Topley’s Top 10 – June 19, 2020

1. S&P 500…Price and Profit Margins Diverge

‘La la land?’ The stock market is ‘insanely disconnected’ and due for a ‘reckoning,’ Warren Buffett buff warns–By Shawn Langlois

2. Retail Sales Growth Since 2008

Ed Yardeni

3. Record Age for U.S. Assets

Callum Thomas Topdown Charts

4. Beijing Cancels 70% of Flights Due to Virus Spike

5. New Tech 5 Worth More Than Buffett Berkshire

6. TSLA…Battery Prices Cost Projected to Go Down Every Year

The Electric Car Battery Boom Has Screeched to a Halt, For Now

The Electric Car Battery Boom Has Screeched to a Halt, For Now


(Bloomberg) — Three decades of advances took lithium-ion batteries from powering handheld Sony camcorders to propelling Tesla’s popular electric vehicles. The rapid rise is facing a major test in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Demand for rechargeable batteries will decline for the first time this year, as sales of electric cars—the biggest user—slump with novel coronavirus pummeling the auto industry, according to BloombergNEF forecasts. Battery shipments to carmakers are forecast to fall 14% in 2020, and the effects of the slowdown are seen lingering into next year.

Major producers, including South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd., a supplier to Tesla Inc. and General Motors Co., have cut annual sales forecasts. Analysts expect the industry’s planned vast expansion of manufacturing capacity to slow down. Startups burning through cash as they work on potential breakthrough technologies are bracing for a tougher sell to secure funds.

And yet, from Silicon Valley laboratories to China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., the world’s top producer, optimism over the lithium-ion battery’s longer-term outlook is undimmed. Batteries, say automakers and utility companies, are still on track to become more powerful, cheaper and ubiquitous, not just in passenger vehicles, but also in additional forms of transport, consumer electronics and large-scale energy storage.

Despite short-term pressures, Zeng Yuqun, chairman of CATL, said there is “great confidence in the long-run.” In less than a decade, his company has grown to lead its industry: CATL’s sales rose 90% in 2019, according to BloombergNEF.

Lithium-ion battery demand has more than doubled since 2015 and remains on track for about a ninefold expansion from last year to the end of the decade. The sector is also forecast to keep lowering costs. Battery prices plunged 87% in the past 10 years, pushing plug-in electric cars to near sticker-price parity with gas guzzlers.

The pandemic might even prove to be an opportunity, with at least some governments, including those of Germany and France, using virus recovery funds to help accelerate a transition from internal combustion engines to battery-powered alternatives. France will offer about 8 billion euros ($9 billion) to its auto sector to bolster support for electric vehicles; Germany’s stimulus package includes about 5.6 billion euros for the sector and will require gas stations to install charging units. “This is a historic plan to confront a historic situation,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on May 26.

There are other sources of optimism. Volkswagen AG on June 16 announced an additional investment of $200 million in QuantumScape Corp., a battery technology startup founded by former Stanford University researchers, after committing $100 million in 2018. In May, the carmaker became the biggest shareholder of Chinese battery producer Guoxuan High-Tech Co. Ltd.

“The train’s left the station on both renewable power generation and electric vehicles, and no one is going to put that train in reverse,” said Jeff Chamberlain, chief executive officer of Volta Energy Technologies, a Chicago-based fund focused on energy investments. Chamberlain previously led energy storage initiatives at the Argonne National Laboratory,  the U.S. government facility seen as having been pivotal in the transfer of battery technology from academia to the auto sector.

Battery makers also are quickly making progress on three key fronts: battery life, power and cost. CATL recently announced it will soon begin production on a battery that can operate for 2 million kilometers (1.2 million miles), or about 16 years. The capability puts it far ahead of any of the batteries on the market today, which typically are under warranty for about 150,000 miles, Zeng said.

Tesla and GM are each developing batteries that can last a million miles. Neither have yet said exactly when they’ll be ready. GM is “almost kind of there on longer life,” Doug Parks, an executive vice president, said at a May 19 Citigroup Inc. event. The car maker is “experiencing nearly that in some of our products today,” Parks said.Combustion engine vehicles are currently scrapped in the U.S. after about 200,000 miles, Tesla said in a June 8 report, meaning a longer-life battery pack could dramatically extend a car’s lifespan, particularly useful for taxis or delivery trucks. More important, a million-mile pack could be resold by a consumer to be deployed in a second vehicle, offsetting some of the initial purchase price.

7. Harvard University Study Says Richest 25% of Americans Cut Spending the Most During Pandemic

by Olivia Rockeman, 6/18/20

The richest quarter of Americans cut their consumer spending more than any other income group during the height of the pandemic, according to a study by a group of Harvard University researchers.

As a result of high-income earners sharply reducing their expenditures, the revenues of businesses that cater to affluent households suffered, the study from Opportunity Insights, a Harvard research group led by Raj Chetty, John Friedman and Nathaniel Hendren, found. In turn, small businesses in wealthier regions laid off 65% of their low-wage earners, while in the lowest-rent areas, fewer than 30% lost their jobs.

The research group collected data from credit card processors, payroll companies and financial services firms to report statistics on key indicators including consumer spending and employment rates. They then used the data to analyze the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


8. International Relative Strength Rolls Over vs. S&P Again in June

Bespoke Investment Group

9. Kevin Love Has a Nightly Routine That Guarantees He’ll Sleep Well

The NBA All-Star became a mental-health advocate following his own high-profile struggle.


How does NBA champion and five-time All-Star Kevin Love remain competitive in the high-stakes world of professional basketball? One answer is a nightly routine that helps him unwind and get a good night’s sleep.

Love, who is currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been playing professional basketball for 12 years. He says he’s nowhere near done. Despite some serious injuries and a high-profile struggle with anxiety that inspired him to start the Kevin Love Fund, the 31-year-old hopes to stay in the game for years to come. “I don’t want to put a number on that,” he says. “So long as my body holds up, I’m going to be playing.”

Article continues after video.


This is one reason Love makes sure to get a good night’s sleep every night. “Sleep to me is incredibly important,” he says. “As far as cognitive function and even mental health goes, it allows you to be more settled, more attentive, more in the moment.” 

Here’s how Love makes sure to get the sleep he needs.

1. He has a nightly routine and a regular bedtime.

“Consistency is really key with sleep,” he says. That’s why he follows the same routine every night. “I make sure that, within a 30-minute window, I’m going to sleep at the same time every night.”

2. He takes magnesium supplements.

Love is careful about his nutrition in general, and takes a variety of supplements. Magnesium is part of his bedtime routine, and Love takes it an hour or 45 minutes before bedtime every night. Magnesium has been shown to help the body produce a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation, and decreases anxiety and depression. 

3. He lays out his breakfast and clothes for morning.

Love primes himself for success the next day by laying out the elements of a healthy breakfast so that they’re ready to go. Then he lays out his workout clothes and anything else he needs for the next day’s practice. Laying out clothes for your morning exercise before bed is a trick many fitness experts recommend, as it makes you less likely to skip your workout in the morning. 

4. He stretches and rolls out his muscles.

Stretching before bed is an important nightly routine for Love, and he often lies on foam rollers or uses a lacrosse ball to massage and relax his muscles. “I hold a lot of stress in my feet, so rolling those out is huge,” he says.

5. Meditation and blue lights out.

Love usually ends the night with a brief bit of meditation. “Even if it’s just two minutes, like doing six to eight deep breaths,” he says. “Then I make sure the overhead light is off and most of my blue light is off as well.” Blue light, such as the light from a television or smartphone screen, is well known to interfere with sleep.

“Any way you can take care of your body is going to affect you in a very, very big way,” he adds. “Both your body, and your mind as well. So it’s playing that game, figuring it out, perfecting it, but always knowing there’s going to be room for improvement. I think that’s what makes it fun.”

JUN 2, 2020

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10. Measuring And Improving Your Personal Productivity-Early to Rise Blog

By Early To Rise | 06/27/2000 | 0 Comments

Today let’s do something very simple that could make a big difference in the time it takes you to accomplish your goals – and in the satisfaction you experience working towards them.

First, Review Three Weeks’ Worth of Daily Task Lists

I am making the assumption that you are using some sort of daily task list, as I urged you to do in message 103. (If not, do only this today – read the message below entitled “So You Didn’t Do It?”)

Take out and review your daily task lists for the last three weeks. Calculate how many tasks on average per day you failed to complete. Take special note of how many highlighted (priority) tasks you missed. And then figure how often you took longer than expected to complete a task.

Problem One: Not Getting Everything Done

If (on average) you are leaving more than two tasks a day uncompleted, you need to do one of three things:

1. Decide to work more hours and be happy with that.

2. Learn how to do regular tasks more efficiently.

3. Do fewer things.

If you are having this problem, you will probably favor solution #2. And that is fine. (In future messages I will talk about how to read more efficiently, how to write stronger and quicker memos, etc.) But you need to take a serious look at the possibility that you are doing more than you should. Highly motivated people – and anyone who is willing to put up with me everyday falls into this category – often want to do too much themselves.

So even if you decide to work longer and/or faster, please do this too: identify one or two tasks every day that can be delegated or not done at all. Scratch them off your list.

Problem Two: Not Finishing Highlighted Tasks

If some of the tasks you are failing to complete are important tasks – critical to achieving your most important goals –you are in serious trouble. The solution here is to change your schedule so that you can finish these tasks first thing in the morning – before you get to your busy work.

If you are having this problem, you are not going to like this solution. But it is probably the only solution that will work. So give it a try. You will feel very good about yourself when your highlighted tasks are done and the day has just begun.

Start With Tomorrow’s List Today:

You can get started right away by revising today’s (if it is still very early) or tomorrow’s task list. Do this:

1. Allow a realistic amount of time for every task. Highlight only one or two tasks per day. Remember that these are tasks that move you toward your most important goals. They are not “urgencies” (which tend to be less important stuff left undone that become important through neglect.)

2. If you work in an office environment, leave yourself an extra hour every day for unexpected emergencies and interruptions.

3. If you have been having trouble finishing some tasks, scratch off one or two and delegate them. Figure out how and to whom. You may think this an impossible task, but if you persist you will succeed.

4. Break your day into working blocks. (You might want to indicate them on your list with bold, horizontal lines.) Try to group similar activities (writing/phoning/meetings/etc.) in each block. It is more efficient. When you have completed a block of work, reward yourself with some pleasant five-minute activity, such as a brief walk or some stretching or a cup of coffee. A twelve-hour day can be three four-hour blocks, four three-hour blocks . . . even six two-hour blocks.

5. Work until you are done. Realize that you are doing what most people are not willing to do. Count yourself lucky.


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