Topley’s Top Ten – May 14, 2020

1.Sector and Industry Returns Since 2/19/20

Bespoke-Some Stocks Moving Above February Highs

Wed, May 13, 2020

In last night’s Closer, we noted that as of yesterday’s close, the S&P 500 (SPY) sat over 15% away from its 2/19 all time high. But as for the index’s individual stocks, about 12.4% have retaken their 2/19 levels.  As shown in the chart below, Health Care sector stocks on average are the closest at 5.29% below their levels on 2/19.  Consumer Staples are the only other stocks that are less than 10% away from those levels on an average basis.  Conversely, Energy, Financials, and Real Estate have the furthest to go, all down around 30% or more.

Meanwhile taking a look across industries, there is only one group of stocks that’s currently above its 2/19 levels on an average basis: Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, & Life Sciences.  While stocks of that industry have pushed above by 1.2% on average, the other groups are not even close with the next closest to doing so being Food & Staples Retailing at 7.6% below 2/19 levels. In addition to Food & Staples Retailing, Food, Beverage, & Tobacco, and Health Care Equipment & Services are the only others that are even within 10% away.  On the other end of the spectrum, Banks, Energy, and Consumer Durables  & Apparel are down the most.

2.Shipping Index Back to 2008 Levels.

Shipment volume in the US by truck, rail, and air collapsed by 22.7% in April compared to April last year, and is down 25% from April 2018, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments today. It was the 17th month in a row of year-over-year declines, where the Covid-19 crisis came on top of a harsh freight recession that had started in late 2018. April was also the steepest plunge since the Great Recession, but not far behind:

First the Freight Recession, Now Covid-19: Trucking & Rail Freight Collapses. Is This the Bottom?By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

3.World’s Largest Shipper Maersk -6% Yesterday

Maersk continued to reaffirm a gloomy outlook but was able to deliver some growth in operating profit for the first quarter. Revenue increased slightly to $9.57 billion, which was better than estimates of $9.36 billion. 

Shares in Maersk plunged nearly 6% in trade on Wednesday. When macro matters once more, Maersk shares tend to sell ahead of a global selloff. 

Maersk’s warning comes as the WTO last month indicated the pandemic will likely result in one of the worst collapses of international trade in the post–World War II economic expansion. 

On Tuesday, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said the current global economic outlook continues to deteriorate and has suffered the worst blow since the 1930s. The fund will publish downward revisions to its global economic forecasts next month, Georgieva said. 

World’s Largest Shipper Warns Of Collapsing Volumes, Dashes Hope For V-Shaped Recoveryby Tyler Durden

4.Chinese Dollar Debt Outstanding.

Bass argued that the Chinese economy has evolved in several fundamental ways over the past decade as wages for its workers have risen, making Chinese exporters less competitive relative to rivals in countries including Vietnam and Mexico. Meanwhile fears about the health of the Chinese economy, which has required ever greater debt loads to fuel ever lower levels of economic growth, have led wealthy Chinese citizens to try to move money abroad to jurisdictions that protect against government expropriation.

This behavior peaked in 2016, when a worrying decline in China’s foreign-exchange reserves led the government to impose strict controls on moving funds out of the economy. At the same time, Chinese companies have taken on increasing levels of dollar-denominated debt to enable their purchases of foreign commodities like oil and agricultural products.

Investors should prepare for a U.S. ‘economic depression,’ warns Kyle Bass, but China’s fate could be even worse

By Chris Matthews

5.Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Sold a Big Bank Stock This Week


By Ed LinEvery weekday evening we highlight the consequential market news of the day and explain what’s likely to matter tomorrow.


Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries sold nearly half a million shares of U.S. Bancorp on Monday and Tuesday. Warren Buffett’s firm now owns a stake of less than 10% in the bank.

Photograph by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold a substantial amount of U.S. Bancorp stock this week.

Subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK.B ) sold a total of 497,786 U.S. Bancorp shares (USB) on May 11 and 12 for $16.3 million. According to a form Buffett filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Berkshire Hathaway now has overall ownership of 150.5 million shares of the bank.

Buffett indicated in the filing that Berkshire Hathaway’s stake in U.S. Bancorp is now under 10%. Buffett and his company are no longer obligated to report trades in the stock, though they must disclose their holdings as of the end of each quarter.

Berkshire Hathaway didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. Bancorp stock has been hard-hit by coronavirus-induced volatility. Shares closed at $29.45 on Wednesday for a 50.3% year-to-date loss. By comparison, the S&P 500 index, a measure of the broader market, has slipped 12.7% so far this year.

Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Because of their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.

Write to Ed Lin at and follow @BarronsEdLin.

USB breaking to new lows

6.It’s a Dot Com World

Josh Brown Blog

tHe sToCk MarKeT is iGnorInG tHe rEaL EcONomYby Joshua M Brown

7.Daily New Confirmed Covid

Scott Gottlieb

8.Real Estate Taxes 1/3 of New York Revenues.

Real estate taxes provide about a third of New York’s revenue, helping pay for basic services like the police, trash pickup and street repairs. Falling tax revenue would worsen the city’s financial crisis and hinder its recovery.

Manhattan Faces Day of Reckoning if Working From Home Becomes the Norm By Matthew Haag

Even after the crisis eases, companies may let workers stay home. That would affect an entire ecosystem, from transit to restaurants to shops. Not to mention the tax base.

Companies of all sizes are evaluating their need for office space during the coronavirus pandemic, with potentially profound implications for New York City.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

By Matthew Haag

Before the coronavirus crisis, three of New York City’s largest commercial tenants — Barclays, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley — had tens of thousands of workers in towers across Manhattan. Now, as the city wrestles with when and how to reopen, executives at all three firms have decided that it is highly unlikely that all their workers will ever return to those buildings.

The research firm Nielsen has arrived at a similar conclusion. Even after the crisis has passed, its 3,000 workers in the city will no longer need to be in the office full-time and can instead work from home most of the week.

The real estate company Halstead has 32 branches across the city and region. But its chief executive, who now conducts business over video calls, is mulling reducing its footprint.

Manhattan has the largest business district in the country, and its office towers have long been a symbol of the city’s global dominance. With hundreds of thousands of office workers, the commercial tenants have given rise to a vast ecosystem, from public transit to restaurants to shops. They have also funneled huge amounts of taxes into state and city coffers.

But now, as the pandemic eases its grip, companies are considering not just how to safely bring back employees, but whether all of them need to come back at all. They were forced by the crisis to figure out how to function productively with workers operating from home — and realized unexpectedly that it was not all bad.

If that’s the case, they are now wondering whether it’s worth continuing to spend as much money on Manhattan’s exorbitant commercial rents. They are also mindful that public health considerations might make the packed workplaces of the recent past less viable.

“Is it really necessary?” said Diane M. Ramirez, the chief executive of Halstead, which has more than a thousand agents in the New York region. “I’m thinking long and hard about it. Looking forward, are people going to want to crowd into offices?’’

9.Will there be a second stimulus check? Here’s what lawmakers are proposing

Published Wed, May 13 20203:01 PM EDT


Paul Ratje | AFP | Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on the world economy, lawmakers are working out ideas for another round of stimulus measures, including a second stimulus check, meant to help both businesses and households.

Americans are clamoring for more help: Three-quarters of 2020 swing-state voters are supportive of “sustained” direct economic impact payments, or stimulus checks, according to a recent poll conducted by CNBC and Change Research,while 84% of Americans overall want a second stimulus, a WalletHub survey found in April. 

That’s because 30% of Americans have experienced a drop in income since the beginning of the pandemic, a Bankrate survey released Wednesday found. The pain is mostly concentrated among younger people, who have the least wealth. Almost 20% have less in savings than they did before the crisis, and 16% have more debt.

Another survey, released in late April by Country Financial, is even bleaker. According to those findings, 49% of Americans say their level of financial security has worsened since the pandemic began, 61% say the pandemic has affected their ability to save and invest, and almost 40% say it’s affected their ability to pay their bills.

These types of numbers are “shocking,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. “Realistically, the unemployment rate is over 20% and that doesn’t even count those who’ve had their hours reduced.” McBride says that millions of Americans are in dire financial need and it’s good news that more plans are coming together in Congress.

Democrats introduce the $3 trillion HEROES Act

The latest proposal, released on Tuesday by Democrats in the House of Representatives, is a 1,800-page bill called The HEROES Act that amounts to roughly $3 trillion in relief.

Here are some of the critical elements of the HEROES Act that pertain to individuals and households:

·       Another round of economic impact payments of $1,200 per person and up to $6,000 for a household

·       An extension of the $600-per-week federal unemployment insurance benefitthrough January (it’s currently set to expire in July)

·       About $200 billion for hazard pay for essential workers who face heightened health risks during the crisis

·       $175 billion in rent, mortgage, and utility assistance 

·       Subsidies and a special Affordable Care Act enrollment period to people who lose their employer-sponsored health coverage

·       More money for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, including a 15% increase in the maximum benefit


How to spend a stimulus check if you’re employed

Video by Jason Armesto

There is a lot more, too, including $75 billion for expanded testing and contact tracing, $875 billion for state and local governments, money to shore up election safety, and even relief for the U.S. Postal Service. 

But possibly the most important elements of the bill for struggling households are additional economic impact payments designed to offer direct help, an extension of beefed-up unemployment benefits, and assistance for housing payments. 

What’s next for the bill, and what you should expect

The HEROES Act is, in effect, the opening round in a negotiation. Understanding that, the Democrats threw everything they wanted into the bill, aware that various pieces would have to be negotiated away as they worked with Republicans to hammer out a finished piece of legislation.

So far, Republicans aren’t enthused. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican and the House Minority Leader, tweeted soon after the proposal’s unveiling that it has “no chance of becoming law” and is a “waste of taxpayer time.”

McCarthy’s sentiment is being echoed by his colleagues. Michael Zona, a spokesman for Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, told NBC News that the proposal wouldn’t be able to pass both chambers. The bill is “DOA [dead on arrival] in the Senate,” Zona said.


How to collect unemployment benefits

Video by David Fang

Various Republicans are voicing concerns about the cost of this and previous stimulus packages. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow announced on May 8 that the administration would not be entertaining the idea of more stimulus payments before June. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn’t feel there’s urgent need to pass more stimulus legislation right now. 

While it’s unlikely that the bill in its current form will pass, that’s not to say that some elements won’t make it through. It’s become increasingly clear that the initial $1,200 economic impact payment wasn’t enough for most Americans and that Congress may need to do more. The question is what and, of course, when. 

In the meantime, some households will continue to struggle, McBride points out. “The first round of [stimulus] checks were sorely needed, but the consensus is that it wasn’t going to last people very long,” he says. “There are households in definite need, and will be for some time to come.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell made a similar point on Wednesday when he said the economy could suffer “lasting damage” from the pandemic and the Federal government may need to offer more help. “Additional fiscal support could be costly,” he said at a Peterson Institute for International Economics virtual event, “but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.”

10.10 Ways to Build a “COVID Proof” Mindset and Become Unstoppable

By Craig Ballantyne | 05/4/2020 | 3 Comments

With all of the chaos and uncertainty in the world today, having the right mindset is more important than ever before…

And today, I’m going to teach you 10 simple “COVID proof” mindsets you must develop to become unstoppable and continue growing and thriving no matter what.

1. If You Want to Move Faster, Slow Down

There’s a saying in the Navy SEAL Teams, “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” 

They understand that, in a combat environment, feeling hurried and panicked can mean death. The key to their success is their ability to slow down during stressful situations and act with calm precision. 

The same principle holds true in our lives today.

While it’s more important than ever before to move quickly… it’s equally important that you don’t act hastily.

As Tim Ferriss put it…

“I’ve made plenty of great ‘fast decisions’, but I’ve never made a good rushed decision.”

I know that times are hard and a lot of people are scared… but you need to slow down, take a deep breath, and act with calm precision.

To build a lasting empire, you need to step back and slow down. You need to create space away from work so that you can look at your business objectively and pull the “profit levers” that will allow you to achieve your goals 10X faster. 

In fact, my friend Dan Sullivan, the Founder of Strategic Coach (the biggest high performance coaching company on the planet) says that, “For an entrepreneur to 10X their revenue, they must massively decrease the time they spend working.” 

If you want to move faster in your business…

Generate more profits. 

Serve more clients. 

Create a lasting legacy and an empire that will outlive you. 

…You need to slow down and commit to working ON your business, not IN it. 

Instead of acting like a foot soldier in your own army, be a General, strategically moving troops and identifying the most important battles.

You CAN continue to thrive in a post-COVID ecomony. And, like many of my top clients, you can even earn record breaking revenue and grow your business faster than before.

But to do it, you must be slow, strategic, and calculated.

2. 10X Your Thinking In Every Area of Life 

Peter Diamindis, the founder of XPrize has a simple question that he asks every company before he invests with them and it goes like this: 

“If you had to achieve your ten year goals in the next six months…how would you do it?” 

He doesn’t ask this question because he actually expects the Founders in question to condense a decade’s worth of accomplishments into six months. This question is designed to see how big they can think. 

Right now, you have everything you need to… 

Build a 7- or 8-figure business in the next 12-18 months. 

Write a New York Times best-seller (with a 7-figure advance). 

Quit your soul sucking office job and go all in on your business. 

Work 20 hours less each week so you can spend more time with your family. 

But achieving these goals requires that you 10X your thinking.

You must throw off all preconceived notions about what is possible and realize that you are capable of far more than you realize… even with the corona craziness.

Read biographies of the greatest entrepreneurs in history. Join a mastermind filled with high achievers who are playing the game of business and life 10X harder than you. Study top performers who have achieved the goals you’ve set for yourself and do what they do. 

You have infinitely more potential than you realize. But it’s up to you to see and embrace that potential and actually use it to transform your life. 

3. It is Your Duty and Obligation to Provide Your Solution to the World 

Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is feeling alone, hopeless, and depressed–and crying themselves to sleep because of a problem they are facing in their life.

A problem that you can help them solve. 

You have the solution to their biggest challenge, but they can’t get that solution because you are too scared to offer it. 

You’re worried about other people’s opinions or looking “greedy” for offering a valuable solution during a crisis.

And while you selfishly hide behind your excuses, there are people out there in pain, suffering in silence every day because you are too scared to set your ego aside and help them. 

As an entrepreneur or high-performer, it’s easy to make your product or service about you. It’s easy to procrastinate for months (or even years) while you try to perfect every single detail. 

But when you do this, you’re not only doing a disservice to yourself (because you can’t make money from a product that you never publish or a service that you never offer), but you’re doing a disservice to the thousands of people out there who desperately need what you have to offer. 

When you realize that your business isn’t about you, that it’s about the people you help, everything will change. 

It is your duty and obligation to provide your solution to the world and every day that you wait is a day that someone out there is hurting.

So let go of your ego and serve. Realize that every second you wait is a second you are causing someone else to suffer. And accept that you have a moral obligation to end that suffering in any way you can. 

4. Make Time for What Matters and GSD 

I’m going to let you in on a little “secret.” 

You will never “find time” for the things that matter most. More time isn’t hiding under the bed next to the ab roller (you never use) or tucked away in the pantry behind the cookies (you shouldn’t have bought). 

You can only make time by assessing your values, saying “no”, and structuring your life around the things that are most important to you. 

The first step in reclaiming ownership of your time (and life) is to set non-negotiable commitments to the things that matter most. 

Schedule out things like date night, work outs, family time, legacy work (like writing your book, building your new product, etc.), and leisure first and then, with the “big rocks” in place, fill out the rest of your calendar with meetings and other work. 

Once you have these non-negotiable commitments scheduled, get strict accountability from a coach or colleague and create painful consequences (like donating money to a charity you hate) for failure. 

There’s no hyperbole when I say this strategy has the power to transform your life. 

5. Set Your Ego Aside and Get Objective Eyes 

Without objective outside eyes on your life and business, you will slip into self destructive tendencies and destructive patterns. 

To achieve lasting success, you must constantly question (and be questioned about) whether you’re doing the right things in the right way. It is only by having objective outside eyes who have “been there, done that” that you can focus on what really matters and ignore the rest. 

You must be willing to destroy your beliefs… to cut ties with your rituals and routines … whenever something better and more effective can replace them.

And the only way to identify the right beliefs, rituals, and routines is by hiring a coach (or working with a mentor) who has achieved everything you want to achieve. 

By having someone in your corner who can look at your life and business completely removed from your ego and biases, you can quickly identify what’s working and what needs to be improved. 

I’ve helped clients add 20-50% to their bottom line in (literally) a matter of weeks simply because I could see opportunities they couldn’t see. I was able to peel back the curtain and help them find fast cash opportunities they would have otherwise missed. 

If you want to grow your business and lifestyle as quickly as possible, coaching is not a “good idea”, it’s a mandatory prescription for success. 

6. You Can’t Do it Alone

No matter how skilled, productive, or motivated you are…you cannot do it alone. 

If you want to build an empire (not just a business) that stands the tests of time, creates a real impact in the world, and changes lives, you must expand your network and team to get the support you need. 

In my own business, I have nearly a dozen employees and contractors who are able to do important tasks better and faster than I can, freeing up my time and attention to work ON my business. 

I have an entire team of coaches that I call my “Board of Directors” who help me identify opportunities, eliminate weaknesses, and scale faster. And I have dozens of peers and colleagues who keep me motivated and inspire me on a daily basis. 

Without my team, I could never have achieved the success I enjoy today. And without the right team, you will never achieve your biggest goals and aspirations. 

Right now, I want you to look at your life and change the question from “What” to “Who”. Instead of asking, “What do I need to do?” ask, “Who do I need to help me do this?” 

Do you need to hire a coach to help you fix the proverbial leaks in your business? 

Do you need an assistant to keep you organized and prevent you from getting stuck in busy work? 

Do you need a new marketing manager who can write copy, run campaigns, and conduct split tests while you focus on client retention and business strategy? 

Who do you need on your team to take you to the next level? Answer this and your business will change forever. 

7. Develop Your “Mind Over Matter” 

I don’t care how motivated you are, you won’t always feel like doing the things that need to be done to drive big results in your life and business. 

Human beings are easily influenced by things like nutrition, sleep deprivation, and other triggers (like anxiety, overstimulation, and boredom) and the wave of motivation you were relying on to carry you through the day will crash and fade away.

To sustain peak performance, you must first identify the factors that lead to these mood swings. Things like: 

·       Poor nutrition 

·       Too much caffeine 

·       Sleep deprivation 

·       Distractions 

·       The news (just thinking about CNN increases my blood pressure, ha!)

·       Lack of exercise 

Once you have taken an inventory of your habits and reviewed your days to pinpoint where and why your emotional state dropped off the edge, you can start to disrupt these negative cycles and regain control of your mind. 

Replace these negative habits with positive anchors like meditation, gratitude, changing your environment, and music and develop greater control over your state. 

8. Double Down on Your Decisiveness 

When I was growing up on the farm, my dad told me a story. Now I don’t know if it’s true or not, but when you’re 6 years old, everything your dad says is as powerful as the word of God.

‘Craiggy,” he said, “If you put a donkey in the middle between two bowls of water, it’ll just stand there until it dies of thirst, not knowing which way to go.” 

And I see this play out in the lives of nearly every entrepreneur I coach. 

So many of us are paralyzed with opportunities. We want certainty. We want some sort of guarantee that the path we’re on is exactly the right path.

But the world doesn’t work this way. 

Success is messy. It’s confusing. And it’s anything but a straight line. 

And you must accept that pain, failure, and suffering are simply the price of admission. 

You will make mistakes (that cost you thousands or millions of dollars). You will make the wrong decision (more than once in your life). And you will fail time and time again. 

And even though failure and the wrong decisions will cost you, indecision will cost infinitely more. 

If you waste years of your life waiting around for the “right” opportunity or the “perfect” idea, you will never achieve great success or learn from massive failures. Instead, you will suffer each and every day from the slow but certain failure caused by inaction. 

So be decisive. Commit to a course of action. Embrace failure, setbacks, and frustration as part of the process. 

Realize that indecision always costs more than the wrong decision. 

9. Commit to Radical Alignment 

The #1 cause of stress, anxiety, and depression is misalignment. When your thoughts, words, and actions don’t line up, toxic emotions become inevitable. 

For example, you might say that… 

·       Family is your #1 priority…but you work 80 hours a week, skip date night three times a month, and are always late to your kid’s ball games and recitals.

·       You value health and fitness are important to you…but you eat fast food every week, skip most of your workouts, and never get more than 5 hours of sleep.

·       You crave success and financial freedom…but you spend your time mired in distractions, watching crappy reality TV, and playing fantasy sports with your friends from the bar. 

To become unstoppable and achieve your biggest goals, you must eradicate misalignment wherever you find it. 

If you say something, you do it. Period. 

By making this commitment, not only will you have less stress, anxiety, and frustration, but you will be forced to ruthlessly examine your values and priorities and uncover what is really important to you. 

You may realize that some of the goals you’ve set aren’t really “your” goals. They are goals you adopted from other people. And you might realize that you don’t value certain things as much as you once thought. 

It’s ok. 

The key is to be honest with yourself and others and commit to total alignment between what you think, what you say, and how you live. 

10. Express Gratitude 

Finally, to become truly unstoppable you must cultivate and express unstoppable gratitude on a daily basis. 

Listen, if you are privileged enough to be reading this article right now, it means that you have more advantages and luxuries than 99.99% of all humans who have ever lived. 

You have a roof over your head, access to the internet, food, water, and at least one person who loves you. 

You have a lot to be grateful for. 

But your brain isn’t designed to focus on what’s going right in your life. It’s designed to focus on what’s wrong. 

And when you allow this tendency to go unchecked, it will quickly lead to anxiety, paralyzing fear, and depression. 

If you want to become unstoppable, start by focusing on everything that you have to be grateful for. As Tony Robbin says, “When gratitude appears, fear disappears.” 

When you can shift your thoughts from all of the challenges in your life towards the opportunities and possibilities for your life and the things that are already working in your life, everything changes. When you stop focusing internally (on me, me, me) and start directing your mental energy externally (to helping you, you, and you) the weight of the world lifts off your shoulders.

You’ll feel calmer, cooler, and more collected. You will see challenges and setbacks as they are (instead of thinking that they are the end of the world). And, most importantly, you will be able to enjoy the life you have already created while you work to build the life of your dreams. 

I cover this extensively in Chapter 10 of my groundbreaking book, Unstoppable. In its first month on the shelves it became a Wall Street Journal best seller – and for good reason. It’s an absolute game changer – and if you’re ready to go the next level, you need to get a copy now

PS – Grab a box of kleenex when you read Chapter 10… it’s not only a game changer, it’s a tear jerker that will motivate you to become the best version of yourself.