TOPLEY’S TOP 10 June 04 2024

1. Penny Stock Volume

From Dave Lutz at Jones Trading Seven of the top 10 most traded US equities in May, as measured by the number of shares bought and sold, are penny stocks worth less than $1, according to Cboe Global  Markets. None of the companies are profitable.  The huge volumes in so many little-known stocks suggest renewed appetite among  retail investors for cheap names in which they believe they can quickly make a lot of  money, FT reports.
“Penny stocks are not the same as the meme stock phenomenon, but let’s say they  rhyme. It’s people willing to put fundamentals aside and chase returns,” said Steve  Sosnick, chief market strategist at retail broker Interactive Brokers.

2. Bullish Bets in US Stock Futures at 12-Year Highs

I am not familiar with this chart.
Barbara Kollmeyer Marketwatch
In a separate note, strategists led by Mislav Matejka point out that apart from a “complacent technical picture,” positioning is looking stretched headed into summer. Their below chart shows U.S. equity futures positioning, which has been above average all year, is now the highest in a dozen years:

3. Dell -25% From Highs But Still Up 76% YTD

4. Record Number of Global Elections in 2024….Mexico Market and Currency Down -10% Post-Election.

EWW -10% One Day

Mexican Peso -10% One-Day

5. Modi Majority Shrinks in India

Huge run India ETF….-6% pre-market

6. Small Banks Increasing Commercial Real Estate Exposure

Credit: Small banks have been increasing CRE exposure.

Source: Simon White, Bloomberg Markets Live Blog

7. Poll of Leverage Loan Companies

From Barry Ritholtz The Big Picture Blog

8. Construction Spending on Factories

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.
Companies plowed $18.4 billion in April into the construction of manufacturing plants in the US, a seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction spending of a record $212 billion, according to the Census Bureau today. This was up by 140% to 200% from the range in 2015 through mid-2021,

The spike in factory-construction activity began in the second half of 2021. The CHIPS Act, signed into law in August 2022, seems to have turbocharged it, though the money hasn’t even started flowing yet.

Beyond semiconductors, a large number and a great variety of manufacturing plants have been announced over the past two years, and we’ll get to some that were announced just in recent weeks. They’re part of what the National Manufacturing Association has termed, “general reshoring.”

During the record year of 2023, spending on factory construction spiked by 71% from 2022, and by 138% from 2021, to $196 billion. And 2024 is on track to set a new record as the eyepopping boom continues.
This boom is a result of a massive corporate and government rethink after the supply-chain and transportation chaos during the pandemic, the increasingly edgy relationship between the US and China, the fundamentally scary dependence by US companies on production in China, and the nerve-racking dependence on semiconductor production in Taiwan.

9. America’s Commute to Work Is Getting Longer and Longer

Story by Anne Marie Chaker
The American worker is making peace with a longer ride.

Big shifts in the way people live and work are making commutes of over an hour into the office more common—and even more palatable. Rising housing costs have prompted many to move farther away from city centers, while the staying power of hybrid work means they don’t have to drive into work every day.

The share of super commutes—those 75 miles or longer—have grown the most and are up by nearly a third since 2020, according to new research from Stanford University.

Craig Allender’s family of four felt they had outgrown their three-bedroom home in Novato, Calif., and wanted to upgrade. They found a five-bedroom one 30 miles north in Sonoma County where lower housing costs put a 3,000-square-foot house in reach.

Allender says he can tolerate his new 63-mile drive to work since he only has to go in three times a week.

“If I had to be in the office five days a week, there’s no way,” says the managing director of an engineering company in Oakland.

A recent analysis of satellite-navigation data for the 10 largest cities in the U.S. shows he’s not alone in making that calculus.

America’s Commute to Work Is Getting Longer and Longer© Provided by The Wall Street Journal

Examining two million morning commutes over the same four-month period in 2023-24 and 2019-20, Stanford University economists Nick Bloom and Alex Finan found the number of longer drives—though still a fraction of total trips—rose the most over the four years: As a share of all morning commutes, those between 50 and 74 miles rose 18%, while those 75 miles and up rose 32%. Commutes less than 35 miles, which were the majority of all commutes, declined, according to their analysis of data from transportation research firm INRIX.

10. If you answer ‘always’ to these 8 questions, you’re mentally stronger than most

Scott Mautz, Contributor@/IN/SCOTTMAUTZ/

Mental strength is the ability to productively regulate your emotions, thoughts and behaviors, even in challenging circumstances. It’s how you manage internally, so you can operate better externally. 
Most of us intuitively understand that to be successful at work and in life, you need to self-regulate. But it’s hard to do in practice. 
I’ve spent 30 years studying what makes people, and especially leaders, mentally strong. As part of my research, I’ve developed a Mental Strength Self-Assessment that helps you gauge where you are, and what you can do to level up. 
DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to becoming a master communicator and public speaker
Here’s a mini-assessment: If you answer “always” to these eight questions, you’re mentally stronger than most.
1. Are you resilient in the face of setbacks?
When you’re navigating obstacles and facing challenges, there are bound to be moments of defeat. But what determines your mental strength is how — and whether — you pick yourself up and press on. 
Mentally strong people find and focus on the opportunity in adversity, rather than the threat. Instead of getting stuck in unproductive emotional reactions and the sense that “it’s not fair,” they accept where they are and ask: “How do we move forward now?”
2. Do you perform well under pressure?
Your ability to thrive under pressure is based in large part on your mindset and initial response to stressors. Being mentally strong means thinking “challenge” rather than “threat.” 
If you see something as a threat, your body responds as it might to a predator in the wild: with a fast-beating heart, sweaty palms, tense muscles and an upset stomach. Feeling anxious and imagining everything that could go wrong undermines your ability to perform. 
Mentally strong people think: “I’m prepared for this challenge.”
This approach helps them handle stress, increase their focus and control their emotions and thoughts, enhancing their ability to perform. They ignore “What if …?” and think “What will,” as in “What will now happen is that I’m going to ….”
3. Do you avoid approval-seeking behavior?
Mentally strong people chase authenticity, not approval. They know approval is elusive, and pursuing it with people-pleasing behaviors can erode their confidence, advertise their insecurity and create a false and temporary sense of comfort. 
They understand how their need for approval holds them back, and act like they already have approval. 
4. Do you avoid comparing yourself to others?
Comparing yourself to others most often makes you feel small and inadequate. 
It’s an exercise that typically involves comparing your own weaknesses to other people’s strengths. You attribute their success to some kind of inherent superiority, rather than considering the context and factors that may have worked in their favor. 
People with the most mental strength only make comparisons to who they were yesterday. Instead of concentrating on whether they measure up to someone else in one way or another, they ask themselves if they’re becoming better versions of themselves. 
5. How often do you challenge the status quo?
Mentally strong people know that boldness leads to growth. Boldness means thinking big, taking risks, pushing past discomfort, trying new things and embracing change in pursuit of something worthwhile.  
It requires uncovering the beliefs holding you back, exposing the unhelpful assumptions and stagnant stories you tell yourself and tearing off the self-applied labels weighing you down. 
Boldness means replacing limiting beliefs, like “I’m not good enough,” with empowering beliefs, like “I have all the ability I need to succeed.” 
6. Are you able to manage your negative emotions in the moment they arise?
Mentally strong people don’t let negative emotions take over. 
When they feel their temperature rising, they breathe, take a moment and, if needed, create some distance between themselves and the intensity of their emotion.
People with the most mental strength only make comparisons to who they were yesterday.
They don’t let the emotion pull them somewhere they don’t want to be. 
Instead, they name what they’re feeling, so it loses its hold over them. Then they logically reassess the situation and reframe it in a way that allows them to take actions that lead to beneficial outcomes.  
7. How often would you (or others) say you’re decisive?
Indecision is a lack of self-regulation, discipline, courage and conviction in an especially damaging form. It’s particularly harmful for people in leadership positions. 
At work, indecision can bring an organization to a standstill, drain a team’s energy and damage employees’ sense of certainty. When leaders don’t make decisions, they leave multiple options open for too long, costing the organization money and delaying timelines. 
In life, hesitation allows someone else to jump on that thing you didn’t. It causes you to burn time second-guessing yourself that you could have spent being the first mover. 
Mentally strong leaders are decisive, evaluating the cost of a wrong decision versus indecision, setting deadlines for deciding, accepting inevitable choices sooner and willingly making tough, unpopular calls when they need to. 
8. How often do you hold yourself accountable?
Mentally strong people aren’t afraid to look in the mirror and ask themselves: 

  • “Where am I making excuses instead of progress?” 
  • “Where am I avoiding the issue instead of owning it?” 
  • “Where am I blaming instead of being brave?”

Holding yourself accountable isn’t always easy, but doing the right thing rarely is. 
Even if you can’t answer “always” to all of the questions above right now, that doesn’t mean you never will. With the right intention and tools, you can get — and stay — mentally stronger. 
Scott Mautz is a popular speaker, trainer, and LinkedIn Learning instructor. He’s a former senior executive of Procter & Gamble, where he ran several of the company’s largest multi-billion-dollar businesses. He is the author of ”The Mentally Strong Leader: Build the Habits to Productively Regulate Your Emotions, Thoughts, and Behaviors.” Follow him on LinkedIn.