Topley’s Top 10 – September 16, 2021

1.Americans Net Worth Rose 19% Year Over Year…..A Record Increase

2. Why Rates Stay Low?Net Bond Inflows $572B in Jan. to $1.01Trillion in April….to $860B thru July.

YARDENI RESEARCH. There is actually a very simple explanation for why the 10-year Treasury bond yield peaked at 1.74% on March 31 of this year and fell to a recent low of 1.19% on August 4, closing at 1.29% on Tuesday. On a 12-month basis, net inflows into bond mutual funds and ETFs soared from $572 billion during January to peak at a record $1.01 trillion during April. It remained substantial at $861 billion through July. Contrary to TINA (“there is no alternative” to equities), bonds are still viewed by some investors as an alternative to stocks!
That’s on top of the $1.6 trillion of US Treasury and agency bonds purchased by the Fed and the commercial banks from the start of this year through late August.

* Dr. Ed’s LinkedIn Blog
* Try our research at

3. Follow Up to My Charts from Yesterday …Putting Low Yields in Perspective.

Standard Deviation (Risk) Triple 1995 for 7% Return.

4. Dow Jones Stocks Percentage from 2021 Peaks.

Nasdaq Dorsey Wright

5.UK gas futures

Jim Reid DB Bank

I must admit that in 26 years of having a Bloomberg terminal, I’ve never pulled up so many gas price graphs as I have over the last 24 hours. The rise is extraordinary, especially in Europe. Indeed Dutch futures are now up c.+25% this week (including today), c.+80% since the start of August, and a remarkable c.+550% over the last year. Today’s CoTD shows this and UK gas futures. So what’s causing the rise? Well amongst other things we have:

  • Tight supplies, after a cold winter, have not been replenished as much as expected over the summer and ahead of this coming winter.
  • Russia has sent less supplies to Europe than expected. Possibly because they are themselves replenishing supplies, possibly because they are raising the stakes ahead of Nord Stream 2 approval.
  • A lack of windy European weather limiting the use of wind power.
  • A lack of coal options as more and more plants get phased out.

Obviously a fair amount of this should be transitory (one of the words of the year!). Indeed, anyone that knows British weather will know that the wind will blow soon! However our European Gas analyst James Hubbard thinks there’s also a steady structural tightening of global gas markets that will persist for many years, and will be exaggerated by decarbonisation (more in this #dbSustainability Tracker piece yesterday).

On this topic, my colleague Francis Yared has been recently discussing how if governments are serious about addressing climate change then there will be a huge cost and taxing carbon will be regressive. As such they will have to spend even more to help out lower income households. The current gas issue might be a dress rehearsal as both the Spanish and Italian governments have put in place plans to reduce the impact on consumers this past week.

So there is a bigger story brewing here. In the “Fiat, fifty and frail” piece we discussed how fiat money may be stressed again to deal with climate change in the years ahead with more spending as a result. See the full report for this and much, much more.

Finally I was determined to write this today without writing the word “inflation” which you’re probably all now bored of from me. I’ve now failed.

6. Home Generators Crush the S&P

NY Times…Generac, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer that dominates the market for standby home generators, is an unlikely Wall Street darling.

Climate Change Calls for Backup Power, and One Company Cashes In

Found at Abnormal Returns blog

7.How Inflation Hitting Online Prices.

CNBC-Here’s how inflation is hitting the online prices of everything from apparel to furniture


  • Prices of goods online have now risen for an unprecedented 15 consecutive months, following what was a historical period of declines, according to a report from Adobe Digital Insights.
  • Inflation is hitting categories including pet products, nonprescription drugs, apparel, furniture and flower arrangements.
  • The changes mean e-commerce transactions are on pace to account for roughly $1 of every $5 spent by Americans, up from $1 of every $6 in 2017, Adobe said.

8. Bullet Point Tax -Bloomberg

For businesses, the legislation approved by Ways and Means would:

  • Increase the top corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21%, while offering a lower rate to smaller businesses
  • Extend tax rules on sales of equities to cryptocurrencies and commodities for the first time
  • Largely leave untouched breaks for oil and gas companies, in a move that angered environmental groups
  • Boost taxes on overseas earnings for U.S. multinational companies, by increasing a minimum levy enacted in 2017 during the Trump administration. It would also reduce an exemption for some of that income
  • Reinstates a key debt-refinancing tool for state and local governments and creates a Build America Bonds-style debt program 
  • For individuals:
  • Top marginal income tax rate is restored to the 39.6% that preceded the 2017 GOP tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump
  • A 3% surtax is imposed on incomes of more than $5 million
  • Capital gains rate rises to 25% from 20% for transactions by high-income individuals made after Sept. 13, 2021
  • New limits are set for large individual retirement accounts
  • A boost to the net investment income tax will generate an estimate $252 billion
  • The doubling of the estate tax exemption enacted by Trump would come to an end in 2022
  • The up-to-$3,600 per year monthly child tax payment Democrats enacted this year will be extended through 2025

The bill on net is estimated to raise $871 billion, after the value of the tax breaks are taken into account. Democrats say they will be able to pay for additional social spending in the so-called reconciliation package by counting some $600 billion in savings from Medicare spending on drugs, along with funds from increased tax enforcement and added revenue stemming from the faster economic growth that’s anticipated as a result of the overall bill. The drug pricing proposal failed to pass another committee Wednesday because of opposition from Democratic moderates, raising questions about its viability.

Republicans are united in opposition to both the tax increases and the social spending they would help fund. GOP members of the House Ways and Means panel argued over four days of votes on amendments that the Democratic proposal would stymie the economic recovery and lead to a wave of companies leaving the U.S. They zeroed in on tax breaks like a $12,500 electric vehicle credit that can be claimed by the well-off, while blasting a doubling of tobacco taxes — which hits the poor.

“Never has our government wasted so much to kill so many American jobs, drive prices even higher, and hook a whole new generation of the poor on government dependency,” the committee’s top Republican, Kevin Brady, said ahead of the final vote.

Work Remains

The 24 to 19 committee vote reflected the “no” cast by moderate Democrat Stephanie Murphy of Florida, who is concerned over the planned $3.5 trillion price tag for the overall bill. Last week, the panel by a similar margin approved the largest expansion of Medicare in two decades — including dental, vision and hearing benefits for the first time — along with provisions allowing Medicare to negotiate on drug prices.

Pelosi can only afford to lose three votes when the legislation comes to the floor, so changes to satisfy Murphy and other moderates are likely. Modifications to the tax bill could come when it is sent to the House Rules Committee or through an amendment on the House floor.

Along with SALT changes, House Democrats are also still considering the Biden administration’s proposal to require banks and other financial institutions to report customers’ account flows to the Internal Revenue Service. 

Neal said that provision is still in play, with members working with the White House and Treasury to come up with a plan that Democrats can agree on. Biden’s proposal, which would kick in for accounts with gross flows of $600 or more, has faced backlash from banking and credit union trade associations, as well as consumer protection groups.

9.Box Office 2019 $947m Per Month vs. 2021 $252m Per Month

The box office in the US, and globally, is limping along.

On average the US box office has taken about ~$250m a month this year, way down on what would be considered “normal”. Back in 2019 an average month would routinely see takings of $900m-$1bn, if not more (data from Box Office Mojo).

Disney’s big bet

The 2021 numbers may not be stellar, but they clearly haven’t put off industry giant Disney, which recently announced its decision to release the rest of its 2021 schedule in theaters first, before sending them to its streaming platform Disney+.

The ScarJo effect?

Disney might just be confident that moviegoing is going to make a comeback, but they might also be wary of lawsuits, and the perils of releasing movies simultaneously on streaming services and in theaters. Earlier this year Disney found itself being sued by one of its top stars — Scarlett Johansson — who alleged that Disney had broken her contract by releasing Black Widow on Disney’s streaming service. That likely diminished the box office receipts for the movie — which were directly tied to her pay packet.

Disney’s announcement will turn heads at its competition too — as Disney has dominated the box office for much of the last 5 years, thanks to enormous hauls from its MarvelStar Wars and animated franchises.

The chart above plots the US box office take for the top 10 movies in each of the last 5 years (and 2021 so far). Of those 60 movies, Disney made 25 of them, taking the top two spots in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. If Disney is betting on the box office, over streaming, others are likely to sit up and take note.

Elsewhere, Broadway is back. Tuesday saw HamiltonThe Lion King and Wicked all return to the stage for the first time since the start of the pandemic. That’s great news for live theater, which couldn’t exactly move online in the same way that the rest of the entertainment industry did.

10. 10 ‘Harmless’ Habits to Drop If You Want to Be Successful

By YEC | April 10, 2017 | 

1. Saying Yes When You Want to Say No

If a project, partnership or opportunity doesn’t resonate with you and does not feel aligned with your values and your goals, you need to be comfortable about setting boundaries. Learn how to say no with kindness right from the start because, as you become more successful, more people will compete for your time and attention. Not setting healthy boundaries will end up in overwhelm and burnout.

—Ajit Nawalkha, Mindvalley

2. Hanging Onto People Who Don’t Want to Grow

For business owners especially, the people who got your company to where you are today may not be the ones to get you to where you want to be tomorrow. If they can’t grow with you, it’s time to replace them with those who can.

—Brandon Dempsey, goBRANDgo!

3. Working Through Lunch

Working through lunch is a habit I find a lot of business owners take on. Most justify it with, “If I work through lunch, I’ll just leave a few minutes early” and that isn’t what ends up happening. It’s hard to disconnect midday, especially if you’re in a productive spurt, but it’s important to take a few minutes to recharge. Not doing so will lower your productivity and lead to burnout faster.

—Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

4. Failing to Exercise

If you fail to exercise, that lack of discipline will translate into other areas of your life, including your business. When you exercise, you are more alert and sharp, and you will operate at a higher level.

—Ryan Shank, PhoneWagon

5. Multitasking

It is technically impossible to multitask. When you try to do multiple things at once, you effectively take away full attention and concentration from anything, and you shortchange whatever it is you are doing.

—Adam Witty, Advantage Media Group

6. Pinging People

In a perfect world, everything you do would be working toward some goal (even if it is recharging on the couch). Sending emails that do not advance a relationship because you want to “ping” them or “touch base” is at best useless and could be harmful. There are definite exceptions where being on someone’s mind is valuable, but try to connect it with value creation or a mutual memory.

—Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar

7. Striving for Perfection

I often let the perfect become the enemy of the good. The result is that I have a lot of projects that are still in the “development” queue, while I continually refine them. The fact is, however, most defects that I see are not elements that others will see. I am working on letting go of the hesitation to perfect everything that I work on.

—Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc. 

8. Not Protecting Your Recharge Time

If you’re a workaholic, it can be easy to let your own time get taken over by work, over and over until you’re not taking any time for yourself. This may seem like it’s making you more efficient, but it will start quickly doing the opposite. There’s no faster way to burn out. Don’t fall into the habit of denying yourself the time you need to recharge.

—Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

9. Immediately Answering PMs and Emails

This is by far the largest problem with many people achieving success, especially on a day-to-day basis. If you answer an email or PM, you should be committed to it, or it’ll quickly take you away from whatever task you are completing at the moment, hindering success. Plan periods every hour or two to answer daily emails or PMs.

—Obinna Ekezie,

10. Not Prioritizing Your Day

I recently started using The Productivity Planner and it’s changed everything for me. It forces you to actually sit down and only pick a few things you’re going to get done, especially the things that often end up getting punted from day to day. Before that, I was letting my calendar and to-do list run my day and never felt like I was getting the important stuff done.

—Mike Woitach, Confluence Coffee Co. 

Related:4 Things Successful People Don’t Do

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated.