Topley’s Top 10 – April 28, 2022

1. War, Stock Corrections, Bond Bear, Record U.S. Government Debt, Covid, etc. etc…..U.S. Dollar Still King Currency.

U.S. Dollar Approaching 2020 Pre-Covid Highs…..50day going thru 200day to upside

www.stockcharts.com


2. Diesal Fuel Futures Settle at Record High

Massive exports and strong domestic consumption are helping to drain distillate stockpiles in the U.S., which have fallen to the lowest level since 2008. The shortage is most acute on the East Coast, where inventories have dropped to the lowest level since 1996. Fuelmakers on the Gulf Coast have been operating at their highest rates for this time of year in more than a decade and are still unable to rebuild stockpiles. Rising shipments to Latin America and Europe have left the main fuel pipeline supplying the East Coast underused.

Shifting trading patterns also contributed to spiking prices. Liquidity has fallen in recent months in futures and physical markets, exacerbating volatility in both. While futures traders exited hedges, physical traders ditched storage tanks as holding onto products became a losing proposition, leaving a thinner cushion for supply crunches and price swings.

Chunzi Xuhttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-26/u-s-diesel-futures-settle-at-record-high-as-shortage-deepens?cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=business&sref=GGda9y2L


3. 10 Year Treasury is 4 Standard Deviations Above 52 Week Moving Average

Lance Roberts, the chief investment strategist of RIA Advisors—Busy Chart but see the downtrend channel in middle….Technically speaking, he adds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y, 2.794% is now 4 standard deviations above its 52-week moving average, and near the top of the long-term downtrend channel from 1980.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-bond-market-has-crashed-why-one-strategist-says-embrace-the-pain-and-get-back-in-11651056414?mod=home-page


4. Another Mid-Term Election Chart

LPL Research..Strong Bounces Historically Off Lows

https://i0.wp.com/lplresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Blog-4.27.22.png?ssl=1


5. Apple Revenue Breakdown-Visual Capitalist

How Do Big Tech Giants Make Their Billions? (visualcapitalist.com)


6. Breaking Euro Reliance on Russian Gas Down by Country

From Dave Lutz at Jones Trading

Four European gas buyers have already paid for supplies in rubles as President Vladimir Putin demanded.


7. Mortgage Volume Trades Back to Mean…Higher Rates and No Inventory.

Wolf Street “The drop in purchase applications was evident across all loan types,” the MBA’s report said. “Prospective homebuyers have pulled back this spring, as they continue to face limited options of homes for sale along with higher costs from increasing mortgage rates and prices. The recent decrease in purchase applications is an indication of potential weakness in home sales in the coming months.”

https://wolfstreet.com/2022/04/27/mortgage-volume-gets-crushed-by-spiking-interest-rates-what-it-means-for-future-home-sales-and-consumer-spending/


8. 70% of Starbucks Employees at Company Less Than One Year

Huge growth in Starbucks employees but heavy turnover.

Macrotrends

https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/SBUX/starbucks/number-of-employees


9. Don’t Forget Elon Musk’s Other Company Valued at $6B

Boring Company raises additional $675 million as investors chuck money into holes in the ground

Elon Musk’s tunnel company is now valued at nearly $6 billion

By James Vincent  Apr 21, 2022, 5:18am EDT

The Boring Company has raised a new round of funding worth $675 million, with Elon Musk’s grand plan to “solve traffic” with tunnels now valued at $5.675 billion.

In a blog post announcing the news, the company reiterated its goals and achievements so far, drawing particular attention to its “next generation” of Prufrock tunnel-boring machines (TBMs).

“Unlike traditional TBMs which require upwards of a dozen or more people to operate, Prufrock is designed to be capable of operating completely remotely and autonomously via computerized systems and requires zero people in the tunnel to operate,” said the company. “The current iteration of Prufrock, called Prufrock-2, is designed to mine at up to 1 mile/week, meaning a tunnel the length of the Las Vegas strip (approximately 4 miles) can be completed in a month.”

So far, The Boring Company has built just two operational 0.8-mile tunnels underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as 1.1-mile test tunnel in Hawthorne, California. The company has been pitching its services far and wide, and although many projects have run aground, authorities in Las Vegas last year approved the construction of a 29-mile tunnel system containing 51 stations.

The planned Las Vegas tunnel system, dubbed the Vegas Loop. Image: The Boring Company

The Boring Company describes its tunnels as a “public transportation system that resembles an underground highway” but — more succinctly and accurately — as “Teslas in tunnels.” Originally, Musk said the company’s tunnels would use autonomous sleds to carry cars and specially-designed pods at speeds of up 150mph to transport pedestrians and cyclists. So far, they’re currently limited to electric vehicles (Teslas) driven by human employees at around 50mph and carrying ticketed passengers.

The company’s Las Vegas tunnels have been open for a few years now, and first-hand impressions have been mixed to say the least. When everything goes to plan, the company’s tunnels let cars pass through them at sedate speeds. But when they’re busy they also create their own traffic jams — the very problem they’re intended to solve.

Investors, though, don’t necessarily care whether or not founders like Musk ultimately follow through on their hyperbole, only that the companies they run attract enough customers and revenue to pay back their own investments. And Musk has proved, time and time again, that’s he’s very good at pushing up share prices and valuations. For the meantime, that means The Boring Company has a lot of tunnels left to dig.

Boring Company raises additional $675 million as investors chuck money into holes in the ground – The Verge


10. Portfolio PAIN Isn’t A Four Letter Word

Posted April 20, 2022 by Anthony Isola

Pleasures are to be avoided if they result in greater pain, and pain is to be welcomed if it results in greater pleasure. –  Epicurus

Pleasurable investing is an oxymoron. Good luck adopting buying high and selling low into your investment policy.

The human body’s reactions to pain provide sound investing advice.

Our default state is Homeostasis. Balancing pleasure and pain is never-ending. After a Dopamine overdose, the body brings order to the crime scene. Examples include crashing after a sugar high and head-splitting hangovers after alcohol overindulgence.

We’re a Dopamine Nation.

 

This chart measures the percentage dopamine increase of a rat trapped in a box when exposed to various substances.

Anna Lembke drops knowledge in her ground-breaking book, Dopamine Nation. She compares food, sex, drug, and technology addiction to a pendulum. When the pendulum is overweight pleasure, pain gremlins jump onto the other side, throwing things back into balance. Pain overcompensates, leading to the need for more Dopamine to maintain Homeostasis. Addiction creates massive pain.

What happens if we reverse engineer pain and pleasure?

Dr. Lembke states: Pressing on the pain side of the balance can lead to its opposite – pleasure. Unlike pressing on the pleasure side, the Dopamine that comes from pain is indirect and potentially more enduring. 

Pleasure gremlins jump on after the initial pain creating longer-lasting pleasure; intermittent exposure to pain makes us less vulnerable.

Cold showers and baths are initially painful. Our bodies eventually numb themselves to the exposure.

According to Dr. Lembke: Dopamine rose gradually and steadily throughout the cold bath and remained elevated for an hour afterward. 

Exercise is the ultimate example.

Exercise is immediately toxic to cells, leading to increased temperature, noxious oxidants, and oxygen and glucose deprivation.

Then this happens.

Exercise increases many of the neurotransmitters involved in positive mood regulation: Dopamine, serotonin,…..Exercise contributes to the birth of new neurons and even reduces the likelihood of using and getting addicted to drugs.

Acupuncture falls under this category. Minor pain prevents larger doses from asserting their will.

What does this have to do with investing?

It scientifically backs the old saying regarding the markets; If it feels good, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Selling your stocks in a crisis creates a momentary dopamine rush. While temporarily pleasing, the long-term market gremlins hop onto the pain side of the pendulum. Your portfolio and wealth may never recover from the extended period of suffering they unleash on your wealth and psyche.

Balancing the agony and ecstasy of the markets isn’t easy.

Investors must embrace the pain when markets fall precipitously. Short-term torture eventually morphs into self-correcting market homeostasis producing sustainable pleasure.

Credit cards offer a dopamine rush. The temporary pleasure of purchasing disposable goods doesn’t compensate for the long-term destructive effects of minimum payments attached to a 20% interest rate. The momentary disappointment of walking out of the store empty-handed is justified if you don’t have the funds to pay in full.

Phil Pearlman more than gets it.

And we live in a world where comfort is so accessible that seduction is almost unfair.

We have air conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, a fridge stocked with food and drink, and if we don’t, we can order anything from our couch and have it sent to us in minutes or overnight in dry ice via Federal Express.

I thought about this just this morning as I adjusted the heat function on my car seat.

All of this comfort is not good.

Regarding investing and life, PAIN isn’t a four-letter word.

Source: Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke M.D.

https://tonyisola.com/2022/04/portfolio-pain-isnt-a-four-letter-word/

From Abnormal Returns Blog www.abnormalreturns.com

Topley’s Top 10 – April 27, 2022

1. Mid-Term Election Year Seasonality vs. Normal Seasonality

Callum Thomas Chart Storm

Source: @EquityClock via @HumbleStudent

2. Misery Index Inflation Plus Unemployment Hits Highest Levels Since 1970s

Fed’s “misery index,” given its similarity to the national misery index, which is simply the sum of inflation and unemployment.

https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/lone-bank-doubles-down-its-doomsday-call-says-recession-will-be-worse-expected

3. 79% of Earnings Reports Beat So Far

Business Insider-Companies are raking in massive profits-The massive spending seen throughout the recovery has also buoyed the measure that Wall Street cares about the most: corporate earnings.

About a fifth of S&P 500 companies have reported first-quarter earnings so far, and the results show little sign of a weakening economy. Seventy-nine percent of companies that have reported their latest figures beat earnings-per-share forecasts, and 69% reported stronger-than-expected revenues, according to FactSet.

More broadly, companies are raking in much bigger profits than they did before the pandemic. S&P 500 earnings per share hit a record $204 at the end of 2021, up more than a third from pre-crisis levels. If first-quarter reports continue to beat forecasts, that figure will climb to even loftier all-time highs.

Ben Winck and Madison Hoff

https://www.businessinsider.com/recession-outlook-unlikely-three-charts-show-economic-recovery-going-strong-2022-4#companies-are-raking-in-massive-profits-3

4. Investment Grade Bonds…Percent of Bonds Rising on an Average Day 25 Year Low

Investment-grade bonds have hit a 17-year low, and are performing worse than even junk bonds. Normally this would signal a buying opportunity, but it’s not so simple, SentimentTrader notes. Bond traders will have less time to report transactions if Gary Gensler gets his way. The SEC chief wants to shrink the current 15-minute window, potentially to one minute, and let authorities investigate trading protocols, fees paid and the spread to Treasuries when the trade is agreed.

Abnormal Returns Blog www.abnormalreturns.com

5. TBF Short Bonds ETF +19% vs. ARKK ETF -42%

www.yahoofinance.com

6. Low Price to Cash Flow Stocks Huge Outperformance Since First Sell Off

Jeffrey Kleintop Short duration stocks (low price to cash flow) continue to outperform in markets around the world, as they have since interest rates began to rise in August 2020.

https://twitter.com/JeffreyKleintop

7. Volatility VIX Index Did Not Make New High Yet

www.stockcharts.com

8. FedEx and UPS both Make New Lows

Not sure if these are good economic indicators of slowdown but…..FDX lower highs and UPS lower highs

www.stockcharts.com

9. 2022 Best Cities to Start Business

WalletHub

Jason Kiernan 2022’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business (wallethub.com)

10. The Mindful Seven with Tristan Ahumada

By Rae Fitzgerald | April 15, 2022 | 0

How do you inspire an unmotivated son? You send him on a treasure hunt, of course! In a special solo episode, Brilliant Thoughts’ host Tristan Ahumada recounts a parable that forever changed his perspective on life, teaching him seven powerful lessons in the process.

The story centers around a very wise man who, despite his efforts, can’t seem to motivate his son to take charge of his life. The father ends up sending his son on a faux treasure hunt that takes him far away from their village. After a two-year journey the son returns home, and instead of being upset with his father for lying about the treasure, he thanks him for the many lessons and life experiences he had along the way.

The son explains that as he traveled toward the treasure, he was thrown into many new situations, expanding his awareness; however, he missed a lot of opportunities for reflection. On the journey home, he was able to be more present, able to notice the changing seasons and fellow travelers around him in a way he hadn’t before.

There’s a lot to glean from this parable, but to Ahumada, it is essentially a story about mindfulness. After reflecting on the most important takeaways, he organized them into a list of helpful suggestions called “the mindful seven.”

1. Monitor your self-talk.

Self-talk is the conversation you have with yourself, your internal monologue. It’s an important voice to be aware of because it reflects your mindset. If you’re telling yourself things like “that was stupid,” “everyone’s against me,” or “I can’t take it anymore,” you will unconsciously act those realities out in order to prove yourself right.

“It’s that self-talk, whether it’s positive or negative, that determines how we live our life and how we show up on a daily basis,” explains Ahumada. “Because what we continually tell ourselves is what we project, what we focus on.”

Family, friends and colleagues tend to know when you’re experiencing inner turmoil; they instinctively stay away. That’s because we create our lives from the inside out, so when negativity bubbles up to the surface, it’s an indication that it runs much deeper. If you want to be more mindful in general, you have to start by noticing the way you talk to yourself.

2. Think about how you use the spoken word.

The words that you use, and the tonality in which you use them, matters. Even more than self-talk, the way we approach the spoken language has a tremendous impact on the people around us. It can be used to communicate and uplift or to tear down. To Ahumada, the key is to make a habit of talking about the good things going on in your life rather than complaining by default.

“Now I’m not saying hey, look at toxic positivity where everything looks amazing,” says Ahumada. “We’re talking about you deciding what to focus on in your day.”

We all experience fear, anger and sadness—it’s part of being human. We are all subject to situations outside of our control. However, Ahumada wants us to remember that we can control how we choose to respond to those situations, as well as the things we focus on. Choosing not to dwell on things outside of your control begins to encourage the mindset of abundance.

3. Make time for daily reflection.

Intentional contemplation is the key to becoming aware of what’s really happening in your life. Making time for daily reflection will allow you to shift from a fixed mindset, which is quick to accept defeat and reject criticism, into a growth mindset, which embraces challenges and sees effort as the path to mastery. You won’t know which one you’re using unless you take time to reflect on your day.

“All it takes is five minutes at the end of the day to look back and think, ‘How did I treat people?’” says Ahumada. “And that’s where you begin to change right through that reflection, that’s key; that’s where growth happens.”

4. Always be learning and unlearning.

If you want to grow, it’s not enough to just gather new information; you need to constantly be challenging your assumptions about what you know to be true or right. To Ahumada, exposure to more people, whether in person or on the internet, is the best way to do that.

“There are so many things like this podcast, YouTube videos, audio, books that create the environment that you want to live in,” he says. “Surround yourself with those people that can help your mindset grow.”

5. Practice the things you’re afraid to do.

If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do but are afraid to get started, that’s a pretty good sign you need to be working your way up to it. Growth doesn’t arise out of comfortable, certain situations; it happens when we test ourselves, challenge perspectives and conquer fear.

Working through something uncomfortable helps challenge the limiting beliefs that are holding you back. It doesn’t happen when you just do it once, though; it’s essential to be constantly practicing whatever you’re trying to improve, whether it’s self-talk, reflection or something totally different. Just like you should always be learning and unlearning, you should always be practicing the new lessons to solidify them into habit.

6. Prioritize the big three.

Especially in Western culture, people tend to think about the mind and body as separate, almost distinct entities. Ahumada says that it’s all you—your mind, body, spirit and emotions. These aspects of personhood are actually inextricably connected and constantly affecting each other. Together, they comprise the self, which should be everyone’s number one priority.

Number two of the big three is family, which Ahumada recognizes looks different to everyone. It could be your pets, your parents, your siblings, your friends, your partner or whoever else brings goodness into your life. Part of being human is having and maintaining relationships because other people have a profound effect on your well-being.

After self and family, Ahumada says you need to be taking care of your business, whatever that looks like. It could be a side hustle, writing a book or a steady job; the type of business isn’t important, only that you make it a priority.

7. Follow a routine.

You have the power to design and implement a routine for self-betterment. Following a routine is the practice of making mindfulness a habit, and it ties the previous six together seamlessly. A disciplined routine doesn’t just create freedom, but also greater awareness, which is ultimately what mindfulness is all about: noticing thoughts, actions, feelings and sensations.

“Scientists don’t fully understand the brain, it’s so complicated, and they’re not even close to figuring it out,” says Ahumada. “The one thing they do know, though, is that you can change habits, is that you can change yourself by changing what you input.”

At the end of the day, you’re the only person in charge of your growth. The good news is that you can do it—you are totally capable of navigating your own ship, especially when you embrace the mindful seven.

Rae Fitzgerald https://www.success.com/the-mindful-seven-with-tristan-ahumada/

Topley’s Top 10 – April 26, 2022

1. FB, SHOP, PAYPAL, NFLX All Now Underperforming S&P Since Pandemic.

Ben Carlson-A Wealth of Common Sense-Surprisingly, each of these stocks is now underperforming the S&P 500 since the per-pandemic days at the start of 2020:

https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2022/04/what-does-the-bond-market-rout-mean-for-the-stock-market/


2. What has Market Priced in Regarding FED Rate Raises?

Jim Bianco-As of Friday’s close, the market had 14 rate hikes priced in for the entire cycle. This includes 50 – 75 – 50 over the next three meetings. Or, a 2.00% – 2.25% funds rate on July 27.

(19) Jim Bianco biancoresearch.eth (@biancoresearch) / Twitter


3. S&P and Nasdaq Officially Testing YTD Previous Lows

S&P Testing Lows

QQQ Testing Lows

www.stockcharts.com


4. Put/Call Ratio Spikes to 2020 Sell Off Levels.

The Put/Call Ratio is an indicator that shows put volume relative to call volume. Put options are used to hedge against market weakness or bet on a decline. Call options are used to hedge against market strength or bet on an advance. The Put/Call Ratio is above 1 when put volume exceeds call volume and below 1 when call volume exceeds put volume. Typically, this indicator is used to gauge market sentiment. Sentiment is deemed excessively bearish when the Put/Call Ratio is trading at relatively high levels and excessively bullish when at relatively low levels. Chartists can apply moving averages and other indicators to smooth the data and derive signals.

A Put/Call Ratio at its upper extremities would show excessive bearishness because put volume would be significantly higher than call volume. Excessive bearishness would argue for optimism and the possibility of a bullish reversal.  www.stockcharts.com

Put/Call Ratio Chart

www.stockcharts.com

CNN Fear and Greed Index

https://www.cnn.com/markets/fear-and-greed


5. The Broad Commodities Index vs. Gold

This Chart shows the broad commodities index vs. gold since inflation really took hold….Gold lagging energy, food, etc.

www.stockcharts.com


6. Euro Inflation…German 10 Year Inflation Break-Evens Rise Above U.S. for First Time Since 2009

Jim Reid DB-We have just launched our latest monthly survey, which has lots of questions on inflation, rates, potential policy errors in either direction, and a terminal state WFH question to compare to those we compiled early in the pandemic. The survey will likely stay open until Wednesday lunchtime BST. It’s anonymous, and you can skip any question you don’t want to answer. As always, I’d appreciate all support in filling it in. The link is here.

Over the last week or so, German 10yr breakevens briefly edged above their US equivalent for the first time since 2009. For most of the last decade the differential has been between +50 to +100bps in favour of the US with the peak only just over a year ago at +116bps.

So it’s been a remarkable turnaround and had you said 12 months ago that German inflation would average more than the US over the next decade, you would have been looked at quite strangely.

Clearly, much of the move has been energy related with Europe’s energy costs more at risk over the next few years than the US’s. Speaking to DB’s Francis Yared, he confirms the energy story, especially in the near term, as European 2yr inflation swaps also edged above the US equivalent last week. However, if we look at the 5yr5yr inflation swap differential between the two regions there is still a c.25bps higher rate in the US than in Europe. However, the differential is close to the narrowest its been outside of the GFC period.

In our survey, there is a recurring question about your long-term inflation expectations in the US and Europe, so it’ll be interesting to see if you believe the converging trend is justified or not.


7. Net Net Coal Still Much Higher Usage in Last 25 Years….Flat for 15 Years but Not Down.

Bloomberg-In 2021, the world generated more electricity from coal than ever before, with an increase of 9% from the previous year, according to the International Energy Agency. For 2022, total coal consumption — for generating power, making steel and other industrial uses — is expected to rise by almost 2% to a record of just above 8 billion metric tons and remain there through at least 2024.

“All evidence indicates a widening gap between political ambitions and targets on one side and the realities of the current energy system on the other,” the IEA said, estimating that carbon-dioxide emissions from coal in 2024 will be at least 3 billion tons higher than in a scenario reaching net-zero by 2050.

Russia’s War Is Turbocharging the World’s Addiction to Coal-Will Wade and Stephen Stapczynski https://www.yahoo.com/now/russia-war-turbocharging-world-addiction-040103763.html


8. Commercial Drone Deliveries Growth-The Daily Shot Blog

Source: McKinsey & Company  Read full article

https://dailyshotbrief.com/the-daily-shot-brief-april-21st-2022/


9. Chick-Fil-A Annual Sales Growth

Chicken sandwiches are big business
America loves Chick-fil-A.  This week the fast food company disclosed that it had sold more than $16.7 billion worth of food across its restaurants in 2021, up more than 20% on last year’s haul of $13.7bn — putting Chick-fil-A near the very top of the fast food food chain, behind only the golden arches and Starbucks in terms of US sales.
Closed on SundaysA typical Chick-fil-A (outside of a mall location), turns over more than $8 million a year (source), which is a staggering amount on its own — and more than any other major fast food chain — but gets even more staggering when you remember that those sales are crammed into just 6 days a week. As tradition has long dictated at Chick-fil-A, all of its restaurants are closed on Sundays.
So why is Chick-fil-A doing so well?The obvious answer is… delicious food. But the business model deserves some credit too. Chick-fil-A has a fairly unique franchise system — the company typically only lets owners own one franchise location (as opposed to multiple). In theory that could have limited the company’s growth, but it also means Chick-fil-A franchisees are laser focused on their one store. The stellar sales numbers suggest it can’t have hurt too much.

www.chartr.com


10. 5 Reasons Creativity Gets Crushed at Work

Our creative spirit in the workplace can be affected by constant criticism-Anthony D. Fredericks Ed.D.

KEY POINTS

  • New ideas in the workplace are frequently “shot down” by negative criticism.
  • There are five major reasons why colleagues reject new ideas.
  • Many people protect their “corporate standing” by rejecting new ideas.

 

Let’s say you’ve got a great new idea, an idea that will transform your department into a dynamic new entity within the company. Profits will soar, people will be happy, and, of course, you’ll get a substantial raise. You bring this new idea to the weekly department meeting and announce it to all your colleagues. There is stunned silence. But, finally, from somewhere in the back of the room, somebody raises their voice and says something like, “That’s got to be the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard! It’ll never work!”

You’ve effectively been shot down. You’ve been hit between the eyes with a verbal bullet and your idea, for all intents and purposes, has been killed on the spot. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that many of us are assailed by these verbal put-downs regularly. That negativity frequently infests our workplaces where criticism is not only condoned but is often the modus operandi of an organization.

Some people are masters at tamping down new ideas. These are the naysayers—those folks who challenge every new idea as though it was a bad idea. They’ll say “no” at the drop of a hat. In many cases, it’s the result of our natural resistance to change. Change is something new and thus change is scary. Cro-Magnons may have been reluctant to hike over a mountain ridge because they didn’t know what (or who) they’d meet on the other side. They had established a comfort zone on one side of the mountain and venturing into a new environment probably meant a new set of survival skills. “Let’s play it safe,” “Let’s not take that chance,” they may have said. “No” is safe, and “yes” holds the possibility of unknown dangers, new fears, and lots of uncertainties.

Modern humans often have the same set of apprehensions—living their lives in fear. “Stay with what’s comfortable; what’s known,” they say to themselves (and others). Consequently, they want to wrap others into that comfort zone—imposing their will on colleagues who may wish to venture outside that zone and see what’s “on the other side of the mountain.”

Why Ideas Are Crushed

Why do some people feel compelled to say “no” to every new idea? Let’s take a look at a few reasons.

First, it’s a control issue. For example, when you tell someone her idea is no good, you exert a measure of control over her. Those we refer to as “control freaks” are often the ones who want to trample our energy and enthusiasm. It wasn’t their idea, so it can be controlled by saying it was a bad idea. They maintain their control by rejecting our ideas.

Second, there is a region of the human brain known as the amygdala, which serves as an automatic alarm system whenever there is danger (or the possibility of danger). Many psychologists believe this is the brain’s default position—that is, if something new and unusual appears in front of us, we have a natural tendency to picture it as harmful or dangerous. As a result, we will either protect ourselves or flee from the potential danger. In evolutionary terms, this is how prehistoric humans survived a harsh and often unpredictable environment. In modern terms, this means that new ideas are often viewed as dangerous ideas. And, if an idea is dangerous, then it must be squelched.

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Third, some people are more comfortable being pessimistic. They see the glass as half-empty, they view the world as a negative environment, they always see the “bad” in a situation, and they always want others to know of their dissatisfaction with the way things are. When someone shares a positive idea, they seek to counter it with a negative reaction. These folks are reactionaries rather than visionaries. They are most comfortable in maintaining the edges of “the box.” As you might imagine, these are individuals who frequently solicit collegial approval. Thus, if someone doesn’t tell them they’re doing a good job (regularly), they certainly aren’t going to celebrate the ideas of others.

Fourth, some people are locked into a “fixed mindset.” They are incapable of embracing new ideas just as they are incapable of embracing change. They resist change in themselves, just as much as they resist change in others or in an organization. For them, change is difficult to fathom—it’s an intimidating proposition. It’s a journey into new territory and for some, that’s both frightening and worrisome. They are content right where they are, so why do things differently? Why venture into the unknown when the “known” is very comfortable just as it is?

Fifth, and perhaps most important, naysayers get attention when they say something that goes against the grain. They are recognized (often for the wrong reasons) for a gibe, a put-down, a taunt, a sneer, or an insult. The spotlight is (temporarily) on them. They are the center of attention. Moreover, they get a reaction—sometimes a negative reaction—but for a moment, all eyes are on them. They’ve inserted their thoughts and (re)claimed their space.

So, how common are those negative comments? According to one report, it appears as though negative reactions to new ideas are on the rise. The researchers interviewed over 3,000 U.S. business leaders about behaviors in the workplace. The results showed that 53 percent of the respondents have seen an increase in “criticism,” 48 percent have seen an increase in “dismissing others’ ideas,” and 36 percent have seen an increase in “hostility” or “disparaging others.”

Are your new ideas crushed by colleagues?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creative-insights/202204/5-reasons-creativity-gets-crushed-work

Topley’s Top 10 – April 25, 2022

 1. Capital Group U.S. stocks generally have done well during past rising rate periods.

Capital Group U.S. stocks generally have done well during past rising rate periods

Sources: Capital Group, Refinitiv Datastream, Standard & Poor’s, U.S. Federal Reserve. S&P 500 returns represent annualized total returns.

Is the era of easy money coming to an end? | Capital Group


2. Ten-Year Treasury Approaching 3%….

Barrons-Since 1950, when this yield has been below 3%, stocks have done fine. But they’ve fared worse when it was higher (and still worse when it topped 4%). When the yield was under 3%, equities’ annualized monthly returns averaged 21.9%, versus 10.0% when yields were higher, according to Paulsen’s research. In addition, volatility was lower (13.5% versus 14.6%), while monthly losses were less frequent (occurring 27.6% of the time, versus 38.2%). More to the point, there was only one bear market when the yield was below 3% during the period studied, but 10 when it was over that level.

A Key Bond Yield Nears 3%. By  Randall W. Forsyth https://www.barrons.com/articles/a-key-bond-yield-nears-3-its-a-bad-omen-for-stocks-51650644233?mod=past_editions

www.stockcharts.com


3. U.S. Equities $30B in Outflows in 2 Weeks

Bank of America U.S. equity funds have recorded $30 billion of outflows over past two weeks, the largest since March 2020 market crash -Deutsche Bank


4. Inflation Adjusted Capex of Commodity Stocks at 20 Year Low

Otavio (Tavi) Costa

@TaviCosta https://twitter.com/TaviCosta


5. Not Many Historical Charts Dive from $10 Trillion to $300B….Pool of Negative Debt in Europe


6. With Bonds/Stocks Selling Off Together….Vanguard 60/40 Portfolio -9% YTD.

50day went thru 200day to downside back in Feb.


7. Shopify -70% ….About to Hit Covid Crisis Lows

www.stockcharts.com


8. Consumers Unhappy but Still Buying

@Charlie BilelloUS Retail Sales hit another new high last month while Consumer Sentiment fell to its lowest level in over a decade. Translation: Americans are not happy about rising prices but they’re still spending money.

Part of the rise in retail sales is simply due to higher prices as inflation-adjusted sales peaked last April. But real retail sales are still 15% higher than pre-covid levels. So demand remains strong irrespective of inflation and is likely due to the strength of the consumer balance sheet.


9. Space X Zero to Almost 2000 Satellites Since 2019

Barrons Starlink Could Be the Key to a $100 Billion Valuation for Elon Musk’s SpaceX By Al RootFollow https://www.barrons.com/articles/elon-musk-spacex-starlink-51650672885?mod=past_editions


10. How to Think: The Skill You’ve Never Been Taught

Farnam Street Blog https://fs.blog/

How to Think: The Skill You’ve Never Been Taught

No skill is more valuable and harder to come by than the ability to critically think through problems. Schools don’t teach you a method of thinking. Thinking is one of those things that can be learned but can’t be taught.

When it comes to thinking the mind has an optimal way to be operated. When operated correctly you’ll find yourself with plenty of free time. When operated incorrectly, most of your time will be consumed correcting mistakes.

Good decisions create time, bad ones consume it. Good initial decisions pay dividends for years, allowing abundant free time and low stress. Poor decisions, on the other hand, consume time, increase anxiety, and drain us of energy.

But how can we learn how to think?

For the answer we turn to Solitude and Leadership, a lecture given by William Deresiewicz. The entire essay is worth reading (and re-reading).

Learning How To Think

Let’s start with how you don’t learn to think. A study by a team of researchers at Stanford came out a couple of months ago. The investigators wanted to figure out how today’s college students were able to multitask so much more effectively than adults. How do they manage to do it, the researchers asked? The answer, they discovered—and this is by no means what they expected—is that they don’t. The enhanced cognitive abilities the investigators expected to find, the mental faculties that enable people to multitask effectively, were simply not there. In other words, people do not multitask effectively. And here’s the really surprising finding: the more people multitask, the worse they are, not just at other mental abilities, but at multitasking itself.

One thing that made the study different from others is that the researchers didn’t test people’s cognitive functions while they were multitasking. They separated the subject group into high multitaskers and low multitaskers and used a different set of tests to measure the kinds of cognitive abilities involved in multitasking. They found that in every case the high multitaskers scored worse. They were worse at distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information and ignoring the latter. In other words, they were more distractible. They were worse at what you might call “mental filing”: keeping information in the right conceptual boxes and being able to retrieve it quickly. In other words, their minds were more disorganized. And they were even worse at the very thing that defines multitasking itself: switching between tasks.

Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. Not learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information, however much those may sometimes be useful. Developing your own ideas. In short, thinking for yourself. You simply cannot do that in bursts of 20 seconds at a time, constantly interrupted by Facebook messages or Twitter tweets, or fiddling with your iPod, or watching something on YouTube.

I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.

I used to have students who bragged to me about how fast they wrote their papers. I would tell them that the great German novelist Thomas Mann said that a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. The best writers write much more slowly than everyone else, and the better they are, the slower they write. James Joyce wrote Ulysses, the greatest novel of the 20th century, at the rate of about a hundred words a day—half the length of the selection I read you earlier from Heart of Darkness—for seven years. T. S. Eliot, one of the greatest poets our country has ever produced, wrote about 150 pages of poetry over the course of his entire 25-year career. That’s half a page a month. So it is with any other form of thought. You do your best thinking by slowing down and concentrating.

Improving Thinking

The best way to improve your ability to think is to actually spend time thinking.

Your decisions do the talking for your thinking.

You can’t simply take a few minutes here and there, get the gist of the problem, and expect to make good decisions.

“It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise”

— William Deresiewicz

One heuristic to tell how good someone is at making decisions is by how much time they have. The busiest people are often the ones who make the worst decisions. Busy people spend a lot of time correcting poor decisions. And because they’re so busy correcting past decisions, they don’t have time to make good decisions.

Good decision makers understand a simple truth: you can’t make good decisions without good thinking and good thinking requires time.

Good decisions make the future easier, giving you more time and less stress.

If you want to think better, schedule time to think and hone your understanding of the problem.

Topley’s Top 10 – April 21, 2022

1. Tech vs. S&P Relative Price

Callum Thomas Chart Storm

https://chartstorm.substack.com/p/weekly-s-and-p500-chartstorm-17-april?s=r

2. U.S. Households in Best Shape 30 Years

Jim Reid-Deutsche Bank

FW: DB CoTD: US Households in best shape in 30 years… but does it matter?

Back in December I published “When the Fed hikes.. what happens next?” (link here) but while I was on holiday our equity strategists Binky Chadha and Parag Thatte published a much more comprehensive look at what happens to equities, sectors of the equity market, sectors of the economy, and many other things during hiking cycles. See it here.

Amongst a plethora of interesting graphs, one highlight was that showing US household’s cash now exceeds debt for the first time in three decades with net debt collapsing to zero. Clearly there will be distributional biases here but in aggregate the fiscal transfers from the pandemic have put US consumers in a decent balance sheet position. What can we conclude from this? Two things perhaps.

  1. The Fed may have to hike even more aggressively to slow consumer demand and curb price rises given their healthy balance sheets.
  2. While negative net debt is a sign of comfort, we had seven recessions between the early 1950s and early 1980s when it was also negative.

So all clear for a while perhaps with policy so accommodative, but a reminder that we think a hard landing will ultimately be unavoidable by late ‘23 / early ‘24 after an aggressive series of Fed hikes over the next 18 months.

3. Crypto Stocks Riot and Mara Testing Lows for the 4th Time in 2022

www.stockcharts.com

4. Stocks vs. Commodities History

Jeremy Schwartz WisdomTree

@JeremyDSchwartz

https://twitter.com/JeremyDSchwartz

5. ECB Rate Hikes This Year

Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-21/pace-of-ecb-rate-path-jolts-markets-with-july-hike-on-radar?cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_content=business&utm_source=twitter&sref=GGda9y2L

6. Debt and Twitter

NYT Deal Book-Andrew Sorkin

A debt-heavy deal for Twitter would be the largest leveraged buyout in decades. But Twitter isn’t the sort of company that can take on a lot of debt. It produces about $1 billion in operating earnings per year, and analysts say it could handle about $20 billion in additional debt on its balance sheet. If Musk’s bid stays above $40 billion, that leaves a lot of equity for him to scrounge up.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/20/business/dealbook/mask-mandates-airlines.html

7. Downtown Office Vacancies

Barry Ritholtz Blog

https://ritholtz.com/2022/04/10-tuesday-am-reads-377/

8. 20 Most Popular Cities for Renters 2021

Gabriel Cortés@GABECORTES

https://grow.acorns.com/us-cities-renters-moved-to-most-in-2021/

9. The Number of Murders in U.S. Up 40% Since 2019

 

Violence in America

Last week’s violent shooting in Brooklyn as well as recent killings in New Orleans and three mass shootings over Easter weekend are the latest tragic examples of a nationwide uptick in killings in the US over the last 3 years.

Preliminary estimates for 2021 show the murder rate in the US hitting 6.9 per 100,000 people, up 38% on the numbers for 2019.

Coming up with reasons why violent crime might be rising isn’t hard. Since 2019 we’ve had a global pandemic, lockdowns, high profile police killings, civil unrest, intense economic uncertainty, a fraught election, and now rising inflation on essential goods. Those things, and others, seem to be taking their toll.

www.chartr.com

10. 9 signs your coworker has narcissistic traits

Amy Morin

23 hours ago

  • Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, author, and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.
  • She says there are certain signs to look for if you think a coworker has narcissistic tendencies.
  • People with these traits may brag excessively, act jealous, or respond negatively to feedback.

We likely all exhibit some narcissistic tendencies sometimes. But there may be one coworker in the office who shows those tendencies more often than not.

That’s not to say they have a diagnosable mental illness, like narcissistic personality disorder. But their inflated sense of self may still cause problems at times, at least for those around them.

Here are nine signs your coworker has narcissistic tendencies.

1. They exaggerate their achievements

A colleague with narcissistic tendencies won’t just brag, they’ll embellish. You might hear things like, “I saved the whole company last year” or “Everyone always asks me for help because I’m the only one who knows how to make things happen around here.”

While they may come across like they’re full of themselves, they’re most likely hiding deep-rooted insecurities about not being good enough. The one thing they are confident about, however, is that you’ll believe their stories about how great they are.

2. They love to be the center of attention

They don’t want to hear your opinions or your stories. Instead, they want to use meetings and conversations to share about their favorite topic — themselves.

They might brag for a while, tell long-winded stories about themselves, or do things to get a laugh. Ultimately, they just want to ensure all the attention is on them.

3. They respond to feedback with aggression

Their delicate sense of self depends on being held in high regard so they can’t tolerate hearing anything unfavorable about themselves.

Their go-to defense mechanism is likely aggression. They may respond to criticism by yelling, making threats, or hurling insults. They’ll be desperate to prove the person providing the feedback is incompetent and inadequate.

4. They take advantage of their colleagues

People with narcissistic tendencies are often quite charming. They use flattery and short-lived kindness to convince people to do their work for them.

They may even play the role of the victim by offering sob stories that tug on their coworker’s heartstrings. Then, they prey on their sympathy by convincing coworkers to do favors for them.

5. They blame other people for their mistakes

They don’t want to look as if they don’t know what they’re doing, so if they make a mistake, they’ll be quick to blame other people, often in a degrading manner.

When they can’t blame specific people, they might blame the company for holding them back. The slow internet, impossible software, and lack of office space can all be blamed for any missteps.

6. They have trouble managing their emotions

While they may act aggressively on purpose sometimes, there may be other times when they genuinely struggle to manage their emotions. They’re likely to have a hard time handling frustration, anxiety, and other uncomfortable feelings.

When they can’t control their feelings, they may be quick to try to control the environment and the people in it. They may insist that everything be how they want it and that others accommodate their needs.

7. They believe they’re more special than everyone else

They fully expect to get special treatment from everyone around them. They may demand the biggest office or insist they be exempt from meetings.

Their exaggerated sense of self-importance is likely to wear thin on most people pretty fast, but there may be a few people who believe they should be revered.

8. They’re envious of other people

A coworker with narcissistic tendencies won’t be cheering anyone else on. In fact, they’re likely to resent anyone who gets recognition.

You might hear them say things like, “Well, she only got promoted because she flirts with the boss” or “He only closed that deal because I’d already laid the groundwork.”

9. They’re preoccupied with beauty, success, or brilliance

They often feel the need to be the best in all areas of life and may view life as a competition they have to win.

They may seek validation by insisting other people repeatedly tell them that they look young for their age or they may want everyone in the office to know their new love interest won a beauty contest. They’re focused on making sure they won’t be outdone by anyone in any area of their lives.

How to respond to narcissistic tendencies

A coworker with narcissistic tendencies loves attention, even if it’s negative. So while you can’t control their behavior, you can control how you respond. Ignoring their attempts to prove they’re the best might be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and for them.