Cheapness vs. Tech

Kailash-this group does great work.

Kailash Concepts Research Critical Take-Away: Energy is the most painful trade.   As we show, the stocks still have not priced in the commodities move.  You can also pickup healthy yields, investment grade balance sheets and the stocks have highly asymmetric payoff structures based on history.

2. Year to Date Returns…Consumer Staples ETF -4% vs. Consumer Discretionary -23%

3. Shocker! State Backed Developers Benefit from China Housing Crisis

WSJ-Developers backed by the central or local governments have dominated land auctions around the country in recent months, thanks in part to their continued access to affordable financing. While they are also contending with slumping apartment sales and falling home prices, their sales drops have generally been less severe than those of their peers not backed by the state.

As China’s Private Developers Retreat, State-Backed Rivals Gain Ground-By 

Cao Li

4. Interesting Chart to Watch as the FED Unwinds Balance Sheet

Mortgage Backed Securities ETF

VMBS has a negative 5 year performance

5. According to WSJ-Factory Robotics Orders Jumped 40% Year Over Year in Q1 2022

ROBO chart -30% from Highs

WSJ-By Bob Tita

Robo Top

6. Airbnb…Airlines Back to Pre-Covid Bookings

ABNB -50% Correction…Forming Base in Chart

7. Another Covid Stock …SQ (Block) $280 to $66….-75% Correction

8. National Homicide Clearance Rate Dropped to Historic Low

The Marshall Project– For homicide detectives, 2020 brought good news and bad news. On the one hand, police across the nation solved more murders — in absolute numbers — than in any year since 1997, according to data reported to the FBI. On the other hand, because new homicides increased sharply, the reported rate at which killings were solved, known as the “clearance rate,” declined to a little below 50%.

The lower clearance rate in 2020 was an extension of a long, steady drop since the early 1980s, when police cleared about 70% of all homicides, and a decline that experts say was exacerbated by the pandemic. (The FBI won’t release 2021 numbers until later this year.

As Murders Spiked, Police Solved About Half in 2020The U.S. homicide clearance rate is at a historic low. Here’s what that means. By WEIHUA LI and JAMILES LARTEY

9. The Uyghurs in China now live in a giant, open air prison camp


Steven W. Mosher

An estimated 2 million Uyghurs are interred in detention camps in the far-northern Chinese province of Xinjiang. Along being forced to renounce their Muslim faith, the Uyghurs are subject to grave human-rights abuses including torture and sexual exploitation. NY Post photo composite

There’s a cultural genocide taking place in China right now against the nation’s Uyghur minority. Aggressively monitored by Chinese authorities and faced with the constant threat of arrest or torture, this Turkish-speaking people in China’s Far West now exist in the world’s first, real-life, digital dictatorship.

It is no exaggeration to say the entire province of Xinjiang, an area only slightly smaller than Alaska, has been turned into a giant, open-air prison camp by the Chinese Communist Party. As author Nury Turkel explains in his new book, “No Escape: The True Story of China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs,” every neighborhood in Uyghur cities large and small now has its own hastily erected “convenience police station” manned by “low-level assistant police officers, who are more brute muscle than actual law enforcement officers.” The neighborhoods themselves are surrounded by manned check points, where those who want to leave are forced to squint into a camera for a retinal scan before departure.

Each neighborhood is further broken down into small “grids” of 15 to 20 families, each with an assigned a “grid monitor.” As the author writes, each monitor is tasked with snooping on their neighbors, reporting any suspicious or forbidden activities — such as Islamic practices like refusing to eat pork or fasting during Ramadan — to the authorities.

Then there are the Monday-morning flag-raising ceremonies, at which attendance is obligatory.  As the red flag of communist China is raised, writes Turkel, who’s ethnic Uyghur, Party officials “lead chanted slogans about the greatness of the party and its secretary-general, Xi Jinping, and the need for Uyghurs to abandon their faith in anyone but him.”

10. Where Should You Focus?

Tiny Thought—Farnam Street Blog

In every area of life, there is a hidden asymmetry. If you apply your focus like everyone else, you will get the same results as everyone else. Understanding where to apply your focus makes a massive difference in results.

Everyone knows that focus matters. Most people don’t know where to focus. Telling people “to focus more” is about as helpful as telling them to “make better decisions.” Common advice but useless in practice.

Not all focus is equal. Some focus is asymmetric. Knowing where to focus makes a difference.

How do you know where to focus? The answer is a deep fluency in the problem. You need to embed yourself in the problem and the details. You need to try things, reflect, and learn. Sooner or later, you start to understand the hidden asymmetry.

A lot of business people treat all decisions the same, no matter the implications. They’ll spend as much time trying to decide a trivial decision as a major one. A lot of authors focus on the work and miss that how it’s positioned for the audience matters more. A lot of people go to the gym 4 days a week only to miss that what goes into their body and the amount of sleep matter more.

The visible problem might appear to be a lack of focus, but the invisible problem is often not knowing where to focus to get the best results.

In any field, a few areas of focus make an asymmetric difference. Often they’re hiding in plain sight and ignored by most.

One place to find asymmetry is to listen to people talk about others’ success … “that book sold a lot, but did you read it, it’s not well written.” That’s an indication that the quality of writing matters less than you think and something else matters more. Or consider the person that explains another person’s success away with “luck.” There might be an element of luck to it, sure, but when you pull back the curtain, I bet you discover they’re focusing a little bit more on something different. Success leaves clues.

What looks like a lack of focus is often a lack of understanding.

(Share this Tiny Thought on Twitter)

Topley’s Top 10 – May 31, 2022

1. 2000-2022 Trailing 12 Month P/E Ratios

Back to 2002 Levels Coming Out of Internet Bubble

Gina Adams Bloomberg

2. SPDR Software ETF -41% Correction….Closed Below Long-Term Weekly Chart 200day Moving Average.

XSW closes below 200day

3. Regional Bank Index Sell-Off….Holds Support Going Back to Early 2021

4. Energy Select ETF Another Break-Out to New Highs

5. Number of Days that SPY Traded in Positive Territory All Day Plummets

Bespoke Investment Group All Day Rallies A Thing of the Past-It seems like a distant memory now, but Monday’s rally marked just the 13th time all year (and over the last 100 trading days) that the S&P 500 tracking ETF (SPY) opened higher and traded in positive territory all day (‘100% positive day’).  The chart below shows the rolling 100-trading day total number of 100% positive days for SPY since 1994, shortly after the ETF launched.  The current level of 13 is already well below the long-term average of 18, but last week, the reading was even lower at 12.  The last time the 100-day rolling total was lower than that was in May 2009, and the lowest readings ever recorded were in periods beginning in October 2002 and September 2008 with just six in a 100-trading day span.

What makes the current period unique is how quickly the rate of 100% positive days has plummeted.  100 trading days ago, the rolling total was more than twice the current level at 29.  Also, it was only in February 2021 (less than sixteen months ago) that the number of 100% positive days reached a record high of 33 on 2/4/21.  That peak came just weeks before the Federal Government sent out the third and final round of stimulus checks.  Just as massive amounts of fiscal and monetary stimulus helped to support markets during COVID, the withdrawal of these supports has introduced gravity back into the equation.

6. Natural Gas Huge Run Up in Price but Still Well Below 2008 Levels

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. And the fracking boom that caused prices to collapse in the US starting in 2009, while prices soared elsewhere, is now being leveraged to export LNG, and we already kissed those collapsed natural gas prices of $2-3 per million Btu goodbye.

7. Meanwhile, LNG exports are surging as U.S. inventories hold near the low end of the 5-year range.

Source: @WSJ  Read full article

The Daily Shot

8. Personal Savings Rate Falls Back to 2008 Levels

9. College Enrollment Fell for 11th Year in a Row

685,000 fewer students were enrolled in post-secondary education in America this spring, a 4.1% fall on 2021, which itself was a 3.5% fall on the numbers from 2020 according to data out yesterday from the NSC Research Center. That fall marks the 11th straight year that the spring count of total enrollments has dropped in the US.

The college conundrum

The biggest drop came in undergraduates, as 662,000 fewer undergraduates enrolled — a 4.7% drop on the year before. Community college numbers fell almost 8%.

Part of that fall could be explained away by the pandemic, where remote-learning distinctly diminished the college experience, but the scale and consistency of the declines suggest something larger is at play: college is losing its allure.

Once the golden ticket to a middle class life, the rise in the cost of college has outstripped the rise in the cost of living many times over in the last 50 years, suggesting that the math of the college decision is, for some prospective students, not adding up anymore.

Interestingly, the most well-known institutions are bucking this trend. The acceptance rate at Harvard plunged to an all-time low (~3%). The same happened at Stanford… and Yale… and Brown… and Columbia (to name but a few). The college path might not make quite as much sense for everyone as it used to, but the big name institutions aren’t the ones losing out.

10. Three flavors of a good life: Happy, Meaningful, Psychologically Rich

Psychology Today Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D. As a distinct, yet corelated dimension of a good life, the psychologically rich life differs from the existing hedonic-eudaimonic dichotomy in a number of ways. For example, if the emphasis of a happy life is on positive emotions and security, and the emphasis of a meaningful life is on purpose and coherence, then the hallmarks of a psychologically rich life are variety, interest and perspective (Oishi & Westgate, 2021). If a positive mindset facilitates a happy life, and moral principles facilitate a meaningful life, then curiosity and spontaneity will facilitate a psychologically rich life. If the outcome of a happy life is personal satisfaction and the outcome of a meaningful life is societal contribution, then the outcome of a psychologically rich life, according to Oishi, is wisdom.

To explore the three constructs of well-being differently, consider the metaphor of a beautiful garden. You might feel hedonic well-being whenever you are greeted by the lovely blooms as you stroll through your garden. You might experience eudaimonic well-being as you revel in the sense of purpose you receive from tending to your garden and sharing its gifts with others. According to Oishi, psychological richness arises as your garden undergoes seasonal changes. The landscape of the garden is in a constant flux. Its diverse inhabitants from the plant and animal kingdoms follow the Nature’s lead. As you watch your garden metamorphose through the seasons – aflush with color and harvest in one, barren and dormant in another – you might recognize the wealth, wonder and wisdom of life’s unfolding, to which you also belong.

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Here are 6 questions on the psychologically-rich life with Dr. Oishi.

What does a psychologically rich life look like?

A psychologically rich life is a life of curiosity and exploration. It’s not that you have to chase after new and exciting experiences all the time. Rather, it’s an invitation to remain curious about life in its fullness, and not limit yourself to the comforts of what you already know.

What is the mechanism that allows our experiences, at times even the challenging ones, to add up to a well-lived life?

Consider the differences between material wealth and psychological wealth. Material wealth, which can be money or other assets, is often tangible. For me, the psychological equivalent of material wealth are our stories. They might include our happy memories and the meaningful contributions we make to other people’s lives. But when it comes to psychological richness, sometimes even the difficult experiences that help us grow and see things in new ways can add to our wealth. That’s because those are often the experiences that we tend to with care and reflection, which then turn to insights and observations that we can carry with us and share with others.

Two people can have the same number of unusual experiences. For one person, these experiences will add up to bring about new insights and perspectives. For someone else, they will remain interesting, yet disparate events that don’t contribute to growth. In part, this discrepancy has to do with personality, value systems, and even mindset. For example, if someone wants to live an aesthetic life, then engaging with thought-provoking art can be transformative for them, compared to someone who isn’t interested in these values. It also matters how reflective the person is. Self-reflection might be what binds experiences together to make them count towards a well-lived life. When we deeply reflect on our experiences, the connections and insights that we gather can accumulate to make for a richer whole.

You argue that a psychologically rich life comprises of experiences in which novelty and complexity are followed by changes in perspective. Why is a change in perspective so important?

A change of perspective is precisely what captures some of the growth. For example, the reason why certain experiences such as study abroad programs can be so transformative, is because they often introduce us to new ways of thinking about life. In turn, we might become encouraged to engage with the novelty and complexity of the experience in ways that affect our understanding of the world and lead to growth.

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On the other hand, a person can go bungee-jumping for the sake of sensation seeking, and it might not change anything about the way they see life. Thus, change of perspective is an indication that we were able to digest the novelty, complexity and depth of the experience in new, insightful ways.

Can second-hand experiences, for example through literature and film, contribute to a psychologically rich life?

Great literature, poetry, film, music and art can significantly enrich our lives. I think humans created art and culture to essentially help themselves go through a wealth of experiences second-hand. As Marcel Proust wrote in In Search of Lost Time, a novel can help us experience the joys and sorrows of someone’s entire lifetime within a matter of hours. While first-hand experiences are obviously more real, sometimes the imaginary worlds that novelists craft can be as vivid.

How can we add psychological richness to our lives?

A good lesson can be found in studies about regret. According to research, short-term regret is usually about something you did, whereas long-term regret is about something you didn’t do. If you were to ask old people about their regrets, it often is about not having various experiences, not taking the job offer, not doing this or that. This mindset can help us be more willing to make changes.

What can research on psychological richness teach us about the good life?

Sometimes, people can be so obsessed with happiness, that they actively strive to stir their lives in one direction – that of positive emotions and comfort. But life is unpredictable, and unfortunately, not always pleasant. Psychological richness entails accepting life as it happens, in its entirety. If we consider stories that we accumulate and share with others as the currency of psychological richness, many of our experiences can lend new insights and propel us towards growth, thus adding up to wealth.

To me, this research diversifies the ways in which people could lead a good life. A happy life is a great life. A meaningful life is a great life. But at times, when happiness and meaning are hard to come by, or if you are not predisposed to them, you can still experience well-being and have a good, admirable life by leading a psychologically rich life.

Many thanks to Shige Oishi for his time and insights. Professor Oishi is a personality and social psychologist at the University of Virginia.