Topley’s Top 10 – August 03, 2022

1. Gas Prices Down 50 Days in a Row-GasBuddy

2. Two Charts From Callum Thomas Sum Up Summer 2022….Insiders Buying vs. Consumer Hating Stocks

Insider Buying: Insiders busily scooping up bargains*

(*at least relative to the crazy valuations in 2021)

Source:  @jaykaeppel

3. Consumers hate stocks

Looking at the chart, they got it right in 2009, but patchy otherwise, mostly a contrarian bullish signal. Does go to show though the steady transition in mood as the macro backdrop got worse and worse this year.

Source:  @sentimentrader via @LanceRoberts

4. Annualized Growth in Areas of Inflation


“Retail are buying Bitcoin at the fastest rate in history,” Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at digital asset broker GlobalBlock, wrote in a late July note. 

One sign that U.S. investors are particularly crypto-hungry is the Coinbase Premium Gap, which measures the difference between Bitcoin prices quoted on Coinbase Global (ticker: COIN) and those on Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange. Since Coinbase is mostly popular in the U.S., the gap—tracked by data firm CryptoQuant—can be read as an indicator of how crypto demand among American investors stacks up relative to those in the rest of the world.

As recently as July 12, there was a $25 per Bitcoin discount on Coinbase compared to Binance, but as the month wore on the discount turned into a premium for the first time in months. By July 31, investors on U.S.-based Coinbase were paying a $14 per Bitcoin premium to scoop up the token, the highest premium since the crypto was changing hands around $40,000.

Other evidence supports the notion that it is primarily smaller traders who have swung in to buy Bitcoin while it has been trading at its lowest point since 2020. The total supply of Bitcoin in the largest 1% of accounts decreased to 17.32 million from 17.34 million across the month of July, according to crypto market intelligence firm Messari. By contrast, the supply of Bitcoin in accounts with more than $10,000 increased from 18.2 million to 18.4 million in July.

“The 90-day change in Bitcoin addresses with less than 1 coin (typically retail) is at record highs. The last time it was close to this high was in 2018 when Bitcoin peaked at around $20,000,” noted Sotiriou from GlobalBlock. “The fact that a similar rate of accumulation is happening now after a 70% drop demonstrates conviction from retail holders in Bitcoin’s long-term value.”

The same trend is mirrored in the crypto derivatives market, which accounts for two-thirds of exchange-traded digital asset volumes, according to CryptoCompare. In the U.S., Bitcoin futures are particularly popular among institutional investors, because these products are traded on the CME and regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The CME offers two types of Bitcoin futures: A standard contract which is valued at 5 Bitcoin, or more than $115,000 at current prices; and a micro contract valued at 10% of 1 Bitcoin, or about $2,300. The former contract is more popular with institutional investors, while the latter is geared more towards a retail crowd.

5. FED Already Back to Neutral

JP Morgan Private Wealth–The second is that we are probably closer to the end of the Fed’s rate hiking cycle than the beginning. The Fed acknowledged this backdrop of slowing growth in its policy statement. And while its primary focus is still on getting inflation back to target, in the press conference, it hinted that the worst of the tightening cycle is probably over. Two ideas help support this view.

The first is that the Fed thinks it is close to “neutral,” or the theoretical interest rate that neither stimulates nor restricts economic activity. This is important because a guiding principle for this tightening cycle has been to get to neutral as quickly as possible.

6. Russia is Europe’s biggest energy supplier – but the US is sending more gas by boat than Russia is by pipeline

Phil Rosen 

  • The US is now sending more gas to Europe by ship than Russia is sending by pipeline, per the Wall Street Journal. 
  • In July, US liquefied natural gas accounted for 13% of total supply to Europe, compared to 10% from Russian pipelines. 
  • Conflict in Ukraine shows no signs of easing, and the US has stepped in to help the EU amid a historic energy crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has redirected energy deliveries around the world, and one result has been that the US is now sending more gas to Europe by boat than Russia is by pipeline, ICIS data shows, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Since 1967, Gazprom’s pipelines in West Siberia and the Yamal peninsula have delivered huge amounts of gas to Europe but that precedent has been turned on its head in recent months.

In July, US liquefied natural gas accounted for 13% of total supply to Europe, compared to 10% from Russian pipelines. Pipelines from Norway were the top source of gas to the continent, while other sources include North African pipelines and Qatar liquefied natural gas supplies, as well as domestic production. 

Over the last six months, European wholesale gas prices have tripled as Moscow continues to tighten natural gas flows. State-run Gazprom, citing technical issues, cut Nord Stream 1 natural gas deliveries to Germany to 20% down from 40%.

The European Commission said that 12 member states are enduring severely reduced flows and a handful of nations have been entirely cut off. Just this week, Gazprom halted natural gas deliveries to Latvia

Now, the continent has turned to importing more Russian diesel amid its struggle to wean off other energy supplies from the country. Imports of Russian diesel are up 23% from a year ago, Vortexa data shows.

With conflict in Ukraine showing no signs of easing and the EU facing a historical energy crisis, the US has stepped in as an emergency energy supplier.

7. BABA-Alibaba Reports Tonight.

BABA-sold off back to lows…see if it holds tonight

8. Glencore Pays Out $4.45 Billion as Coal Drives Record Profit

Thomas Biesheuvel

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc will return an additional $4.45 billion to shareholders in dividends and share buybacks after first-half profit more than doubled to a record thanks to surging coal prices.

Glencore, the world’s top coal shipper, has been one of the biggest winners from the global energy crunch as demand surges for fossil fuels. The company’s sprawling trading business has also cashed in on dramatic price swings across markets from metals to oil following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

9. America’s Brewery Boom

Found at Zerohedge

10. How to Work with a Manipulative Person

by Liz Kislik

Summary.   What does it take to work with an office manipulator? In this piece, the author offers three strategies for dealing with a manipulator at work: First, be skeptical about receiving too much special attention from them. Manipulators don’t usually show their true colors at…more

Almost everyone who’s ever gone to work has had to deal with an office manipulator. Unfortunately, most employees hesitate to go public with their concerns. And with good reason: Even if they do, typical corporate responses range from wary or dismissive to actually retaliating against the victim, rather than the wrongdoer.

Unfortunately, many workplaces promote manipulators because they appear to be effective at getting things done, despite the significant costs their abuse can inflict on productivity and people over time. Particularly when you can’t get the hierarchy or other authorities to intervene on your behalf, it helps to have your own approaches for coping, short of legal action.

Over almost 30 years of consulting, I’ve encountered countless examples of manipulation, bullying, and inappropriate use of power. Three kinds of responses have proven to be consistently effective for confronting most garden-variety manipulators, even if you have less rank, power, or status. At a minimum, they’ll help you assert yourself and regain a sense of control rather than suffering in silence while you figure out your long-term plan.

First, be skeptical about receiving too much special attention. Manipulators don’t usually show their true colors at the beginning of a relationship. In fact, they often present themselves as allies or confidantes, because they need to draw you close to size up where your soft spots are and how much they can get from you. They’re skilled at assessing which employees are sophisticated and confident enough to stand on their own and which ones are eager to please or easy to shame.

It’s exciting if a powerful colleague or superior seems interested in you, but if you’ve heard scary things about them, it’s sensible to proceed with caution. In particular, note if someone treats you as their favorite — but includes little digs that make you feel bad about yourself, puts you down when talking with others, or pressures you to act against your own interests to stay on their good side.

One C-level executive I worked with was hurt by a colleague who claimed to be her supporter and good friend but constantly pointed out imperfections and mistakes in a way that seemed helpful at first but eventually undercut her confidence. Over time, she began to doubt her own instincts and started acting like the manipulative colleague’s sidekick rather than championing her own causes.

By the time the weaker executive recognized what was going on, she had trouble separating herself from her colleague and lost a significant amount of status and clout with her peers. Her credibility and self-image were shaken, and she was not able to regain her footing or influence until she left the company.

Second, be willing to risk small public confrontations. Sometimes the only way to expose a manipulator’s maneuverings is by confronting them in the moment. It can be hard to do this if you’re the junior party. Even senior people can be stunned into disbelief, or might be unable to think of what to say when someone is subverting normal standards of behavior and fair play, despite the organizational damage they know is being done. So when someone has both the moxie and the wit to intervene, it puts the manipulator on notice that their behavior has been detected, and it shows observers that it’s possible to intervene and keep others safe while moving the business forward.

During one client meeting I attended, an executive was making a report by phone while the rest of the leadership team was physically present. At one point, a vice president who had an extremely self-serving and manipulative reputation raised his eyebrows in apparent surprise, shook his head repeatedly, and at the end shrugged, as if to indicate to his peers in the room that he either didn’t agree with what his colleague was saying or didn’t understand why he was saying it — all without him saying a word.

The vice president on the phone had no idea that his credibility and content were being disparaged. I asked the manipulator directly: “Was there something you wanted to add? You looked like you disagreed strongly with what we just heard. Did you want to counter either the conclusion or any of the specifics, or are you comfortable with the report?”

The vice president in the room denied having any disagreement, but he was clearly uncomfortable at being put on the spot and could no longer lord it over or cast aspersions on his colleague. And his colleague was tipped off to the possibility that he had been undermined.

Third, refuse to keep secrets or to act as interpreter in ways that normalize underhanded behavior. Instead, be direct and straightforward and hold your ground. These schemers may treat you like a trusted insider, feeding you tidbits about other people’s inadequacies and failures, as if only you have the perspective and discretion to understand what’s important. Don’t be taken in by the implied flattery. Ask for details and specifics to flush out their intent: “I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Why are you telling me this? What is it you’re asking me to do?”

In another client company, I worked with a leader who was uncomfortable with direct conflict and who tried to get other people — including me — to convey messages that she was afraid to deliver. Rather than letting her hide her criticisms behind others, I would say things like, “You’ve been clear that you don’t like how James handled his team’s conflict. I’ll be happy to meet with you and James so that you can explain your concern, and then I can work with him on managing his team.” Now that she understands her own behavior pattern and has received support to change, she’s far less likely to offload uncomfortable situations to others.

If your position is senior to the manipulator’s, the most effective thing is to begin a rigorous plan of corrective action promptly, using approaches such as these and providing concrete behavioral feedback until they either drop their inappropriate habits or you remove them. And if you hold less power or influence, these three approaches will help you protect yourself and minimize their negative impact both on you and on the rest of the organization, for as long as you’re willing to stay in the game.