Topley’s Top 10 – July 30, 2021

1. American Consumer Net Worth All-Time Highs.

2. Stock Buybacks Set to Ramp Up


In the USA, Buybacks are going to start ramping post Earnings..

PKW Stock Buyback ETF…sideways since March

3. Short High Yield Bond ETF New Lows.

Spreads all time lows for high yield bonds but SJB short ETFs making new lows.

4. Inventory to Sales Ratio at Record Lows

United States: At the national level, inventories-to-sales ratios are at record lows.

Source: Deutsche Bank Research

The Daily Shot Blog

5. Blackrock Dominates ETP Market (Exchange Traded Product) ETFs

Source: Bloomberg via @EricBalchunas

From Barry Ritholtz Blog

6. Dow Jones Coal Index…$75 to $250 Since Nov. 2020

7. Renewables Became Second Most Prevalent Energy Source in 2020……..Coal was Cut in Half.

Morning Brew

8. A Look at What the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Would Do

The White House and bipartisan lawmakers have agreed on a package that would provide funding for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure

President Biden during an event marking Amtrak’s 50th anniversary in Philadelphia in April. The deal would inject $66 billion in rail to address Amtrak’s maintenance backlog and upgrade and expand service.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

By Madeleine Ngo

Published July 28, 2021Updated July 29, 2021, 8:11 a.m. ET

After weeks of debate and discussion, the White House and a bipartisan group of senators said on Wednesday that they had reached agreement on an infrastructure bill.

The $1 trillion package is far smaller than the $2.3 trillion plan that President Biden had originally proposed and would provide about $550 billion in new federal money for public transit, roads, bridges, water and other physical projects over the next five years, according to a White House fact sheet. That money would be cobbled together through a range of measures, including “repurposing” stimulus funds already approved by Congress, selling public spectrum and recouping federal unemployment funds from states that ended more generous pandemic benefits early.

Although Mr. Biden conceded that “neither side got everything they wanted,” he said the deal would create new union jobs and make significant investments in public transit.

“This deal signals to the world that our democracy can function, deliver and do big things,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “As we did with the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway, we will once again transform America and propel us into the future.”

Lawmakers have yet to release legislative text of the bill, and although the Senate voted to advance it in an initial vote on Wednesday evening, it still faces several hurdles. But if enacted, the package would mark a significant step toward repairing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and preparing it for the 21st century.

Here is a look at the bipartisan group’s agreement for the final package.

Funding for roads and bridges

The package provides $110 billion in new funding for roads, bridges and other major projects. The funds would be used to repair and rebuild with a “focus on climate change mitigation,” according to the White House.

That funding would only begin to chip away at some of the nation’s pressing infrastructure needs, transportation experts say. The most recent estimate by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that the nation’s roads and bridges have a $786 billion backlog of needed repairs.

Highway and pedestrian safety programs would receive $11 billion under the deal. Traffic deaths, which have increased during the pandemic, have taken a particular toll on people of color, according to a recent analysis from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Traffic fatalities among Black people jumped 23 percent in 2020 from the year before, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In comparison, traffic fatalities among white people increased 4 percent during the same time period.

The deal also includes funding dedicated to “reconnecting communities” by removing freeways or other past infrastructure projects that ran through Black neighborhoods and other communities of color. Although Mr. Biden originally proposed investing $20 billion in the new program, the latest deal includes only $1 billion.

Investments in public transit

Public buses, subways and trains would receive $39 billion in new funding, which would be used to repair aging infrastructure and modernize and expand transit service across the country.

While the amount of new funding for public transit was scaled back from a June proposal, which included $49 billion, the Biden administration said it would be the largest federal investment in public transit in history.

Yet the funds might not be enough to fully modernize the country’s public transit system. According to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, there is a $176 billion backlog for transit investments.

Big investments in rail and freight lines

The deal would inject $66 billion in rail to address Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, along with upgrading the high-traffic Northeast corridor from Washington to Boston (a route frequented by East Coast lawmakers). It would also expand rail service outside the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

Mr. Biden frequently points to his connection to Amtrak, which began in the 1970s, when he would travel home from Washington to Delaware every night to care for his two sons while serving in the Senate. The new funding would be the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created 50 years ago, according to the administration, and would come as the agency tries to significantly expand its service nationwide by 2035.

Clean water initiatives

The package would invest $55 billion in clean drinking water, which would be enough to replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. While Congress banned lead water pipes three decades ago, more than 10 million older ones remain, resulting in unsafe lead levels in cities and towns across the country.

Beefing up electric vehicles

To address the effects of climate change, the deal would invest $7.5 billion in building out the nation’s network of electric vehicle charging stations, which could help entice more drivers to switch to such cars by getting rid of so-called charger deserts. The package would also expand America’s fleet of electric school buses by investing $2.5 billion in zero-emission buses.

See more

Funding the investments

How to pay for the spending has been one of the most contentious areas, with Republicans opposed to Mr. Biden’s plan to raise taxes and empower the I.R.S. to help pay for the package. Instead, the bipartisan group has agreed on a series of so-called pay-fors that largely repurpose already-approved funds, rely on accounting changes to raise funds and, in some cases, assume the projects will ultimately pay for themselves.

The biggest funding source is $205 billion that the group says will come from “repurposing of certain Covid relief dollars.” The government has approved trillions in pandemic stimulus funds, and much, but not all, of it has been allocated. The proposal does not specify which money will be repurposed, but Republicans have pushed for the Treasury Department to take back funds from the $350 billion that Democrats approved in March to help states, local governments and tribes deal with pandemic-related costs.

Another $53 billion is assumed to come from states that ended more generous federal unemployment benefits early and return that money to the Treasury Department. An additional $28 billion is pegged to requiring more robust reporting around cryptocurrencies, and $56 billion is presumed to come from economic growth “resulting from a 33 percent return on investment in these long-term infrastructure projects.”

9. Taliban is Assassinating Afghan Pilots.

Reuters–Special Report: Afghan pilots assassinated by Taliban as U.S. withdraws

Phil StewartIdrees AliHamid Shalizi

A member of the Afghan air force marshals in an A-29 Super Tucano at Hamid Karzai International Airport near Kabul, Afghanistan, January 15, 2016. Picture taken January 15, 2016. To match Special Report USA-AFGHANISTAN/PILOTS U.S. Air

KABUL, July 9, (Reuters) – Afghan Air Force Major Dastagir Zamaray had grown so fearful of Taliban assassinations of off-duty forces in Kabul that he decided to sell his home to move to a safer pocket of Afghanistan’s sprawling capital.

Instead of being greeted by a prospective buyer at his realtor’s office earlier this year, the 41-year-old pilot was confronted by a gunman who walked inside and, without a word, fatally shot the real estate agent in the mouth.

Zamaray reached for his sidearm but the gunman shot him in the head. The father of seven collapsed dead on his 14-year-old son, who had tagged along. The boy was spared, but barely speaks anymore, his family says.

Zamaray “only went there because he personally knew the realtor and thought it was safe,” Samiullah Darman, his brother-in-law, told Reuters. “We didn’t know that he would never come back.”

At least seven Afghan pilots, including Zamaray, have been assassinated off base in recent months, according to two senior Afghan government officials. This series of targeted killings, which haven’t been previously reported, illustrate what U.S. and Afghan officials believe is a deliberate Taliban effort to destroy one of Afghanistan’s most valuable military assets: its corps of U.S.- and NATO-trained military pilots.

In so doing, the Taliban — who have no air force — are looking to level the playing field as they press major ground offensives. The militants are quickly seizing territory once controlled by the U.S.-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani, raising fears they could eventually try to topple Kabul.

Reuters confirmed the identities of two of the slain pilots through family members. It could not independently verify the names of the other five who were allegedly targeted.

In response to questions from Reuters, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the group had killed Zamaray, and that it had started a program that will see Afghan Air Force pilots “targeted and eliminated because all of them do bombardment against their people.”

A U.N. report documented 229 civilian deaths caused by the Taliban in Afghanistan in the first three months of 2021, and 41 civilian deaths caused by the Afghan Air Force over the same period.

Afghanistan’s government has not publicly disclosed the number of pilots assassinated in targeted killings. The nation’s Defense Ministry did not respond to requests for comment. The Pentagon said it was aware of the deaths of several Afghan pilots in killings claimed by the Taliban, but declined comment on U.S. intelligence and investigations.

Afghan military pilots are particularly attractive assassination targets, current and former U.S. and Afghan officials say. They can strike Taliban forces massing for major attacks, shuttle commandos to missions and provide life-saving air cover for Afghan ground troops. Pilots take years to train and are hard to replace, representing an outsized blow to the country’s defenses with every loss.

Shoot-downs and accidents are ever-present risks. Yet these pilots often are most vulnerable in the streets of their own neighborhoods, where attackers can come from anywhere, said retired U.S. Brigadier General David Hicks, who commanded the training effort for the Afghan Air Force from 2016 to 2017.

“Their lives were at much greater risk during that time (off base) than they were while they were flying combat missions,” Hicks said.

Although Taliban assassinations of pilots have happened in years past, the recent killings take on greater significance as the Afghan Air Force is tested like never before.

Just last week, U.S. forces left America’s main military bastion in Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, as they complete their withdrawal from the country 20 years after ousting the Taliban following the Al Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

10. Top Meaningful Activities

Before discussing the study, let me quickly describe two common paths to psychological well-being: Living a happy life and living a meaningful life.

·  Happy life: A pleasurable life of safety, security, and comfort.

·  Meaningful life: A life of self-actualization and pursuit of worthy goals.

Arash Emamzadeh (adapted from Hooker et al., 2020)

Psychology Today

Are Meaningful Daily Activities Linked to Well-Being? Arash Emamzadeh


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