TOPLEY’S TOP 10 May 29 2024

1. Equity Positioning Not At Extreme Bullish

From Dave Lutz at Jones Trading
Deutsche Bank’s measure of positioning shows investors are “overweight” equities but not to the “extreme” levels seen in 2021 and 2018.

2. Fear and Greed Index Neutral

3. Semis Relative to S&P

4. Semis -20% in Five Weeks -Bespoke Investments

Since its closing low on April 19th, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) has rallied over 20% in five weeks. When anything rallies that much in so little time, you can’t help but take notice, but in the case of the SOX, the current rally is already the second this year – and it’s not even June!

As shown below, the SOX rallied 21.2% in the five weeks ending on March 7th, and back in June 2023, it was also up 20% over five weeks for a third time in the last year.

The fact that there have been three separate five-week rallies of at least 20% sounds pretty remarkable.  In the post-COVID environment, though, they’ve been somewhat common with eight other occurrences (besides the current one) since April 2020.  That’s more than the seven total occurrences from 2003 through 2019, but from the SOX’s inception through the end of 2002, when semis were a much less ‘mature’ sector, there were a total of 20 different periods when the SOX rallied at least 20% in five weeks. As shown in the chart below, in many of those periods, the magnitude of the gain was much larger than 20%!

5. Equal Weighted S&P Trades Below 10 Year Average P/E

Unio Capital

6. S&P Margins Keep Increasing

From Irrelevant Investor Blog -Michael Batnick

7. Last Week’s Market All Tech

The Daily Shot Brief 
The rally is increasingly dominated by tech/growth stocks, with the rest of the market lagging. Here is last week’s performance by sector:

Source: The Daily Shot

8. Apple’s iPhone sales in China jump 52% in April, data shows

By Reuters   
BEIJING, May 28 (Reuters) – Apple’s (AAPL.O), opens new tab smartphone shipments in China rose 52% in April from a year ago, extending a rebound seen in March, according to data from a research firm affiliated the Chinese government.

The jump follows a weak performance by the U.S. tech giant in the world’s biggest smartphone market earlier this year amid intensifying competition in the high-end smartphone category from local rivals like Huawei (HWT.UL).
Shipments of foreign-branded phones in China increased by 52% in April to 3.495 million units from 2.301 million a year earlier, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) showed on Tuesday.

Apple’s shares rose 2.3% in premarket trading.

Although the data did not explicitly mention Apple, the company is the dominant foreign phone maker in China’s smartphone market. This suggests that the increase in foreign-branded shipments can be attributed to Apple’s performance.

9. High Paying Remote Jobs Fading Fast

Kelsey Kernstine

  • A new study by job-seeking website Ladders found that high-paying remote jobs fell nearly 60%, while hybrid job availability fell 95% over the past year. 
  • Plus, a survey by Resume Builder found that 90% of companies out of the 1,000 surveyed said they expect a full five-day week return to the office by the end of this year. 
  • For those looking to make $250,000 or more annually, only 4% of those jobs are available for remote work. A year ago, it was 10%. 

(NewsNation) — Loving that remote job? Employees hoping for a raise might want to reconsider working from home. 
A new study by job-seeking website Ladders found that high-paying remote jobs fell nearly 60%, while hybrid job availability fell 95% over the past year.
Higher-paying jobs require more commitment from their employees, including showing up to the office daily. Companies have found it is better for their bottom line to have workers in the office versus working from home.
78% of Americans see fast food as a ‘luxury’: Survey 

Return-to-office requirements

CITI, HSBC and Barclays banks are now among those companies requiring employees to return to the office five days a week, according to a Bloomberg report.
Plus, a survey by Resume Builder found that 90% of companies out of the 1,000 surveyed said they expect a full five-day week return to the office by the end of this year. 
For those looking to make $250,000 or more annually, only 4% of those jobs are available for remote work. A year ago, it was 10%. 

Remote workers make less money: Data

Remote jobs still exist, but many companies that allow employees to work from home are likely to be paid less. 
James Terry, a hiring expert from Indeed Flex, told NewsNation that moving up the career ladder is tied to in-office employment. 
Has McDonald’s menu outpaced inflation? 
“A lot of businesses and organizations I’ve spoken with have actually really wrestled with the idea of promotions and growth within organizations, and do people who work fully remote have the same, truly the same type of opportunities for career advancement as those that work in the office,” Terry said.
Even Zoom, the company that made work from home a possibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now demanding its employees come back to the office at least twice a week.

10. Events Can Only Harm You If They Harm Your Character

The Daily Stoic
John Profumo screwed up. He had an affair with what turned out to be a spy. He lied about it. As a result, the prime minister lost his job. The country was embarrassed. He was canceled, driven into political exile from which he was never able to return.

Did he deserve it all? Maybe. Probably.

But what’s interesting is what happened after. Because instead of licking his wounds, instead of being angry, instead of nursing many grievances, what John Profumo did instead was go to work at Toynbee Hall, a poverty-fighting charity in England. For the next forty years he was the charity’s single longest-serving volunteer, working his way up from manual labor to its chief fundraiser, almost entirely without recognition or fanfare.

This is a story told in Right Thing Right Now (a book about the Stoic virtue of justice, which you can preorder…right now) because it’s so rare. Here is someone engulfed in scandal and shame, largely of his own making, who instead of being made worse by it, instead of trying to settle scores or prove people wrong, he decided to become better for it. Someone who quietly, diligently, decided not to be defined by what happened to him—at least to himself anyway. He did try to prove people wrong, but only in the sense that he sought to prove that he was not who he was at his worst moment.

Marcus Aurelius talks in Meditations about how events can only harm you if they harm your character. He talks about how the best revenge is to not be like that. It is so easy in the middle of a scandal or after a huge mistake, to double down. To make it all about you. To become bitter and angry about the unfairness of it all. Profumo didn’t do that. Instead, he made something positive out of it. He showed his truecharacter. He got revenge not on his political enemies but on the old version of himself.

That’s why seeing justice as a way of being, as how you treat others, is so important. It’s why Marcus Aurelius called it “the source of all other virtues.” Because how can we become better versions of ourselves, how can we reach the heights of our potential, if we can’t admit our past blunders, if we can’t make amends with others, if we can’t own the unpleasant responsibility of who we’ve been? Justice, as the Stoics understood, is the foundation to true self-improvement.

Which is exactly why I wrote my new book Right Thing, Right Now: Good Values. Good Character. Good Deeds., which features the stories of Profumo, Marcus Aurelius, and many more…