Topley’s Top Ten – March 18, 2019

1.Top Contributing Stocks To Rally in S&P 500.

2.Non-Performing Loans in Europe.

The Daily Shot

3.Here is a Chart Powell is Watching

Top Down Charts

The return of the “Normal Balance Sheet”:  Here’s a chart you may not have seen for a while – it shows total Fed assets as a percentage of US GDP, and interestingly enough it’s returned to 2013 levels.  Powell recently remarked that they will likely cease QT when they have deemed the balance sheet to have returned to a “normal” level (which may, by the way, be much higher than pre-crisis).  It’s quite likely QT1 will end this year, the question is when will this be announced?  We may learn more on that front this week…  (source)

4.Emerging Market Equity Flows Above 90th Percentile.

5.Sales at Department Stores Since E-Commerce.

The chart below of sales at department stores going back to 1992 shows an industry that is slowly dying – not because Americans are “tapped out,” but because the mall-store business model, and particularly, the department-store business model is being obviated bit by bit, year after year, by e-commerce:

6.January 2020 RATE CUT Odds Rising


7.Record Job Openings In A Tight Labor Market

With today’s release of the January Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), there is further confirmation that the job market remains tilted in favor of job seekers. As Econoday noted in their report, “employers are increasingly scrambling to fill [openings].” Even with new hires increasing by 1.5%, openings exceed hires by a record 1.78 million individuals.

A year ago with the  March 2018 data, job openings exceeded the number of unemployed looking for jobs for the first time since the JOLTS data has been available.

In looking at the data from the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index report also released earlier this week, items centered around employment are also top of mind for employers:

  • “57% reported hiring or trying to hire (up 1 point), but 49% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.”
  • “22% of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem, only 3 points below the record high.”
  • Also matching a record high is the 10% of owners that cited cost of labor as their Single most Important Business Problem.
  • “Job creation broke the 45-year record in February with a net addition of 0.52 workers per firm (including those making no change in employment), up from 0.25 in December, and 0.33 in January. The previous record was 0.51 reached in May 1998.”

Found at Abnormal Returns

8.Less than 1% of U.S. Farmland in Organic.

9.Kids, Don’t Become Success Robots

Tennessee Tech is an amazing school, and nobody breaks the law to get admitted.

Peggy Noonan
March 14, 2019 7:03 p.m. ET

A few thoughts on the college admissions scandal in which wealthy and accomplished parents allegedly lied, cheated and bribed to get their kids admitted to elite universities.

I bet your reaction was like mine: An electric sense of “I didn’t know that was going on!” followed by an immediate “Of course that was going on!” Because there’s a lot of crazy money in dizzy hands, and there’s a lot of status involved in where your kids go to school.

It must be stressed that this is a scandal not of kids but of adults, fully functioning and wildly successful ones who knew what they were doing.

Here is something I think is part of the story. In the past decade or so I’ve observed a particular parenting style growing prevalent among the upper middle class and wealthy. It is intense. They love their kids and want the best for them, they want to be responsible, but there’s a degree to which one wonders if they don’t also see them as narcissistic extensions of themselves. They are hyper-attentive, providing meticulous academic grooming—private schools, private tutors and coaches, private classes in Chinese language and cello. They don’t want their children fat—that isn’t healthy, by which they mean attractive. They communicate the civilized opinions of the best people and signal it would be best to hew to them.

They aim their children at the best colleges, which are, to them, basically brands. The colleges too market themselves that way—“Well, we are Harvard.” Get in there and you’re branded too.

I believe a lot of parents do all this not only so their children will do well but so they will look good.

They are status monkeys creating success robots.

Which in one way is odd. Their family has already arrived! But there is something sick about America that no matter how much success you have it’s not enough, you must have more. And everyone must know you have it.

An apparently laudable goal becomes an extreme competition.

If their child succeeds they were successful parents. If they were successful parents their status is enhanced in a serious way: Everyone respects successful parents! There is no one who doesn’t! Magazine profiles of celebrities stress close families, happy children.

If Billy gets into Yale his parents won the race. If he does not, well, maybe they were average parents, or maybe not so good. Or maybe Billy isn’t that bright. (“Neither is his father,” the neighbors whisper.)

The kids pick up through cues the family ethos: The purpose of an education is to look good. When—this is old-fashioned, but let’s say it anyway—the purpose of an education is to enrich a mind, to help the young discover great thought, to teach history and science, to spur a sense of purpose and vocation.

Full Read Below

10.The Two Keys to Boosting Your Productivity

by Dan Solin, 3/12/19

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Click here to watch a video and learn more about Evidence Based Advisor Marketing.

Success requires health, happiness and emotional stability. Don’t worry. This isn’t another blog post about diet and exercise, although both are critical.

I stumbled on two “hacks” and found there was data to support their efficacy. I am sharing my research with you. Both have had a profound impact on my life. I’m confident they will benefit you as well.


Every morning, the first thing I do is make coffee and then play classical music. Doing these acts is a light switch for my brain. It awakens me gently and makes me feel good.

It turns out there is a sound basis in neuroscience for this reaction.

There’s evidence that hearing music triggers the release of pleasure centers in the brain, causing the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy.

Listening to music has also been shown to strengthen your immune system and protect against harmful bacteria. It can also improve your memory.

Other studies compared the results of two groups with depression. It found music therapy, combined with traditional treatments, were more effective than treatment that didn’t include exposure to music. Music therapy not only alleviated depression but, according to the researchers, improved “involvement in jobs, activities and relationships.”

Music can also reduce anxiety and lower cortisol (the stress hormone).

When music is experienced in a group setting, there’s evidence it may make participants more empathetic.

Does it matter what kind of music you listen to?


Your favorite music – whatever it is – will trigger a favorable response in your brain.

To be happier, healthier and even more empathetic, tune into some music.


Often you hear about high-achieving people who claim to be able to function well with minimal sleep. These reports may lead you to believe lack of sleep can be a positive factor.

It isn’t. You need your sleep.

Let’s start with an explanation of the function of sleep. It re-energizes the body’s cells, clears waste from the brain and supports learning and memory. It even plays vital roles in regulating mood, appetite and libido.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, getting sufficient amounts of sleep “is as essential to survival as food and water.”

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Dan Solin
(239) 949-1606

Schedule a call with Dan here

Most adults should sleep 7-9 hours a night. As we age, we tend to sleep less, and our sleep is interrupted more often (frequently due to medications that interfere with sleep).

If you are sleeping less than seven hours, you are more likely to be overweight and at higher risk for strokes, cardiovascular disease, infections, certain types of cancer and your overall mortality risk increases.

Lack of sufficient sleep is at epidemic levels in the United States, with estimates that more than one-third of adults aren’t regularly getting enough sleep.

Sleep is an important agenda item for you personally and in your role as an employer. On an annual basis, the loss to the U.S. economy due to insufficient sleep has been estimated to be up to $411 billion, with an equivalent of about 1.23 million working days lost.

The beauty of these two hacks (music and sleep) is they’re both easy to implement, with immediate benefits.

Try them.

Dan Solin is a New York Times best-selling author of the Smartest series of books. His latest book is The Smartest Sales Book You’ll Ever Read. His sales coaching practice includes helping advisors convert prospects into clients and generating leads through videos and other elements of marketing. Dan is not affiliated with any advisory firm.

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