Topley’s Top Ten – February 6, 2018

1.In Textbook Fashion…Street was Max Short Volatility Before Yesterday’s 84% VIX Spike.

The stock market is finally getting a long-awaited bout of volatility. The Cboe Volatility Index — or VIX — spiked 84% on the day, its biggest single-day increase of all time, according to data going back to 1990. The VIX reflects expectations for volatility in the S&P 500, and trades inversely to the benchmark roughly 80% of the time.

The Ultimate “Pain Trade” as the street was max short Volin the latest FMS form BofA.   Margin Clerks ramped hard at 2:30-3pm today.  Twits saying “8M SPY options trading on the day after more than 7M on Friday” – @OptionsHawk replied “Highest marks in over 2 years…when everyone finally starts buying protection, we tend to be close to a bottom (June ’16, Nov. ’16, Aug ’17)”

Chart from Dave Lutz at Jones


2.Classic Fund Flow Top Before Crash…Short Volatility ETFs Record Flows in December


Short Volatility ETFs Tripled in Size 2017

For now, the volatility bears have the momentum. Inverse VIX funds have nearly tripled in size this year alone. The amount of assets tracking short-volatility products rose above that of their long-volatility counterparts for the first time in two years in the third quarter.


3.They May Have Just Gotten Wiped Out Overnight…Short Vix Products Go From $3B to $150m

Two exchange-traded products designed to return the inverse of the VIX exploded at the close of futures trading on Monday, seeing their combined value shrink from $3 billion to $150 million, according to estimates from Macro Risk Advisors. Credit Suisse is rumoured to have a sizeable position in one of these products and its stock was down more than 6% in after-hours trading.

 SVXY Proshares Short Vix

XIV Velocity Shares Short Vix.


4.VIX Move vs. Historical…Short VIX Products Imploded Again After Hours.

by Tyler Durden

Putting today’s VIX move in context, this is among the biggest ever…


But the real action is in the super-crowded short-vol space.

XIV – The Short VIX ETF – after its relentless diagonal move higher as one after another Target manager sold vol for a living… just disintegrated after-hours, down a stunning 90% to $10.00.

 5.In Another Classic Contra Move…Street Got Super Bulled Up On Earnings Right Before Reversal.

 The Closer — Making Sense Of Selling — 2/5/18

Feb 5, 2018

Looking for deeper insight on markets?  In tonight’s Closer sent to Bespoke Institutional clients, we review the massive and surprising decline in US equities.

6.Classic Bubbles 1000% in 10 Years.

4 Classic Bubbles in Our Lifetime…Bitcoin Dwarfed All of Them

Charles Schwab

7.Smartphone Shipments Fall 9%

Strategy Analytics: Global Smartphone Shipments Tumble 9 Percent to 400 Million in Q4 2017

by Linda Sui | Feb 01, 2018 Leave a comment

Boston, MA – February 1, 2018 – According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments tumbled 9 percent annually to reach 400 million units in Q4 2017. It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. Apple captured first place with 19% global marketshare, nudging Samsung into second position. Xiaomi continued its relentless rise, almost doubling smartphone shipments from a year ago.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments declined 9 percent annually from 438.7 million units in Q4 2016 to 400.2 million in Q4 2017. It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. The shrinkage in global smartphone shipments was caused by a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16 percent annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of wow models. However, on a full-year basis, global smartphone shipments grew 1 percent and topped an impressive 1.5 billion units for the first time ever.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2017, slipping 1 percent annually from 78.3 million in Q4 2016. Despite robust iPhone X demand and an iPhone average selling price approaching an incredible US$800, we note global iPhone volumes have actually declined on an annual basis for 5 of the past 8 quarters. If Apple wants to expand shipment volumes in the future, it will need to launch a new wave of cheaper iPhones and start to push down, not up, the pricing curve. Samsung dipped 4 percent annually and shipped 74.4 million smartphones for 19 percent marketshare worldwide in Q4 2017, up slightly from 18 percent share a year ago. Samsung is under pressure from Chinese rivals in some major markets, like China and India, but it remains by far the largest smartphone brand on a global basis, shipping an unmatched 317.5 million units in full-year 2017.”

Forecasts for Smartphones is Continued Growth

8.7 Scary Things You Never Knew About Cell Phone Addiction

Yes, it’s real. And it’s worse than you think. Here are some alarming facts I learned from the new book ‘How to Break Up With Your Phone.’


February 02, 2018

Quick question: Are you reading these words on a phone? If the answer is yes, you’re certainly in good company. According to research from the media analytics company comScore, the average American adult spent approximately 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every single day in 2017. Tally up the hours we’re projected to spend on social media apps over a lifetime and the sum comes to a whopping 5 years and 4 months. (To put that in perspective, it’s 36% more time than any of us spend eating and drinking.) In other words, if you’ve ever questioned whether that twitchy feeling you get every time you scroll Instagram is a sign of actual addiction, you can officially stop wondering.

They say recovery starts with acknowledging your problem, so here goes: I have a slew of bad cell-phone habits—and not a clue where to begin to change them. Which is why I was equal parts thrilled and terrified when an advance copy of the new book How To Break Up With Your Phone ($13,, by award-winning health journalist Catherine Price, recently landed in my mailbox.

A slim, insight-packed volume that’s both a primer on the toll smartphone overuse can take on our mental and physical health, and a practical manual for a 30-day reset designed to put you on a path to moderation, this is a book whose message couldn’t feel more timely, or more urgent. (No, really: after finishing the whole thing in one horrified sitting, I immediately pre-ordered 3 more copies for friends and family.)

Price has nailed her research: Nearly every page of her book contains a startling number or nugget designed to deliver a serious wake-up call. So, if you’re still not convinced the message applies to you, here are seven alarming facts—and a few easy suggestions—that might convince you it’s time to stop mindlessly swiping once and for all.

RELATED: What I Learned From My Digital Detox

  1. There’s a test for cell phone addiction

If you’ve ever been on Facebook, you know that online quizzes are pretty much human catnip. Here’s one that might actually be worth spending a few minutes of your life on: the Smartphone Compulsion Test, developed by David Greenfield, PhD, of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. According to Greenfield, a “yes” answer to more than 5 out of the 15 questions indicates that a person likely has a problematic relationship with their mobile device. Try it for yourself—but be prepared. As Price herself admits, these days it seems like “the only way to score below a 5 on this test is to not have a smartphone.”

  1. “Phubbing” is a thing

You know that annoying habit your friend has of casually checking her texts while you’re talking? Well, it’s so common, there’s now an actual name for it: phubbing, as in phone-snubbing. You’d never do that, right?!

  1. Social media apps are designedto hook you

Do you find yourself mindlessly reaching for your phone? Or refreshing your social media feeds, even when you just checked them minutes ago? Don’t beat yourself up about your lack of willpower. The truth is, nearly every app on your phone has been expertly engineered to produce those very responses by designers skilled in manipulating brain chemistry to elicit addictive behaviors.

Case in point: “Instagram,” Price explains, “has created code that deliberately holds back on showing users new ‘likes’ so that it can deliver a bunch of them in a sudden rush at the most effective moment possible—meaning the moment at which seeing new likes will discourage you from closing the app.”

RELATED: Your Instagram Filters Could Be Signs of Depression, New Study Says

  1. Smartphones and slot machines have something in common

You know it well: that frisson of anticipation you feel whenever you pick up your phone. (Will there be a flirty text from that guy from the party? Or a message about a big new project from your boss?!) Well, psychologists have a term for that irresistible feeling of unpredictability: intermittent rewards. And guess what other common devices encourage addictive behaviors by preying on that sense that something exciting could happen at any moment? Slot machines. In fact, says Price, smartphones are basically slot machines we keep in our pockets.

  1. Our phones are altering our brains

Do you feel like you can’t concentrate anymore? Has your ability to remember things you’ve read gotten dramatically worse since you started doing the lion’s share of your reading online? It’s not your imagination. According to Price, when we read digital media, the cluttered landscape of links and ads and the short bursts of attention that are required by scrolling and swiping and tweeting result in a contradiction in terms: “an intensely focused state of distraction.” And while that distraction seems like it should be temporary, its effects are actually chillingly long-term. “This type of frequent, focused distraction,” she explains, “isn’t just capable of creating long-lasting changes in our brains; it is particularly good at doing so.”

  1. Apps are selling the most valuable thing we have

Yes, social media can be fun—but Price points out that it’s important to remember that those apps are about more than just sharing selfies. “Have you ever wondered why social media apps are all free?” she asks. “It’s because we are not actually the customers and the social media platform itself is not the product. Instead, the customers are advertisers. And the product being sold is our attention….This is a really big deal, because our attention is the most valuable thing we have. When we decide what to pay attention to in the moment, we are making a broader decision about how we want to spend our lives.”

  1. There’s a good reason tech innovators don’t let their kids have devices

When you’re a parent, reckoning with your own negative cell-phone behaviors feels bad—but watching the same habits infect your kids is even worse. That’s probably why, as Price points out, when it comes to their personal lives, many of the leading innovators in digital technology have chosen to shield their own families from the devices for as long as possible. Consider this: Steve Jobs didn’t let his kids use the iPad. And Bill and Melinda Gates did not let their children have phones until they were 14.

To get our top wellness stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the HEALTH newsletter

Scared yet?

Fear not: there is still some good news—namely, that we all have a chance to reverse course, to correct our addictive behaviors, and to find a relationship with our phones that feels productive and positive, not toxic. Where to start? Price lays the plan out comprehensively in the book, of course—but if you’re itching for some immediate action, there are plenty of baby steps you can take right now.

First things first, go into your settings and disable your phone’s notifications. (Yes, all of them.) Next, download a tracking app, like Moment, that can help give you a reality check about just how much of your waking life you’re actually spending staring at that little screen. Finally, banish your phone from your bedroom and buy yourself an actual alarm clock—like this one, or this one, or this one.

And remember: tomorrow is a whole new day.

found on jesse felder twitter

9. How long until you’re a 401(k) millionaire? Check this chart

The Financial Samurai blog crunched the numbers to show the time it would take, using various strategies, to reach millionaire status when starting from scratch. This exercise assumes maxed out contributions and average historical performance.

“Historical returns can’t guarantee future returns, but after a 10-20 year period of investing in your 401(k), your average annual portfolio return will likely begin to mimic the historical averages,” Financial Samurai’s Sam Dogen wrote.

He also offered up this roadmap of savings targets:

10.How to Have the Perfect Morning

by Craig Ballantyne | Feb 5, 2018 | ArticlesMotivationProductivitySelf-ImprovementTime Management


My friend, Benjamin Hardy, said, “If you start your day at 7 a.m., you’ve already lost the most important hours of your day. You’ve lost your chance to radically separate yourself — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually — from the masses.  Even as a guy that gets up at 4 a.m. every day, I think this goes a little overboard.

You see, it’s not about the hour you get up, it’s about what you do with the hours that you are up. It’s not the “when” that matters, but the “what.”

Growing up, my best friend’s dad, Mr. Aitcheson, would often sit us down in the kitchen of their farmhouse and teach us moral lessons through stories or demonstrations. This is one that sticks out to me:

He pulled out a big mason jar—the kind my mom would fill with pickled vegetables each fall. He took some rocks from his overalls and put them in the jar until they poked out the top.

“Boys, do you think the jar is full?” he asked.

Brian, my friend, and I nodded. We turned to go and play.

“Wait a second,” he said. He pulled out some smaller pebbles and added them, tapping the jar a few times on the counter to spread the pebbles out. “Now is it full?”

“Yes, Dad!” Brian yelled while rolling his eyes.

“Is it?” his father asked. He then took out a bag of sand and poured it into the jar, filling every last inch of space. “Now it’s full,” he said with a smile.

“You see, boys, the rocks are the big projects—like feeding the pigs each morning,” he explained as he tousled Brian’s hair.

“The pebbles are things that matter but you could do without—like doing all of your homework.” And then, as a quick aside, he murmured, “Don’t tell your mother I said that.”

“Finally, the sand represents the filler, like watching television.”

“Boys, make sure you spend time on what really matters, because if you waste your time on the filler, you’ll run out of room for what’s important.”

Fast forward 30 years.

The problem I see as a coach is that too many ambitious people—perhaps even you—are cramming their days with filler. Worst of all, you’re giving your morning minutes away to things that don’t matter, like social media, checking the latest sports scores—even hitting the snooze button.

But if you want to get ahead in life, you have to do the things that matter the most in the morning.

“In the morning we have the greatest discipline, willpower, and intention,” writes Daniel Pink in his new book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.”

“Research shows that we tend to move through the day in three stages—a peak, a trough, and a recovery,” he said in an interview with NPR.

“During the peak, we’re better at analytic work—work that requires heads-down focus, vigilance, attention, and batting away distractions, like auditing a financial statement or writing a legal brief. For most of us, that’s the morning.”

“Boys, make sure you spend time on what really matters, because if you waste your time on the filler, you’ll run out of room for what’s important.”

“Do the first things first every morning” has been a lesson repeated since the dawn of time. But we still fail to grasp it.

Unfortunately, too many people are caught up in perverse forms of procrastination. We’ve read that “this guru meditates” and “such-and-such expert spends 30 minutes journaling” and “so-and-so celebrity does 90 minutes of yoga each morning” and we decide to copy everyone else’s routine. The next thing you know, you’re getting up at 4 a.m. just to prepare for the day ahead, but not actually getting anything done.

A little bit of meditation, exercise, devotional time, and so on is fine, but if it’s crowding out time that should be devoted to your #1 priority in life, then it’s doing more harm than good.

Step back and take a deep, long, hard look at your morning routine. Is it working for you? Or against you? Don’t be afraid to go against the crowd.

Most of the things the “gurus” teach are neither necessary nor sufficient for success. For instance:

  • You don’t have to meditate to be successful.
  • You don’t have to get up before 5 a.m. to be successful.
  • You don’t have to do yoga to be successful.
  • You don’t have to journal to be successful.
  • You don’t have to do SoulCycle to be successful.

But you MUST be proactive if you want to be successful.

That starts with figuring out the best morning routine for YOU—not for someone else—and applying those best practices to win your mornings and own your days.

Put another way, you must fill in your mornings with big ROCKS instead of grainy filler.

The way to do that is to plan—ruthlessly—for the next morning.

The end of the day is the perfect time for planning, because as Daniel Pink says, “During this third period, the recovery (after the peak of the morning and the trough of the afternoon), we’re good at more creative things because we’re in a slightly better mood but less inhibited.”

Here’s how to use this end-of-day routine to plan your Perfect Morning:

Step 1 – Set an alarm for 5 minutes before bedtime each night and do ruthless planning for the next morning.

Step 2 – Using a journal to map out your morning, write down your #1 task (ROCK) in your first 90-minute work block of the day.

Step 3 – Be crystal clear about what you must accomplish in order for you to “win a victory” before the day gets away from you. What’s the outcome you want? What specific steps do you need to take?

Step 4 – Identify and eliminate all distractions that could get you off track during that 90-minute work block. That means phones, computers, televisions, books—anything that draws your attention away from your #1 priority.

Step 5 – Plan a small reward for getting the work done (10 minutes with family, quiet meditation, a walk, or social media). Limit this reward to 10 minutes!

Step 6 – Block out another 90-minute work session for your next priority.

Step 7 – Pick another reward for yourself after completion of this second work session.

Step 8 – Set aside time to work on communication (answering emails, making calls, following up on meetings, etc.). NOTE: If you’re a manager, flip steps 6 and 8.

Step 9 – Recognize that you’re only going to get two 90 minute sessions per day, so don’t over-schedule.

That’s it. Crafting this simple routine only takes 5 minutes—and it’s the key to dominating each and every morning.

In summary: Fill your productivity jar with your ROCKS first, and use a small amount of filler to reward yourself for doing the work.

As my time growing up on the farm—and our philosopher-farmer dad—taught me many years ago, you have to do the work and move the big rocks to earn rewards in life.