Topley’s Top Ten – February 19, 2019

1.Investor Allocation to Equities Did Get Above 2007

See arrows investors selling when they should be buying.

2.Sentiment Shifts Back to Extreme Bullish.

Fear and Greed Index

Hulbert Nasdaq Newsletter Sentiment Index, or HNNSI

Today, in contrast, in the wake of a 17%-plus gain in the S&P 500 SPX, +1.09% and a 20%-plus rally in the Nasdaq COMP, +0.61% the HNNSI has risen to plus 73%. That’s higher than 90% of all comparable readings since 2000.

Mark Hulbert

3.88% of S&P Stocks Above 50 Day Moving Average.

4.American Optimism About Their Personal Finances Highest in 16 Years.

5.Globally-Percentage of Assets in Passive Equity Funds.

From Nerd’s Eye Vies-Michael Kitces

6.Private Sector Debt Globally as a % of GDP

Global debt is not yet at financial crisis levels — but could be set for an explosion with China leading the way

7. Just How Huge Are Mexico’s Auto Exports to the US? How Fast Have they Grown?

by Don Quijones • Feb 15, 2019 • 24 Comments

GM’s Mexico vehicles now are 23% of its US sales. And the Japanese have massively discovered Mexico’s cheap labor.

By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

The total number of new vehicles exported from Mexico to the US in January rose 9.1% from a year ago to 191,072 vehicles, according to figures compiled by the vehicle manufacturers association AIMA and released by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). In the year 2018, total new vehicle exports from Mexico to the US leaped by 9.9% to 2.57 million vehicles, after having already jumped by 9.4% in 2017.

8.Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles.

It’s Elementary

by James HiresSaturday, February 2, 2019

Thanks to Elon Musk, most people think battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) are the future of transportation. Tesla‘s (Nasdaq: TSLA) lithium-ion battery technology is impressive to be sure.

But BEVs haven’t won just yet. They have a serious competitor, and it’s all around us.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) refuel as fast as gas-powered cars. They also have greater range than their battery-powered counterparts…

Hyundai’s Nexo can do 380 miles on one tank of hydrogen. That’s about what most modern cars gets on one tank of gas… and it’s 40% farther than the Tesla Model X can go in between charges.

The main issue with FCVs is the price tag. They retail for about $60,000. That’s steep for a car you can drive only in California, the only state with large-scale hydrogen fuel infrastructure.

For comparison, Tesla’s first car, the Roadster, came with a sticker price close to $100,000 in 2008. The Model 3, the first “affordable” Tesla, didn’t roll off the assembly line until 2017. The low-end Model 3 starts at $46,000.

The point is the price of FCVs will go down over time. That always happens with new technologies.

9.Americans Are Exiting High Tax States….Political Impact in Congress Seats.

According to Election Data Services, the following states are poised to gain seats:

  • Texas will gain three, from 36 to 39;
  • Florida will gain two, from 27 to 29;
  • Arizona will gain one, from nine to 10;
  • Colorado will gain one, from seven to eight;
  • Montana will gain one, from at-large to two;
  • North Carolina will gain one, from 13 to 14; and
  • Oregon will gain one, from five to six.

These states are poised to lose seats:

  • New York will lose two, from 27 to 25;
  • Alabama will lose one, from seven to six;
  • California will lose one or remain even, from 53 to 52 or no change;
  • Michigan will lose one, from 14 to 13;
  • Minnesota will lose one or remain even, from eight to seven or no change;
  • Ohio will lose one, from 16 to 15;
  • Pennsylvania will lose one, from 18 to 17;
  • Rhode Island will lose one, from two to one; and
  • West Virginia will lose one, from three to two.

While the national politics of state migration changes might be straightforward, drilling down into the components of the census data and isolating the changes in net domestic migration raises some fascinating implications for state policymakers to address.

Americans continue their march to low-tax states



10.This Quick Mindset Change Stops You Choking Under Pressure

Adjust your thinking and you can reduce the chances of crumbling under pressure enormously.

By Jessica StillmanContributor,

Here are two well known facts about human psychology: one, we’re prone to choking under pressure. Raise the stakes enough and most people will fall apart. And two, we’re loss averse. People hate losing something we already have more than we enjoy gaining something new. Could these two quirks of the human mind be related?

That’s what researcher from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine set out to discover with a fascinating series of studies in which they scanned the brains of participants as they played computer games demanding physical coordination for increasingly high monetary rewards.

The British Psychological Society Research Digest blog has a long write-up with all the details for those interested in the specifics of the neuroscience (if you know what the ventral striatum is, it might be for you). But for those of us less well versed in the minutiae of brain structures, the essential takeaway is this: the scientists seem to have found a dead simple but effective trick to stop yourself from choking under pressure.

The mindset that keeps you from getting stressed under pressure

The researchers’ insight was based on a simple observation. More risk average participants cracked earlier, and that was reflected in a reduction of activity in the brain area known as the ventral striatum, which plays a role in coordinating movement. Could the scientists find a way to keep that sucker humming away under pressure for longer?

The answer turned out to be yes. They discovered the trick was flipping the way study subjects thought about the reward on offer. The researchers hypothesized that mounting pressure triggered participants to start fearing loss more than striving for gain. What if they rejigged the conditions to ensure that switch in outlook didn’t happen?

“Intriguingly, when the researchers altered the stakes of the task, so that there was no money to be won, but rather success meant keeping (i.e. not losing) money the participants already had, then the more loss averse participants were now less prone to choking,” BPS reports. The key brain region continued to light up despite the rich rewards.

This suggested a simple way others outside the lab might be able to mirror these results. If you’re performing some sort of high-stakes action, would thinking of what you’re doing as holding on to gains rather than attempting to win a reward stop you from choking?

The scientists tested this idea out and, lo and behold, it worked. When the researchers “coached their participants to reappraise the stakes – to simply imagine that they already had the high prize money on offer and were performing for the chance to keep that money,” this “technique dramatically reduced choking, and in fact it did so for all participants,” claims BPS.

And it wasn’t just the results of the game that shifted. Players’ physical responses changed too. When the scientists looked at physical markers of stress in players’ bodies, both brain scans and measures of perspiration showed this seemingly simple trick helped participants keep their cool. Players just didn’t get as stressed when they thought this way.

So if you’ve got a big game, a big test, or a big presentation coming up, keep this study in mind. Simply by imagining your effort as a way to hold on to the trophy, grade, or job you’ve already won, you can keep cool and perform at your best. Thanks, science!