Topley’s Top 10 – October 8, 2020

1. Enjoy Tonight’s VP Debate Just Don’t Let It Affect Your Portolio.

Looking back—Schwab Liz Ann Sonders

We use the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) as the proxy for U.S. stocks in the analyses below because of its longer history than the S&P 500, which wasn’t created until the late-1920s. Likely highlighted more by Democrats than Republicans is the fact that, since 1900, the stock market has performed better when Democrats sit in the White House than when its inhabitant was a Republican.

As you can see in the first two bars in the chart below, if an investor had invested $10,000 starting in 1900, but only had it in the Dow when Republicans were president, it would now be worth nearly $99k. On the other hand, that same $10,000 would have grown to nearly $430k if it was invested only when Democrats were president. Seems like an obvious decision to make then? Not so fast. That same $10,000 in 1900 would have grown to more than $4.2 million if the investor had remained in the market the entire time, regardless of which party has presidential power.

Staying Invested vs. Investing in Single Party

Source: Charles Schwab, Bloomberg, as of 10/2/2020. For illustrative purposes only. The above chart shows what a hypothetical portfolio value would be if a hypothetical investor invested $10,000 in a portfolio that tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average on 1/1/1900 under three different scenarios: a Republican presidential administration; a Democratic presidential administration; or staying invested in the market throughout the entire period noted. Chart does not reflect effects of fees, expenses or taxes.

Election Blues: Looking at Election History for Market Guidanceby Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab, 10/6/20

2. Solar ETF $22 to $75 April to October.


3. Monthly Flows…U.S. Equities and Government Debt.


4. 30 Year Treasury Yield.

30 year yield approaching May highs…+32% from lows.

5. Small Cap Value

Small cap value is trading at historical low valuation vs. S&P…..Chart showing some life….50 thru 200day to upside … But 200day still sloped downward.

6. Debt to Disposable Income is Lowest Since 1980


7. Ray Dalio Betting on YUAN

Marketwatch-Ray Dalio

So what’s an investor to do?

Dalio said that China, where “almost everybody” is underweight, has fallen out of favor, but deserves more exposure, beginning with a diversified approach to investments in the region.

“That means to achieve the right kind of balance of assets in China,” he told CNBC. “Our approach is, we call it all-weather approach, it’s a certain balance in which you achieve balance without lowering the expected return. From that, you want to make the tactical moves.”

The Chinese yuan CNHUSD, 0.00%, he explained, could see greater usage outside the country as weaker global economies weigh on the the U.S. dollar DXY, -0.08% and other major reserve currencies. Dalio said that China’s interest rates are attractive, and the development of capital markets in the region has strengthened the yuan.

“You’ll see more of the internalization of the [yuan], and it’s a natural consequence because as the dollar and the major reserve currencies are having the challenges that we are talking about, some element of void will be there,” he said. “But first… get the exposure.”

Think your nest egg is safe sitting in cash? Think again — billionaire investor explains where some of that money should go instead


Shawn Langlois


8. Travlers in China Back to 80% of Pre-Covid Levels.

Half a Billion Travelers Show China’s Economy Moving Past Covid

Travelers rise to nearly 80% of 2019 level but spending lags

Biggest holiday week since January will test China’s recovery

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Hotel prices shot up, ride-hailing apps crashed, tickets to the Great Wall sold out: after more than nine long, housebound months, almost half a billion Chinese people are taking a vacation.

With the Covid-19 pandemic largely under control in China, the Golden Week holiday is putting on display the country’s confidence in its economic rebound and its public health measures. Through the first four days of the week-long holiday that started Oct. 1, some 425 million people traveled domestically, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, nearly 80% of last year’s throngs.

The surge of activity stands in stark contrast to the rest of the world — the global tourism industry is expected to lose at least $1.2 trillion in 2020 — and underscores the relative strength of China’s economic recovery. As of September, the OECD forecast a 1.8% expansion this year, putting China alone among the Group of 20 on pace to expand.

That positive outlook assumes the country can avoid another wave of coronavirus and the aggressive lockdowns China’s used to quash it. As millions crisscross the country during the holiday that marks the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, no virus tests or quarantines required, the risks grow. Late last month, China opened its borders to foreign nationals holding valid residence permits.

“There is undoubtedly a risk in allowing mass tourism to resume and, in some ways, this is an early exercise in what the rest of the world will have to go through as global travel restarts next year,” said Nicholas Thomas, associate professor in health security at the City University of Hong Kong.

China hasn’t reported any local virus infections since Aug. 15, though it found two asymptomatic cases in late September, and the government has eased almost all of its peak-Covid travel restrictions. The ban on group tours was lifted in the middle of July, every district in every city has been designated ‘low-risk,’ and coronavirus test results are no longer required for cross-province travel.

Chart: The World's Largest Human Migration Is About To Begin | Statista

Found at Crossing Wall Street

9. What Is Precision Farming, And Who Are The Players To Watch?

Chris Versace

Lenore Elle Hawkins

Food is perhaps the best known consumable product, and the economic laws of supply and demand are pointing to an emerging pain point unlike any we have seen in recent history. To combat this looming problem, the agriculture industry is embracing technology, much of which is similar to that housed inside the smartphones we use today, giving rise to the precision agriculture market.

The problem

The current average life expectancy in the U.S. stands at 78.8 years according to a National Center for Health Statistics, which was on par with the 78.6 years in Europe reported as of 2019. By comparison, historical data from the United Nations reveals life expectancy in 1950 was 65 years in more developed regions of the world and 42 in less developed ones. The increase is driven by several factors, including a healthier lifestyle, which in and of itself has been found to add up 6.3 years for males and 7.6 years for women, according to findings from the UK Biobank.

At the same time, the United Nation’s Population Division expects the global population to hit 10.9 billion by the end of the current century compared to 7.8 billion in 2020. Rising disposable incomes among the growing population is fostering greater demand for complex proteins. More people living longer poses a challenge to the nutritious diet aspect of that healthier lifestyle, given that arable land per person is shrinking.

According to the FAO, arable land per person stood at 0.23 hectares (ha), down from 0.38 ha in 1970 and is expected to fall to 0.15 ha per person by 2050. We at Tematica describe that situation as a pain point, and pain points tend to give rise to solutions. In this case, it means we need to make better use of our existing farmlands, and that has prompted farmers to adopt technology to boost yields while helping to manage costs.

This wave of technology-meets-farming has given rise to the precision agriculture market, which is expected to reach $12.9 billion by 2027, according to Grand View Research, up from $9.65 billion in 2019.

What is Precision Agriculture?

According to the International Society of Precision Agriculture, “Precision agriculture is a management strategy that gathers, processes and analyzes temporal, spatial and individual data and combines it with other information to support management decisions according to estimated variability for improved resource use efficiency, productivity, quality, profitability and sustainability of agricultural production.”

In other words, it is about using high-tech tools to generate greater yield with less resources while minimizing any potential harm.

Just how important is this? The World Economic Forum estimates that if just 15% to 25% or farms were to adopt precision agriculture techniques, global crop yield could increase by 10% to 15% by 2030 while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water use by 10% and 20% respectively.

That sounds great, but do we really need to do this?

Soil today is eroding up to 100 times more quickly than it forms. Some research indicates that we may have already lost more than one-third of the planet’s arable land. Even more concerning, if the current rates of soil degradation continues, the remaining arable land could become unfarmable in the next 60 years.

How does precision agriculture help?

The market that would become precision agriculture started in the 1990s with the adoption of GPS that allowed farmers to gather data and steer equipment automatically. While it may seem somewhat pedestrian in today’s connected world, GPS tractor guidance helped farmers to improve crop production by reducing overlaps and gaps when planting, fertilizing, and protecting crops. Over the last two decades technological developments including telematics, robotics, automated hardware, agriculture drones, and variable rate technology have expanded precision agriculture to include equipment guidance and automatic steering, yield monitoring, variable rate input application, remote sensing, in-field electronic sensors, section and row control on planters, sprayers and fertilizer applicators, and spatial data management systems.

Much like we have seen technology enable a host of new applications such as video conferencing and streaming video that has altered how we work and play, technology has expanded the capabilities of precision agriculture as well:

  • Choosing suitable crops with higher yields and more lucrative markets
  • Measure the performance of the site by automatically capturing relevant data
  • Increasing the farm’s economic and environmental sustainability
  • Predicting climate changes and reacting to them proactively

Existing as well as up and coming precision agriculture players to watch

Companies participating in the precision agriculture market include agriculture equipment companies such as John Deere (DE), AGCO (AGCO), CNH Industrial (CNHI), and Kubota Corp. (KUBTY) and even drone company Aerovironment (AVAV). There are also the technology enablers that include GPS companies such as Trimble (TRMB) and the applied technology business at Raven Industries (RAVN) as well as the chip and sensor companies that range from NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) to STMicroelectronics (STM) that serve the “smart farming” market.

As a confluence of factors have raised concerns over the long-term future availability of food, venture investors have been pouring capital into agtech startups. In 2019 alone, they invested $2.8 billion into the space across the globe, a fourfold increase over 2015. According to the 2019 AgriFood Tech Investment Review, investment in digital technologies (which combines the independent sectors of imagery, precision agriculture and sensors and farm equipment) made up about 41% of 2019 deal activity.

Some examples of these investments are Farmobile and its DataEngine that ingests and standardizes farming data so that it can be shared and used to create insights; Trace Genomics that provides soil DNA sequencing services to farmers and agronomists; and CiBo Technologies that allows farmers to create “virtual fields” with real-world inputs.

With greater adoption of artificial intelligence, big data, and the internet of things in the coming years we strongly suspect there will be new applications and further advances for precision farming, much like we’ve witnessed with the smartphone and the automobile of today compared to ten years ago.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

10. Nine Lessons from the Corner Office-Thrive Global

After three decades as a CEO in various organizations there are definitely distinct lessons I’ve learned.

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·         Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE at The Ladders

After three decades as a CEO in various organizations there are definitely distinct lessons I’ve learned.

1. When we focus on what we have to give instead of what we get we realize our value.

Why should someone work with, do business with, hire you, or spend time with you? And why now? If you can’t answer these questions your constituents won’t know either. What makes you distinctive? What do your employees need from you to thrive in their roles? What do your customers need that they haven’t even realized yet? This probing leads to a solid value proposition that gives you fulfillment and can be communicated in your messaging.

Don’t wait for a crisis to probe for opportunity. Anticipate the needs of others, how you will uniquely meet those needs and you stand alone.

2. When we are curious and compassionate, we become servant leaders instead of command and control tyrants.

We all know leaders whose direct reports fear them. And we know leaders who are revered. Your leadership starts with an open awareness of yourself and a dedication to improve – improve yourself, improve the work experience for others, improve the products and services you offer, improve the financial stability of your organization. This service mindset requires a mindful acceptance of yourself without judgment followed by a curious mindset.

Ask questions without making assumptions. That creates space for honesty and humility while dismissing the need for perfection. Your team wants to know that you struggle with the same things they do. It is relatable to be human.

3. There is power in having your boss’s back. Find a way to do that or go somewhere you can. Don’t stay and poison yourself and the culture.

Don’t be a victim or a toxin. It strips your executive presence, stagnates your career and is weak. If you are unhappy in your role you have three choices: 1) Find another position and leave. Make sure the problem is not your perspective which you will carry with you to a new role and still be unhappy; 2) Stay where you are, shift your perspective and focus not on office politics but where you can find fulfillment in new responsibilities; 3) Leave and go somewhere more in alignment with your values. It will take you a while to achieve the level where you are now but accept that if this choice fulfills you. Don’t do what complainers do – quit and stay.

4. Good people leave organizations because of bad managers who don’t position them to learn and advance. Mediocre people leave organizations for $1 more an hour, free lunch and a pool table in the break room.

Organizations are acutely aware of onboarding costs for new employees. Retention has become one of the most important focuses for corporate human resources departments. Most major consulting companies and large organizations have created elaborate coaching programs, scheduled feedback systems and shadowing arrangements to retain and position top talent. Benefits packages have become less important than the skill of leadership in recognizing the unique aptitude of each individual and positioning them with professional development opportunities that interest them.

5. ‘A’ people hire ‘A’ people, ask for their insight, and get out of their way. ‘B’ people hire ‘C’ people and micromanage them.

Leaders sometimes get caught in the trap of thinking they must understand everything everyone is doing. Not so. Hire people who have your weaknesses as their strengths. Then allow them to create. Ask questions to understand and challenge their perspective. Never feel threatened by them. If their posturing creates insecurity, coach around that to help them understand the effects of their behavior.

6. Emotional leaders hardly ever advance. Practice a good poker face.

Self-management is essential for a high performing leader. It starts with self-awareness and self-acceptance. Mindful daily practices that keep you in the moment such as meditation, deep breathing, creative projects, help to increase your awareness of your thoughts and your power over them. The goal is to increase the space between when you feel an emotion and act on it so that the choice is not to react but to remain calm, think through the assumption behind the emotion and release it.

7. Narcissistic leaders thrive on keeping their teams in chaos and fear so that nobody notices their ineptness. Stay off their radar screen by making sure they know you have their back, giving them all the glory and presenting your work with confidence so they can trust it. Then work on your exit strategy. Things will not get better.

It is no mystery how narcissistic leaders rise to power. They are charismatic, have certainty and people trust their confidence. Yet they lack integrity, a moral compass, and any semblance of collaboration or compassion. This makes them dangerous. You know you are dealing with a narcissistic leader if you liked them at first but something in your gut tells you that you can’t trust them. You feel as if you must be overly cautious in what you say and do. Over time you find that you are questioning your own relevance around them because they are more of a dictator than a seeker of alignment. Pacify them with complete honesty, good work, relevance, and trust. Then move on.

8. When we can look ourselves in the eye and not expect to be perfect, we give ourselves room to be human and walk in the shoes of others. When we try on a lot of different shoes, we become grateful that they are not all the same size.

Perfectionism kills careers. Done is better than perfect. Humility trumps being right. Humanity is diverse. And diversity adds perspective. Perspective only brings value when we hear it. We can’t hear it if it isn’t in the room. We won’t apply new ideas if we are married to the assumption that change compromises our own security. What we believed yesterday need not be what we carry forward today. The agile leader with grit who can adapt mid cycle opens to opportunity. The stuck leader stagnates and loses ground.   

9. Executive presence is the ability to observe yourself from a third-party perspective and admire what you see.

The single biggest reason people don’t advance in their careers is because they feel they are not worthy – they don’t belong. Coincidentally, the single biggest reason people are unhappy is because they feel they are not worthy and don’t belong. So, to counter this achievers often misguidedly spend time and energy on the treadmill to nowhere working harder, reading self-help books, updating their resumes, firing off online applications, taking classes, only to find that nothing changes except now they are exhausted. Seeking fulfillment externally on issues that are internally motivated is not productive. Executive presence and confidence expand when we challenge our internal assumptions against what is actually true about ourselves. Here we begin to align with our values. There is much there to admire when the dust of business settles and the brilliance of clarity appears.    

For more executive presence tips here is a link to Mary Lee’s 31 Executive Presence Practices for Leaders in the Corporate World.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE has a unique perspective as an award winning certified executive coach, author and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships while it still matters. She is the founder of, a coaching and consulting firm that helps leaders position their mindful impact – the same impact that took her from welfare to CEO of organizations worth up to $26 million. Schedule a call or get her free leadership tools at

— Published on October 6, 2020


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