Topley’s Top 10 – December 27, 2023

1. Electric Vehicle Makers Market Cap -75%

2. American Households are Close to Record Levels of Equity Ownership

Marketwatch Barbara Kollmeyer That percentage is down from a record of 40.5% in the fourth quarter of 2021, but still well above any other period prior to the current business cycle, he says.

3. High Yield Bond ETF at New Highs.

4. U.S. Dollar Will Be A Leading Chart to Watch in 2024

Dollar failed at previous high

Dollar trades back to 200-day moving average

5. Investors Biggest Underweight to Commodities in 5 Years

Commodities: Fund managers are underweight commodities.

Source: BofA Global Research The Daily Shot Blog

6. Citigroup Making Some Controversial Changes.

C chart 50day thru 200day to upside.

C chart closes above 200-week moving average on long-term chart

7. $10B Out of Blackrock ESG

8. Modular Homes Making Comeback

In a tough real estate market, a century-old housing idea could make a comeback-Joe D’Allegro@JOEOFHAPPINESS


Modular construction, which has roots going back a century, could be poised to gain in popularity as new investors fund the concept.

Many modular home builders are small and regional, but Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes is among the national homebuilder companies in the market.

The concept appeals to homebuyers and startups focused on sustainable and affordable housing, but it remains very much on the margins of the real estate market in the U.S., representing less than 4% of inventory.

A century ago, a first-time homebuyer might begin their search in a catalog for a kit-built home from Sears and others. In today’s real estate market, the idea rarely registers in house hunting. But with affordability stretched to an extreme and more buyers thinking about sustainability, the modular home — the kit home’s descendent — could be poised for the spotlight.

In the least, U.S. consumers looking to build an efficient and sustainable home should consider going modular. Green construction experts generally agree that modular construction generates less waste and causes less disruption to plants and animals on building sites. And instead of thousands of pieces of lumber, nails, and roofing material that you’d have received with those century-ago kits, modular homes today come in fewer but far larger pieces — assembled in a manufacturer’s facilities, then shipped to the home site, where they’re assembled together. In fact, the modules that make up a modular home can be the size of whole rooms. Typically, it is only the home’s foundation that is actually built on-site.

Modular construction has also attracted interest from affordable housing advocates with mortgage rates, though now on the decline, having reached as high as 8% this year and home prices up in almost every major metro market. The first of up to 2,000 single-family modular homes are being assembled in Chicago’s Southside and will be available for about a $1,000 down payment thanks to a partnership between city and state governments and area non-profits. A smaller affordable modular home project is planned for the Maryland suburbs outside Washington, D.C. Modular dwellings have also been used to combat homelessness in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere. The issue was raised this week in the op-ed section of the New York Times.

9. How to Read an Annual Report

10. Mark Cuban shares the No. 1 jargon word he hates the most: ‘You sound stupid … trying to sound smart’

Tom Huddleston Jr. Mark Cuban is no fan of jargon — and the billionaire is far from alone.

It may be tempting to try slipping in a more complicated word when you want to impress someone, like your boss or a potential employer. But using jargon words when you could opt for something simple and clear instead, typically has the opposite effect, according to Cuban.

“Always use the simpler word,” Cuban told Wired in an October video Q&A.

When asked for the “business buzzword” that annoys him the most, Cuban immediately had one in mind.

“There’s no reason to ever use the word ‘cohort’ when you could use the word ‘group,‘” he said. “A cohort is a group of people. Say ‘group.’ You sound stupid when you use the word ‘cohort,’ because you’re trying to sound smart.”

Corporate jargon and buzzwords often wear on the nerves of those who hear them repeatedly. Terms like “new normal,” “company culture” and “circle back” topped a recent list of most annoying examples, according to a survey of more than 1,500 Americans conducted by language learning platform Preply.

Cuban is in agreement with the likes of fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, who likes to keep things as simple as possible. Buffett writes his annual shareholders letter as if he’s speaking to his two sisters — which, of course, means no jargon — he said in 2019.

Elon Musk, currently the world’s wealthiest person, also disdains jargon, especially in the workplace.

“Don’t use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication,” he wrote in a 2018 letter to Tesla employees. “We don’t want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla.”

Using overly-complicated words in order to sound intelligent actually has the opposite effect: It makes you sound less intelligent and can also muddle your message, studies show.

“We use jargon when we’re feeling insecure, to try to help us feel like we have a higher status,” Adam Galinsky, a Columbia Business School professor of leadership and ethics, wrote in an August article for the school’s website.

That creates an effect where using overly-complicated terms, where simpler ones would easily suffice, gives off the impression that you’re insecure about your own intelligence and trying to overcompensate. Instead, you’re better off speaking plainly and concisely, according to experts.

“People who have higher status are more concerned with articulating themselves and communicating effectively,” Galinsky wrote. In other words: It’s the most effective way to get your point across, and it’s more likely to impress than overreaching with jargon.