Topley’s Top 10 – December 08, 2023

1. November-5th Best 30 Day Performance Ever for AGG Bond Index

Nasdaq Dorsey Wright As we touched on in yesterday’s featured piece, the bond market has been on a tear since the end of October. A stark change in rate expectations surrounding Fed policy has helped buoy bonds to one of their best performances in three decades. The iShares US Core Bond ETF (AGG) returned a staggering 4.90% from November 1st through December 1st, which is its fifth-best 30-day performance in 30 years. The only other 30-day periods that were better took place at the end of 2008 (twice), April 2020, and December 2022. Coincidentally or not, this strong performance follows one of the worst 30-day periods for AGG which ended on October 3rd marking a decline of 4.55%. Another interesting observation is the similarity to last year which had one of the largest 30-day bond market declines ending in late September and one of the best 30-day rallies ending in early December, a very similar time frame to this year.

2. Muni Bonds (MUB) Similar Chart.

3. High-Yield ETF Rallies Back to January 2022 Levels.

4. Rates Dropped and S&P Rallied.

5. Retail investors are sitting out the stock resurgence-CNN Cash and Bonds ?

Analysis by Krystal Hur, CNN New York CNN — This year’s stock rally is back on course, but not everyone is on board.

The S&P 500 index in November notched its best monthly performance this year, snapping a three-month streak of steep losses as Wall Street became optimistic that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates. The revival in stocks, though off to a bumpy start in December, has been broad in reach, pulling up shares of everything from small caps to cyclical stocks.

Among the chief catalysts for the rally are swooning US Treasury yields. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note fell to 4.12% on Wednesday, well below the 5% it topped in late October, according to Tradeweb.

The glut of cash on the sidelines is “poised to fuel a significant rally in risk assets, offering investors an opportunity to potentially capitalize on improved sentiment and market dynamics,” wrote Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, in a note on Monday.

But analysts say that retail traders aren’t jumping into the stock market and might not anytime soon. Cash is still king for many.

The TD Ameritrade Investor Movement index for November, a measure of retail investor sentiment, revealed that the company’s clients were net sellers of stocks last month despite the market’s recovery. The index also recorded its lowest monthly reading since May.

“A lot of retail investors are just happy to not participate right now,” said Brian Mulberry, client portfolio manager at Zacks Investment Management.

There is a record $5.84 trillion parked in money market funds as of November 29, according to Investment Company Institute data. About $2.25 trillion of that cash is in retail money market funds.

While institutional investors are starting to pick at stocks poised to do well if the economy reaccelerates — explaining the rally’s widening breadth — retail traders are taking a more conservative approach, especially after seeing steep declines in their portfolios during last year’s sell-off, says Mulberry.

6. U.S. Technology Sector Vs. The World is No Contest

7. Open AI Valuation

Professor Scott Galloway Prof G Blog

8. 3200 Venture Backed Companies Have Gone Out of Business in 2023

NY Times By Erin Griffith WeWork raised more than $11 billion in funding as a private company. Olive AI, a health care start-up, gathered $852 million. Convoy, a freight start-up, raised $900 million. And Veev, a home construction start-up, amassed $647 million.

In the last six weeks, they all filed for bankruptcy or shut down. They are the most recent failures in a tech start-up collapse that investors say is only beginning.

After staving off mass failure by cutting costs over the past two years, many once-promising tech companies are now on the verge of running out of time and money. They face a harsh reality: Investors are no longer interested in promises. Rather, venture capital firms are deciding which young companies are worth saving and urging others to shut down or sell.

It has fueled an astonishing cash bonfire. In August, Hopin, a start-up that raised more than $1.6 billion and was once valued at $7.6 billion, sold its main business for just $15 million. Last month, Zeus Living, a real estate start-up that raised $150 million, said it was shutting down. Plastiq, a financial technology start-up that raised $226 million, went bankrupt in May. In September, Bird, a scooter company that raised $776 million, was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of its low stock price. Its $7 million market capitalization is less than the value of the $22 million Miami mansion that its founder, Travis VanderZanden, bought in 2021.

But approximately 3,200 private venture-backed U.S. companies have gone out of business this year, according to data compiled for The New York Times by PitchBook, which tracks start-ups. Those companies had raised $27.2 billion in venture funding. PitchBook said the data was not comprehensive and probably undercounts the total because many companies go out of business quietly. It also excluded many of the largest failures that went public, such as WeWork, or that found buyers, like Hopin.

From Unicorns to Zombies: Tech Start-Ups Run Out of Time and Money – The New York Times (

9. Comercial Real Estate Delinquencies Hit 10-Year High

10. This Proven 5-Step Method Helps You Fall Asleep Fast and Wake Up Rested, According to a Psychology PhD

Whatever you do, don’t look at the clock.


Even if you think you’re getting enough sleep, you may not be getting enough rest. That insight comes from Terry Lyles, a psychology PhD, a stress expert who coaches fighter pilots and firefighters, and co-author of the new book Becoming Invaluable. “Sleep is what our body needs,” he explains. “Rest is what our mind and soul need for the body to recover itself.” If you sleep but don’t rest, he explains, you’re likely to wake up the next morning still feeling tired.

You likely already know how incredibly important getting enough quality sleep is to every aspect of your life. Not getting proper sleep can affect your performance at work, impair your judgment (including your judgment about whether you need more sleep), and increase your risk of dementia. It’s hard to overstate how important getting enough sleep, and the right kind of sleep, is for every aspect of your well-being.

So how do you make sure you’re getting enough of the right kind of sleep? Here’s Lyles’s recipe for a restful night.

1. Have enough nightlights.
Your first step in this process begins way before you head for bed. You have to make sure there are enough nightlights so that if you need to get out of bed in the middle of the night, for instance to use the bathroom, you’ll be able to see your way there and back without having to turn on a light. “Don’t turn lights on,” he says. “Have nightlights set up in your house so that it’s low lit. Do what you have to do and get back in bed.” Turning on a light will jar you out of that restful state, making it harder for you to get back to sleep.

2. Put your phone away.
You’ve likely heard by now that looking at any kind of electronic screen, including your phone or a television, can interfere with restful sleep. Once you’re in bed and ready to go to sleep, don’t look at your phone anymore.
In particular, he says, if you wake up during the night for whatever reason, resist the temptation to grab your phone or turn on the television. “How quickly can you recover and go back to sleep?” he says. Turning on your phone or your television won’t help you do that. “The way to recover is to relax and know how to go back into that brainwave cycle that can get you back to an eventual REM sleep.” (REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep is the sleep stage where you dream, and it’s important for making you feel rested.)

3. Never look at the clock.
If you’re accustomed to checking your bedside clock or your watch if you wake up during the night, Lyles recommends getting out of that habit immediately. “Never look at the clock at night,” Lyles advises. “It’s worse than your cellphone.” Looking at the clock causes your left brain to take over, he says. That can make you start thinking about all the things you need to do or want to do for work.

Eventually, he says, you’ll fall back asleep because you’re tired. “But now you’ve got crazy dreams. Now you wake up not rested, even though you slept,” he says.

4. Reset your focus.
Lyles recommends meditation as a way to unwind and get into that sleep state. But when he says “meditation,” he doesn’t necessarily mean sitting cross-legged or reciting a mantra. “Meditation is misconstrued and misunderstood,” he says. “I teach athletes how to meditate in the midst of performance.”

Here’s an example, he says: “Everyone knows how to worry. That’s a trained muscle. Worry is negative meditation.” So, he says, change the object of your focus. “If you change the object to something awesome, something you’re grateful for, someone who loves you or whom you love? Boom! That’s meditation.”

Focusing on the wrong thing causes your body to release cortisol (sometimes called “the stress hormone”). “Now we wind up with all this imagery and distractability, and we’re afraid,” Lyles says. To stop this process, he recommends having a visualization prepared that you can mentally grab when you need it. “The mountains, the beach, it doesn’t matter,” he says. “Go there and take it in visually. Keep your eyes closed and breathe yourself back. Before long, you’re back asleep.”

5. Practice “4-1-4 breath.”
“You can actually breathe yourself to sleep,” Lyles says. This is because slowing down your breath slows your heartbeat and signals to your body that there is nothing to fear.

Lyles recommends “4-1-4 breath.” Breathe in for four seconds by counting to yourself “One one thousand, two one thousand,” and so on. Then hold your breath for one second, and breathe out for four seconds. By repeating that cycle, he says, “you literally put yourself to sleep because your body goes into that resting physical mode.”

Lyles says he teaches this approach to athletes lying on floor mats in a gym, and they usually fall asleep within five minutes. “We’re all fatigued, we’re all overused,” he says. “If you put your body in a restful state, your body will fall asleep. You don’t have to put yourself to sleep–it will go into sleep mode.”

There’s a growing audience of readers who receive a daily text from me with a self-care or motivational micro-challenge or tip. Often, they text me back and we wind up in a conversation. (Want to learn more? Here’s some information about the texts and a special invitation to an extended free trial.) Many are entrepreneurs or business leaders and they understand the importance of sleep and rest if they want to do their best work. These simple steps can help you get more of both.

This Proven 5-Step Method Helps You Fall Asleep Fast and Wake Up Rested, According to a Psychology PhD |