Topley’s Top 10 – October 28, 2020

1. 200 Years of Value Stock Returns….Biggest Disparity Ever.

a close up of a graph

Nicholas Lampone • 1stPrincipal & Director of Trading at Dalzell Trading1h • 1 hour ago

Value stocks have had their worst run in two centuries. Yes, two CENTURIES. Chart courtesy of Financial Times and Daily Shot.

2. Outflows from Value Stocks Same in Europe.

From No Sunk Costs Twitter

3. Does The Price of Oil Even Matter Anymore? The energy sector now makes up just 1.9% of the Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Market Index Fund.

Posted October 26, 2020 by Ben Carlson

Of all the strange things that have occurred in the markets this year, it feels like the price of oil going to negative $37/barrel is one of the strangest.

The most surprising aspect of this price move is the fact that there were no apparent spillover effects into other areas of the economy or markets. Things more or less moved on unabated.

Oil prices when negative and…nothing really happened?

To be fair, this was a weird dynamic. No one wanted to take delivery of oil when it wasn’t being used because demand fell off a cliff from the pandemic. I know these were extenuating circumstances but isn’t it odd that one of the most important commodities on the planet saw its price go negative during the midst of a pandemic-induced recession and there really weren’t any huge macro ramifications?

I have to ask — what if the price of oil doesn’t matter to the markets anymore?

The energy sector now makes up just 1.9% of the Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Market Index Fund.

4.V-Shaped Recovery

The recovery of the leading indicators looks V-shaped so far bur further improvement requires the pandemic to die down to allow services industries to re-open. 

Christopher Preston

ILC/Trading and Operations

River and Mercantile Solutions

5. Big Appetite for U.S. Stocks Among Foreign Investors.


From Abnormal Returns on Twitter

6. America’s Driving Habits as of August 2020

by Jill Mislinski, 10/26/20

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through August.

“Travel on all roads and streets changed by -12.3% (-35.3 billion vehicle miles) for August 2020 as compared with August 2019. Travel for the month is estimated to be 251.3 billion vehicle miles.” The 12-month moving average was down 1.1% month-over-month and down 8.8% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) was down 1.19% month-over-month and down 9.9% year-over-year.

Here’s a detailed map of regional driving in July:


7. Led by the crossover, SUV sales tripled from 2010 to 2019.

In our most recent report, we analyzed the state of vehicle sales in the US over the last decade to see how the auto market is doing, considering the models that were among the country’s top 40 best-sellers in any given year.

Here are more highlights from our report:

  • Last year, SUVs and pickups grabbed a record 70% of the market for best-selling models. Sales of sedans have nose-dived, from 4.5 million in 2014 to 2.2 million last year.
  • Honda and Toyota top the SUV charts, with their CR-V and RAV4 crossover models. 
  • The F-series easily tops the list of the best-selling vehiclesof the past decade, with over 7.5 million sold between 2010-2019. The Ford F-series is joined on the podium by more recent arrivals, the Chevrolet Silverado and the (Dodge) Ram Pickup.
  • Delawarehas enough automobiles registered for almost half of its population to have one — 45% of residents of any age, to be precise, and Alabama is not far behind at 44%. At the other end of the spectrum, the number of New York State car registrations is about a quarter of the number of people there, that’s one each for 24% of residents.

8. Median Existing Home Prices Jump 14.8% in September.

The median price of existing homes in September jumped 14.8% year-over-year to $311,800. The median price is skewed by a shift in the mix, and the price increase could also partially a result of red-hot demand for higher-priced homes (data via YCharts):

Housing Market Goes Nuts, Everyone Sees it, But it Can’t LastBy Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

9. The CEO of a Major Headhunting Firm Says the Best Resume He’s Ever Seen Had These 6 Things

Is it time to dust off the old resume? Here are some tips.


You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Time to dust off the ol’ resume.” Whether you’re currently looking for a job or not, it’s always good to have an up-to-date resume ready. 

Gary Burnison, the CEO of Korn Ferry, a leading headhunting and talent selection/hiring firm, shared in June on CNBC’s Make It what he loved about the best resume he ever saw. It wasn’t the astonishing credentials within it, he said, but that it had these six things going for it.

1. It was easy to read.

Burnison said the resume was two pages long (necessary if you have over 10 years of experience), was well organized with plenty of white space to contrast the company names in bold, and had italicized titles with job details in bullet points, all with an easy-to-read font and nary a typo. Simple. Easy to engage with.  

Having seen my share of resumes running a Procter & Gamble recruiting team for 10 years, I can say that simple resumes with “less to say” were more memorable than jam packed resumes with a lot to say, just because they were easier to read. You can’t remember what you can’t read.

2. It told a clear story of progression.

The best-resume submitter had a career journey that was easy to track, enabling Burnison to see what he called the “staircase pattern” of career growth: no missing periods of time unexplained and a clear before-and-after from top to bottom (with the most recent position at the top).

The best resumes I’ve seen also told a story of progression. The trajectory came across as warranted and worthy of serious consideration.  

3. Job responsibilities were illuminated by accomplishments.

Anyone can tell you what their job responsibilities were. Guaranteed, though, you won’t remember five minutes after they tell you–unless they make those duties memorable by highlighting what they achieved in each.

Burnison gives a great example of the difference. Don’t say “Led marketing and sales team.” Say “Supervised marketing and sales team and achieved 15 percent annual growth versus .5 percent budget.”

When I was running a recruiting team, if the accomplishments (versus the responsibilities) were impressive enough, the applicant got an interview. In person, I always probed to make sure the applicant’s accomplishments were something that would not have happened without them

4. It was without exaggeration or untruths.

Burnison said the best resume he ever saw also included something I admittedly hadn’t thought about before, links to the candidate’s LinkedIn page and professional website to make it easy to double-check the claims made on the resume.

Fact checking and references happen every time, so the truth is the only thing that will set you free (from the job you want to leave).

5. It used action verbs, not clichés.

Nothing made my eyes glaze over faster when I was reading resumes than when I saw standard language like “team player,” or “ambitious,” or “creative.” Again, Burnison offers an alternative example. Instead of “excellent communicator,” say “presented at face-to-face client meetings and spoke at college recruiting events.”

I’ve found that action words help you to visualize the candidate in, well, action. You’d rather have the interviewer picturing you in action than not, no?

6. It came via a recommendation.

Hands down, when someone can lower the risk for you as a recruiter, you’ll take the help. Resumes that come to you via referral will definitely make it to the top of the pile.

Burnison goes so far as to say you shouldn’t even submit a resume “cold.” Instead, do whatever it takes to meet someone in that company, make connections, and then leverage that connection to get your resume on the desk of the decider.

Net: It might be time to resume updating that resume.

10. How to Train Your Brain to Focus

By Allen P. Haines | 

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” —Dr. Seuss

People often say that if you follow your passion, you’re never really “working” at work. But that’s not always true. To understand why you can still feel mentally overwhelmed, let’s look at how the human brain is configured.

The prefrontal cortex is the most advanced segment of the most advanced section of the brain. It contains the most expansive evolutionary structures, and is responsible for the cognitive functions we think of as uniquely human, such as the ability to set complex goals, plan our futures, restrain our instinctive impulses, make informed decisions and organize our activities. Collectively, these sophisticated abilities are often referred to as the executive functions of the brain.

Given that the prefrontal cortex in humans is far more capable than that of any other species on the planet, why do we still feel mentally overtaxed so much of the time?

Related: 9 Easy Ways to Stay Mentally Sharp

Consider the dramatic economic shifts that have occurred in the last century or so. The number of people doing physical labor has significantly decreased while the number of “knowledge workers”—as author Peter Drucker named them—have significantly increased.

One aspect of this transformation is that the vast majority of our modern workforce needs more emotional intelligence (people skills) as well as more facility with abstraction (conceptual skills) than it ever needed before. Both of these abilities are anchored in the prefrontal cortex.

To be clear, we’re not arguing that we work harder today than our great-great-grandparents did. But during the last few centuries, the demand for executive brain function seems to have increased and become more widespread. And because it takes anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million years for relatively minor changes to occur in existing biological structures, we could be waiting a long time for our prefrontal cortex to enlarge its capacity in response to the demands we place on it.

Multitasking is not the answer.

In various kinds of companies across all types of industries, we meet people who are worn out, lack focus and who tend to be more reactive than strategic. They believe multitasking is the only way they can stay ahead of the myriad demands put before them.

The problem is that our brains can provide us with only a finite amount of focus at any given time. Scientists such as Daniel Kahneman, author of Attention and Efforthave conducted research that bears this out. According to some estimates, it can easily take up to 40 percent longer to complete projects when you’re interrupted than it does when you can maintain specific focus.

It’s fine to perform two or more tasks at once if quality or accuracy is not a high priority. But the widespread belief that multitasking makes us more efficient is far more myth than science. At every level, we see rampant exhaustion and intellectual depreciation as a result of this misunderstood social norm.

Related: How to Stop Multitasking and Start Speed Dating Your Tasks Instead

Create an island in the stream.

When faced with the unceasing flow of communication that vies for our limited attention, think of a way to put yourself in a separate zone—a kind of “island in the stream.” Zones can be physical or a temporal.

You might believe it’s impossible to take even short timeouts from your particular brand of madness. We’ve heard some of our clients say, “My boss requires that I always answer quickly!” and “Everything needs my attention immediately because my co-workers count on me.” But there are workarounds to address almost any challenge.

Communication to others about the appropriate thresholds for interruption in our zones is critical to their success. There are many creative ways to establish your boundaries. In one hospital we studied, nurses wear brightly colored sashes while they dispense medicine to ensure there will be no intrusions, which could cause potentially fatal mistakes. One office we toured has a noisy bullpen; co-workers there designated a specific conference room as a silent workspace. Find ways to meet your needs for concentration.

When you set and agree to flexible limits for your zones, you not only commit to them yourself, but also encourage others to respect and support your parameters.

Change the culture.

It’s not unusual to walk a fine line between collaboration and continuous interference. In high-tech, future forward companies, we often hear about the eradication of private offices. In some instances, we’ve seen the replacement of desks assigned to a specific person in favor of impersonal cubbyholes claimed only one day at a time.

An open and flexible office setup has many advantages, but the resulting breaches of privacy can dissipate mental resources. Still, we don’t have to accept continuous interruptions as a fait accompli.

Try these tips to establish your zones and boost your productivity and focus:

1. Put zones on your calendar.

Block out a portion of time during which you will work “in the zone.” Use this time to perform tasks that require accuracy, quality and creativity.

2. Establish a quiet physical space where you can go to concentrate and be “in the zone.”

This might require a door that you can close.

3. Communicate your boundaries to co-workers, friends and family so they know how to interrupt you—and under what conditions.

Explain why and how you are using zones to get more done. Be sensitive to their needs as well—don’t overdo your zones.

4. Use an app or a plugin to cancel or silence alerts for emails, texts and phone calls.

Most of these tools will still allow you to be reached in case of an emergency.

5. Calm and clear your mind as you transition into your zone.

Related: 4 Steps to Mastering the Art of Focus

Excerpted from Micro-Resilience by Bonnie St. John and Allen P. Haines. Used with permission from Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.


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