Topley’s Top 10 – January 30, 2023

1. S&P 50 Day thru 200 Day to Upside

2. VIX Volatility Index Hits 6-Month Lows

3. China vs. India 2023

After 2022 India outperformance….China taking lead 2023….this chart shows MCHI (China) vs. INDA (India)…50 day thru 200 day to upside.

4. S&P 500 Buyback Machines

This week, energy giant Chevron announced plans to buy back $75bn of its shares, five times the oil giant’s current buyback plan, along with an increase in dividend payouts. A prevailing theme from our 2022 in 5 charts was how it was the year for stuff-that-comes-out-of-the-ground — with Chevron’s oil and gas clearly no exception.
Along with dividends, buybacks are one of the two main ways that companies reward shareholders for their investment. By buying shares in the open market and then retiring them, buybacks reduce the share count in the company. So if you own a slice of Chevron — and the company does a buyback — your slice of the company gets bigger… and therefore more valuable. Although technically illegal in the US until 1982, buybacks have become the preferred way for companies to throw off cash. That’s partly because companies can be more opportunistic about them, but it’s also because they essentially reward shareholders with capital gains, rather than income, which is generally more tax efficient. Apple has been the king of the buyback, splurging $500bn+ on purchasing more than one-third of its outstanding shares in the last 10 years.
The buyback blowbackAt the company level, buybacks can sometimes signal a lack of imagination — suggesting that the company hasn’t got any projects that it deems worth pursuing relative to just returning cash to shareholders.
More widely, buybacks have become something of a political football. Last year, after much back-and-forth, a new 1% tax on buybacks was signed into law. On 2022’s figures, that would net the US treasury ~$8bn a year, which some have lauded as a victory for the non-shareholder class, while others have called it simply a “tax on savers & investors”.

5. Energy Charts

$Brent Crude Oil 50day thru 200day back in September….multiple lower highs

Oil Service stocks hit new highs


VDE Vanguard Energy ETF no new high yet

6. Blackrock 60/40 Portfolio

60/40 closes above 200 day after failing twice in Nov/Dec 2022…however 50day still below 200day….200day still sloping downward

7. China $2 Trillion in Savings Pent Up from Covid Lockdown

WYNN Resorts Doubles Since November

Louis Vuitton Luxury Goods Breaks Out to New Highs

8. Which Are the Best States for Raising a Family?

By Michael Kolomatsky

9. NYC Hotel Prices Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Torsten Slok The chart below shows the price of staying at a hotel in Manhattan, Midtown, and Times Square, and the average daily rate is now above its pre-pandemic level. Looking across a broad range of daily and weekly indictors the consumer is still doing fine. The interest rate-sensitive components of GDP are softer, but the overall picture continues to look like a soft landing, see also our attached chart book.

Torsten Slok, Ph.D.Chief Economist, PartnerApollo Global Management

10. Determination vs. Talent

FS-Farnam Street

The difference between open and closed-minded people:

Over time, the person who approaches life with an openness to being wrong and a willingness to learn outperforms the person who doesn’t.

— Source


“One sign that determination matters more than talent: there are lots of talented people who never achieve anything, but not that many determined people who don’t.”

— Paul Graham


The Three Types of Listening:

“Listening to win is, ‘Let me make the problem go away by telling you, you don’t have a problem.’ Listening to learn is getting underneath what’s being said and reflecting back to the person. And listening to fix is, ‘Let me take your problem and solve it for you, or help you solve it.'”

A new episode of The Knowledge Project Podcast is now available, featuring a conversation with Carolyn Coughlin. This episode is filled with practical insights on improving your relationships by becoming a better listener. Listen or read the transcript.