Topley’s Top 10 – February 17, 2021

1. Wood-Lumber ETF +100% from Lows.

WOOD-50 day blue line going thru 200 day red on the upside.

2. Bitcoin and Cannabis Stocks Trading in Tandem.

From Dave Lutz at Jones Trading

3. Colorado’s Record-Breaking Marijuana Sales Top $2 Billion In 2020….$350m in Taxes and Fees to State.

Several other states also saw huge cannabis sales numbers last year.

By Robert Davis | The Center Square

Colorado’s total marijuana sales surpassed $2 billion in 2020, the highest amount since legalization, the state’s Department of Revenue (CDOR) said Tuesday.

State dispensaries brought in $175,145,246 in November, a 17 percent increase from 2019. In return, the state reaped $32,383,094 in revenue from taxes and fees.

Colorado’s sales were $1.7 billion in 2019 and $1.5 billion in 2018. The state brought in $387,480,110 in taxes and fees in 2020.

Since the state began collecting tax revenue on marijuana sales in February 2014, Colorado has brought in almost $1.6 billion in taxes on nearly $9.8 billion in total sales.

Colorado collects a 2.9 percent sales tax from both medical and recreational marijuana sales, and a 15 percent excise tax on retail marijuana.

State law requires marijuana tax revenue to be appropriated to local governments and the state’s education, transportation, and marijuana cash tax funds, depending on which tax source it comes from.

Sixty-fix percent of the total revenue comes from the state’s 15 percent retail excise tax, and 90 percent of this subtotal is reserved for the general fund while local governments are given the remaining 10 percent.

In December, the general fund retained $19,043,188 while local governments received $2,115,909, according to CDOR data.

While total sales are through the roof, month-over-month sales continue to dip. November was the fourth consecutive month of declining sales. Retail marijuana sales have taken the sharpest hit, while medical marijuana sales have remained fairly level, according to CDOR data.

Denver County experienced the most significant drop in sales overall. The county saw a $15 million drop in recreational sales and a $5 million drop in medical sales.

This piece was first published by The Center Square.

Marijuana sales proved strong in multiple legal states in 2020.

Marijuana Moment has also been tracking cannabis sales data from other states. The following supplemental information was not written by The Center Square. 

In Illinois, there were more than $1 billion in marijuana purchases in 2020, state data released earlier this month shows. Recreational sales launched in the state one year ago, and it has since seen a significant upward trend in purchases, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The sales figures are resulting in a much-needed windfall for state programs. In October, officials announced that the state had so far collected more than $100 million in revenue from cannabis sales since the market opened.

California marijuana sales have also been going strong despite the pandemic. State officials said in November that they were on track to exceed $1 billion in cannabis purchases in 2020.

As of November, Massachusetts marijuana sales had officially exceeded $1 billion since the adult-use system launched in 2018, according to state regulators.

Over the summer, monthly cannabis sales in Oregon had averaged more than $100 million.

“Marijuana sales continue to be strong,” Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis said in September. “Since the pandemic began, the increase in recreational sales have been more than 30 percent above forecast.

4. Global Dow Break-Out

Chris Ciovacco



5. BofA Clients With $614 Billion Hike Risk-Taking to New Records

Ksenia Galouchko-(Bloomberg) — Bank of America Corp. clients with $614 billion combined are in the throes of an unprecedented frenzy of risk-taking, as more Wall Street banks sound the alarm on greed across markets.

After a week which recorded the strongest-ever inflow into stocks, a record net 25% of investors surveyed by the investment bank this month are taking higher-than-normal risks. Cash levels slumped to the lowest since 2013, while optimism on cyclical risk assets rose to the highest since 2011.

All this is being fueled by unprecedented optimism on the growth outlook, with 84% of fund managers expecting global corporate profits to improve over the next 12 months. For the first time in a year, investors say companies should focus on spending rather than improving their balance sheets.

As a JPMorgan Chase & Co. gauge of cross-asset complacency, including valuations, positioning and price momentum, hits the highest in two decades, BofA clients aren’t concerned about market exuberance. Just 13% say that U.S. stocks are in a bubble, while 53% see a late-stage bull market.

With a bond “tantrum” dubbed the second tail risk after the vaccine rollout, bond allocations dropped 3 percentage points to a 62% underweight — the lowest since March 2018.

Nearly a year after the Covid-19 crisis fueled an unprecedented rout in global markets, stimulus measures and vaccination efforts are pushing investors into reflation trades of all stripes. But after a record flood of money into equity funds, BofA strategists have warned that such exuberance may precede a correction.

Other highlights of the Feb. 5 to 11 survey:

Cyclical rotation paused in February, with investors boosting equity exposure to tech, healthcare and consumer staples versus JanuaryExposure to commodities and equities is at decade-highsLong tech stocks retook its top spot as the world’s most-crowded trade, followed by long Bitcoin, short U.S. dollar and long ESGAllocation to U.S. stocks increased 5 percentage points to net 9% overweightExposure to euro-area stocks dropped 9 points to net 20% overweightAllocation to EM equities dropped 5 points to net 57% overweight, remaining the most-preferred regionExposure to U.K. equities increased 5 points to 10% underweight, remaining the top regional underweight

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©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

6. Global Revenues…GM, F, Tesla…..Vs. Market Cap.

Wolf Street Blog

Tesla, GM, Ford Together in Ludicrous-Mode WTF Chartsby Wolf Richter

7. Euro Banks vs. U.S. Banks Costs as a Percentage of Revenues.

WSJ- By Patricia Kowsmannand Margot Patrick

European Banks Use Pandemic to Clean House

8. Manhattan’s Luxury Market Has Busiest Week in Five Years

A whopping 38 high-end homes went into contract last week, according to Olshan Realty


There were 38 contracts signed on luxury homes in Manhattan last week.


An impressive 38 high-end Manhattan homes found buyers in the week ending Sunday, marking the borough’s busiest luxury week in close to five years, according to the latest luxury report from Olshan Realty on Monday.

The “spectacular number,” is the highest level of luxury contracts—defined as those asking $4 million or more—signed since the first week of August 2016. And collectively those deals totaled $351.5 million, the most since December 2017, wrote Donna Olshan, president of the eponymous company.

More: Political Power Shift Could Generate Changes in the U.S. Luxury Housing Market

The prosperous week signals a continuation of the strong market that emerged after the November election, driven by a mixture of components, including the Covid-19 vaccine, low interest rates, a robust stock market and meaningful discounts, Mansion Global previously reported.

The most expensive home to secure a buyer last week was a penthouse at 215 East 19th St. at The Tower at Gramercy Square. Spanning almost 7,000 square feet, the five-bedroom apartment was asking $29.5 million.

The local buyers first viewed the unit in March over FaceTime, before returning several times during the summer and fall, according to Matthew Mackay of Douglas Elliman, who had the listing.

“It was complicated by long negotiations involving the buyers’ desire to install a pool. We had to get involved with engineering, and it took probably at least three months to negotiate the price,” Mr. Mackay said in the report. “The buyers were really specific. They wanted views and privacy, as well as a very large outdoor space and a pool was the priority.”

The second-priciest contract signed was on a duplex apartment at Walker Tower, on 212 West 18th St in Chelsea. Asking $27.8 million, the four-bedroom home’s footprint covers 4,748 square feet, plus there’s a 686-square-foot terrace.

From Penta: New York Fashion Week Will Look a Little Different, Again

The market’s strength isn’t limited to the top end of the industry. The borough’s overall market recorded an unseasonably active second week of February as buyers hunted for early year deals, according to UrbanDigs.

The number of contracts signed from Feb. 5-11 increased to the highest level since early June 2017, and buyers are moving fast.

“Properties are being snatched off the market almost as soon as they’re listed,” John Walkup, co-founder and COO of UrbanDigs, wrote in the report, noting that the average time a Manhattan home spent on the market dropped to its lowest level in nearly five years.

9. WHO approves AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

By Reuters Staff

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, widening access to the relatively inexpensive shot in the developing world.

FILE PHOTO: A vial of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is pictured at St. Mary’s Hospital, in Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland, February 14, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

“We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines. But we still need to scale up production,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, told a news briefing.

“We continue to call for COVID19 vaccine developers to submit their dossiers to WHO for review at the same time as they submit them to regulators in high-income countries,” he said.

A WHO statement said it had approved the vaccine as produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India.

“In the first half of 2021, it is hoped that more than 300 million doses of the vaccine will be made available to 145 countries through COVAX, pending supply and operational challenges”, the British drugmaker said in a separate statement announcing the approval.

The listing by the UN health agency comes days after a WHO panel provided interim recommendations on the vaccine, saying two doses with an interval of around 8 to 12 weeks should be given to all adults, and can be used in countries with the South African variant of the coronavirus as well.

The WHO’s review found that the Astrazeneca vaccine met the “must-have” criteria for safety, and its efficacy benefits outweighed its risks.


The AstraZeneca/Oxford shot has been hailed because it is cheaper and easier to distribute than some rivals, including Pfizer/BioNTech’s, which was listed for emergency use by the WHO late in December.

Nearly 109 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and more than 2.5 million have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine makes up the lion’s share of doses in the COVAX coronavirus vaccine sharing initiative, with more than 330 million doses of the shot due to begin being rolled out to poorer countries from the end of February.

The WHO established its emergency use listing (EUL) process to help poorer countries without their own regulatory resources quickly approve medicines new diseases like COVID-19, which otherwise could lead to delays.

The COVAX Facility, which is co-led by GAVI, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the U.N. Children’s Fund, has said doses would cover an average of 3.3% of total populations of 145 participating countries.

Reporting by John Revill, John Miller, Michael Shields in Zurich, Kate Kelland in London, Additional reporting by Nandakumar D, Editing by William Maclean

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


10. Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

written by JAMES CLEAR


The economist J.K. Galbraith once wrote, “Faced with a choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof.”

Leo Tolstoy was even bolder: “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”

What’s going on here? Why don’t facts change our minds? And why would someone continue to believe a false or inaccurate idea anyway? How do such behaviors serve us?

The Logic of False Beliefs

Humans need a reasonably accurate view of the world in order to survive. If your model of reality is wildly different from the actual world, then you struggle to take effective actions each day.

However, truth and accuracy are not the only things that matter to the human mind. Humans also seem to have a deep desire to belong.

In Atomic Habits, I wrote, “Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn the respect and approval of our peers. Such inclinations are essential to our survival. For most of our evolutionary history, our ancestors lived in tribes. Becoming separated from the tribe—or worse, being cast out—was a death sentence.”

Understanding the truth of a situation is important, but so is remaining part of a tribe. While these two desires often work well together, they occasionally come into conflict.

In many circumstances, social connection is actually more helpful to your daily life than understanding the truth of a particular fact or idea. The Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker put it this way, “People are embraced or condemned according to their beliefs, so one function of the mind may be to hold beliefs that bring the belief-holder the greatest number of allies, protectors, or disciples, rather than beliefs that are most likely to be true.”

We don’t always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about.

I thought Kevin Simler put it well when he wrote, “If a brain anticipates that it will be rewarded for adopting a particular belief, it’s perfectly happy to do so, and doesn’t much care where the reward comes from — whether it’s pragmatic (better outcomes resulting from better decisions), social (better treatment from one’s peers), or some mix of the two.”

False beliefs can be useful in a social sense even if they are not useful in a factual sense. For lack of a better phrase, we might call this approach “factually false, but socially accurate.” When we have to choose between the two, people often select friends and family over facts.

This insight not only explains why we might hold our tongue at a dinner party or look the other way when our parents say something offensive, but also reveals a better way to change the minds of others.

Facts Don’t Change Our Minds. Friendship Does.

Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. You have to give them somewhere to go. Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if loneliness is the outcome.

The way to change people’s minds is to become friends with them, to integrate them into your tribe, to bring them into your circle. Now, they can change their beliefs without the risk of being abandoned socially.

The British philosopher Alain de Botton suggests that we simply share meals with those who disagree with us:

“Sitting down at a table with a group of strangers has the incomparable and odd benefit of making it a little more difficult to hate them with impunity. Prejudice and ethnic strife feed off abstraction. However, the proximity required by a meal – something about handing dishes around, unfurling napkins at the same moment, even asking a stranger to pass the salt – disrupts our ability to cling to the belief that the outsiders who wear unusual clothes and speak in distinctive accents deserve to be sent home or assaulted. For all the large-scale political solutions which have been proposed to salve ethnic conflict, there are few more effective ways to promote tolerance between suspicious neighbours than to force them to eat supper together.”

Perhaps it is not difference, but distance that breeds tribalism and hostility. As proximity increases, so does understanding. I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”

Facts don’t change our minds. Friendship does.

The Spectrum of Beliefs

Years ago, Ben Casnocha mentioned an idea to me that I haven’t been able to shake: The people who are most likely to change our minds are the ones we agree with on 98 percent of topics.

If someone you know, like, and trust believes a radical idea, you are more likely to give it merit, weight, or consideration. You already agree with them in most areas of life. Maybe you should change your mind on this one too. But if someone wildly different than you proposes the same radical idea, well, it’s easy to dismiss them as a crackpot.

One way to visualize this distinction is by mapping beliefs on a spectrum. If you divide this spectrum into 10 units and you find yourself at Position 7, then there is little sense in trying to convince someone at Position 1. The gap is too wide. When you’re at Position 7, your time is better spent connecting with people who are at Positions 6 and 8, gradually pulling them in your direction.

The most heated arguments often occur between people on opposite ends of the spectrum, but the most frequent learning occurs from people who are nearby. The closer you are to someone, the more likely it becomes that the one or two beliefs you don’t share will bleed over into your own mind and shape your thinking. The further away an idea is from your current position, the more likely you are to reject it outright.

When it comes to changing people’s minds, it is very difficult to jump from one side to another. You can’t jump down the spectrum. You have to slide down it.

Any idea that is sufficiently different from your current worldview will feel threatening. And the best place to ponder a threatening idea is in a non-threatening environment. As a result, books are often a better vehicle for transforming beliefs than conversations or debates.

In conversation, people have to carefully consider their status and appearance. They want to save face and avoid looking stupid. When confronted with an uncomfortable set of facts, the tendency is often to double down on their current position rather than publicly admit to being wrong.

Books resolve this tension. With a book, the conversation takes place inside someone’s head and without the risk of being judged by others. It’s easier to be open-minded when you aren’t feeling defensive.

Arguments are like a full frontal attack on a person’s identity. Reading a book is like slipping the seed of an idea into a person’s brain and letting it grow on their own terms. There’s enough wrestling going on in someone’s head when they are overcoming a pre-existing belief. They don’t need to wrestle with you too.

Why False Ideas Persist

There is another reason bad ideas continue to live on, which is that people continue to talk about them.

Silence is death for any idea. An idea that is never spoken or written down dies with the person who conceived it. Ideas can only be remembered when they are repeated. They can only be believed when they are repeated.

I have already pointed out that people repeat ideas to signal they are part of the same social group. But here’s a crucial point most people miss:

People also repeat bad ideas when they complain about them. Before you can criticize an idea, you have to reference that idea. You end up repeating the ideas you’re hoping people will forget—but, of course, people can’t forget them because you keep talking about them. The more you repeat a bad idea, the more likely people are to believe it.

Let’s call this phenomenon Clear’s Law of Recurrence: The number of people who believe an idea is directly proportional to the number of times it has been repeated during the last year—even if the idea is false.

Each time you attack a bad idea, you are feeding the very monster you are trying to destroy. As one Twitter employee wrote, “Every time you retweet or quote tweet someone you’re angry with, it helps them. It disseminates their BS. Hell for the ideas you deplore is silence. Have the discipline to give it to them.”

Your time is better spent championing good ideas than tearing down bad ones. Don’t waste time explaining why bad ideas are bad. You are simply fanning the flame of ignorance and stupidity.

The best thing that can happen to a bad idea is that it is forgotten. The best thing that can happen to a good idea is that it is shared. It makes me think of Tyler Cowen’s quote, “Spend as little time as possible talking about how other people are wrong.”

Feed the good ideas and let bad ideas die of starvation.

The Intellectual Soldier

I know what you might be thinking. “James, are you serious right now? I’m just supposed to let these idiots get away with this?”

Let me be clear. I’m not saying it’s never useful to point out an error or criticize a bad idea. But you have to ask yourself, “What is the goal?”

Why do you want to criticize bad ideas in the first place? Presumably, you want to criticize bad ideas because you think the world would be better off if fewer people believed them. In other words, you think the world would improve if people changed their minds on a few important topics.

If the goal is to actually change minds, then I don’t believe criticizing the other side is the best approach.

Most people argue to win, not to learn. As Julia Galef so aptly puts it: people often act like soldiers rather than scouts. Soldiers are on the intellectual attack, looking to defeat the people who differ from them. Victory is the operative emotion. Scouts, meanwhile, are like intellectual explorers, slowly trying to map the terrain with others. Curiosity is the driving force.

If you want people to adopt your beliefs, you need to act more like a scout and less like a soldier. At the center of this approach is a question Tiago Forte poses beautifully, “Are you willing to not win in order to keep the conversation going?”

Be Kind First, Be Right Later

The brilliant Japanese writer Haruki Murakami once wrote, “Always remember that to argue, and win, is to break down the reality of the person you are arguing against. It is painful to lose your reality, so be kind, even if you are right.”

When we are in the moment, we can easily forget that the goal is to connect with the other side, collaborate with them, befriend them, and integrate them into our tribe. We are so caught up in winning that we forget about connecting. It’s easy to spend your energy labeling people rather than working with them.

The word “kind” originated from the word “kin.” When you are kind to someone it means you are treating them like family. This, I think, is a good method for actually changing someone’s mind. Develop a friendship. Share a meal. Gift a book.

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