Topley’s Top Ten – October 1, 2019

1.Eurozone Stocks -20% in U.S. Dollar Terms Over 18 Months.

The JPMorgan analysts point out the eurozone stocks are underowned, after stocks have dropped 20% in U.S. dollar terms over the past 18 months.

Why JPMorgan says it’s time to switch to Europe stocks from U.S.By Steve Goldstein

2.Value Vs. Growth…. Value ETF See Positive Flows

For example, the biggest value ETF in the market, the Vanguard Value ETF (VTV) saw $64 million in net inflows in the last week. The Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG), meanwhile, saw $12 million in net outflows at the same time. These flows came hand in hand with VTV’s outperformance for the week:

A pair of pure style strategies from Invesco saw similar action: the Invesco S&P 500 Pure Value ETF (RPV) gathered $40 million, while the Invesco S&P 500 Pure Growth ETF (RPG) lost a net of $6 million.

These funds, which fish for the top-third highest value stocks in the S&P 500 and top third highest growth-y stocks in the broader index, respectively, offer perhaps a purer exposure to these styles. And in the past week, their performance disparity was even wider. There is almost 6 percentage points between their returns, with value at the lead:

Value ETF Demand & Returns Grow-Cinthia Murphy

3.The U.S. is 60% of the World’s Exchange Reserves…Down but Still Dominant…

Total global foreign exchange reserves in all currencies ticked up 1.1% from the first quarter, to $11.7 trillion. US-dollar-denominated exchange reserves rose only 0.7% to $6.79 trillion, and their share of total global foreign exchange reserves fell to 61.63%, down from 61.86% in the prior quarter. And this has been going on for years in baby steps:

US Dollar Status as Global Reserve Currency Slides

by Wolf Richter • Sep 30, 2019 • 22 Comments • Email to a friend

4.Recent Dollar vs. Euro Chart.

U.S. Stocks Rise to Cap Volatile Quarter–S&P 500 turns in best performance in the first three quarters of a year since 1997

5.News Headlines are Volatile But the Stock Market Volatility Sideways with Occasional Spikes.

2017-2019 stock market volatility

6.Updated Sector Leadership Quilt.

From Ben Carlson Blog–

Found at Abnormal Returns.

7.Bond Flows Still to Longer Duration

Ned Davis Research

8.Scott Galloway on WeWork–WeWTF, Part Deux

@profgalloway   So, the mother of all party crashers took a dump in the We IPO punch bowl. The crasher? Math. The autopsy will show the shelving of this IPO was death by S-1. 

This was a case of immunities kicking in after the requisite SEC disclosure. As the greater fool theory has hit a wall, We will now need additional capital from the private markets, who are no longer under the influence. The firm will be forced to sell equity/issue debt at a price substantially lower than they had anticipated. A price unimaginable just 30 days ago. 

We has gone from unicorn to distressed asset in 30 days. In just seven days, We lost more value than the three biggest losers in the S&P 500 have lost in the last year combined: Macy’s, Nektar Therapeutics, and Kraft Heinz.

So, as a distressed asset, the playbook is fairly clear:

• Bring in new management. What got We here, isn’t going to get it where it needs to go. Each layer that comes off the We onion stinks more and more. The media has turned its attention to the Neumanns, and it’s as if the lights have been turned on at a cocaine-fueled party that ended several hours too late. Everyone and everything suddenly looks bad, scary even.

• The firm needs to bust a move to break even pronto. The new CEO should be from a REIT, ideally a hospitality or commercial real estate REIT. My vote is Adam Markman, CFO of Equity Commonwealth — Sam Zell’s firm.

• Shed/close all non-core businesses. WeGrow and WeLive are vanity projects. As someone close to the firm told me yesterday, they distract Mr. Neumann from the core business, where he was wreaking havoc. A $13 million investment in a firm that makes wave pools to indulge Adam’s passion for surfing. Really? Really?

• Raise money after an adult conversation with SoftBank (“You f*cked up, you trusted us. Do you want to participate in the next round or get washed out?”)

• Focus on margin expansion vs. growth. We has a differentiated product in the marketplace, and should command a premium.

• Lay off all employees not directly tied to managing the core business. Reprice options for remaining employees, as the current options are now worthless and most execs will begin looking for other jobs. The most talented (the ones with the most options) will be the first to leave if they aren’t given substantial economics for staying in Saigon as the North Vietnamese roll into town.

• 3-5 new independent directors. Boards have their own dynamic, irrespective of the qualities of the individuals. The members of this board have formidable experience/CVs. Lew Frankfort (Director) is a first-ballot Hall of Fame retail exec, and he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who’d be bullied by the CEO, or anybody else for that matter. Again, I just can’t figure out what the f*ck happened here. Who is the head of the audit committee, and was he (they were all dudes until last week) the one passing out MDMA before each audit meeting? Or, as a private firm, did they even have audit committee meetings? This is a board that approved a $13 million acquisition of a wave pool company. Or did they?

The directors enabled an information pyramid scheme and indulged Adam, in exchange for hoping they could create enough valuation momentum, via nine rounds, to carry their shares to an exit in the public markets. 

• SoftBank was reportedly considering propping up the IPO with $750 million in share purchases at the offering price. If that’s the case, shouldn’t they want to invest billions more at the now low-low 80%-off price? Or were they simply looking to pump and dump?

The above likely won’t happen. Why? As I said two weeks ago, the lines between vision, bullsh*t, and fraud are pretty narrow. I can’t wrap my head around what’s gone on here. Something is wrong. Something stinks. Something … Just. Doesn’t. Add. Up.

9.Sold Out Video Game Wars…Professional ESports Stadiums Coming to Your Town.

GAMING Overwatch Calls the Philly Special
please turn your images on

Comcast Spectator

Yesterday, Philadelphia took the day off from complaining about Eagles wide receivers to host the finals of the Overwatch League, a professional esports competition for Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch video game. The San Francisco Shock took down the Vancouver Titans to claim the title.  The match was streamed on Twitch, televised nationally on ABC, and sold out the Wells Fargo Center.  The Shock earned $1.1 million, while the Titans brought home $600,000.  The Overwatch League (OWL) is the fastest-growing U.S. sports league in the key 18–34 demo, according to Nielsen.  More growth is ahead  Last Wednesday, Comcast Spectacor and the Philadelphia Fusion OWL team broke ground on a $50 million esports facility in South Philly. It’s the first ground-up, purpose-built esports arena in the U.S. and a symbol of the big changes in store for OWL’s Season 3. In 2020, OWL will become the first esports league to implement a traditional “home-and-away” format, where teams will host games in their own cities like in the NFL or NBA. Right now, most games take place at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, CA.  

10.When You Lose Momentum, You Become Vulnerable to Distraction

Constant motion is crucial to making progress

Thomas Oppong, Founder of Alltopstartups

Courtesy of GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Momentum has a psychological effect.

It’s crucial to growth and getting things done. Like pushing a sledge down a snowy hill, creating momentum makes goal achievement and behavioural change easier and quicker.

“Fast starts are never as important as a cultural hook, consistently showing up and committing to a process, says Seth Godin.

Momentum is just like Newton’s First Law of Motion — an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

In other words, it’s a lot less work to keep moving once you have some momentum than it is to start moving from a dead stop.

To leverage momentum, Jerry Seinfeld recommends you use a physical calendar, where you mark off each day when you’ve done your most important task: “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain,” he says.

By creating and riding on momentum, create a new behaviour pattern. The more momentum you have, the more things you get done. It’s like habit or success stacking, the energy of momentum always feeds on itself.

This principle holds true in almost every pursuit — academics, business, relationships, self-improvement, etc. Actions create momentum, and momentum creates results.

Momentum is motion — progress towards a goal.

It’s a simple idea, but a very powerful force that can help you finish what you start. It’s like a domino effect where one success follows another.

When you are in motion, things happen effortlessly and growth comes quickly. Little victories lead to big victories. Small wins create a snowball effect which leads to bigger accomplishments.

When you’ve built and created momentum, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to get into motion. Your next actions happen with little effort. It’s like compound interest — if you put money in an investment account and it starts to generate interest, you create momentum automatically. Those gains from the compound interest will produce gains of their own and so on.

When you start a new exercise routine and keep pushing yourself every day to get better, you create and ride on momentum.

Identify your focus and create a growth plan

The biggest challenge we face related to focus is not just distractions, but it’s our lack of clarity. Many people go through life looking through a foggy and fuzzy lens. They don’t clarity. When you are certain about your next steps, it’s easier to get started and create momentum.

To grow or get more things done, first, get focused.

For meaningful productivity, you need a strong bias toward action that keeps you on track to doing your best work day in and day out. Resistance to doing work that matters will come from within and without.

Make an actionable growth plan. Identify the destination you seek, then identify the necessary steps to bring that destination into reality. Think things through in the smallest detail. It’s one of the best ways to create the change you want. Change is challenging, but it beats stagnation and regression.

When you are in motion towards something meaningful, you improve your chances of growing your skills, knowledge and getting results.

Think through where you want to land tomorrow. Growth just doesn’t happen; nor does success. Both need focus, a decision, a plan, action and a continual commitment with little or no distractions.

Small distractions can have big consequences

How often do you feel frustrated at the end of the day because your most important tasks are still not done?

Losing momentum slows progress. Every day, you face the “villains” of life and work that can overtake your energy and initiatives. They forge roadblocks and make you detour down a path of shallow work.

According to Udemy’s survey, nearly 3 out of 4 workers (70 percent) admit they feel distracted when they’re on the job, with 16 percent asserting that they’re almost always distracted. The problem is biggest for Millennials and Gen Zers, with 74 percent reporting feeling distracted.

Don’t underestimate even the smallest distractions. Even as a simple phone call can be the bigger diversion.

“Working with 95 volunteers, psychologists Jeff Moher and Joo-Hyun Song at Brown University, along with Brian Anderson at Johns Hopkins University, found that subtle distractors change what we are doing more than obvious ones. But they do not have the same effect on what we see,” writes Diana Kwon of The Scientific American.

People experience distractions differently. Some people can deal with them better than others. Two people will react to a distraction in their immediate environment differently.

Distractions can compromise your effectiveness at work. Your brain requires a significant amount of metabolic resources to process information and perform complicated tasks.

Every time you switch your focus to a new task or stop what you’re doing to take in the distracting element, you lose a portion of that energy.

You lose momentum in the process. It takes even more energy to reach the same level of attentiveness and intellectual capacity you were using before.

By allowing occasional distractions to interrupt your work, you use more brainpower, get tired easily and lose focus.

While building momentum can carry you towards your goals, losing it can be costly to your energy. When you stop performing an action and then start it again, you basically start at the beginning and need to build up the habit again.

While the downside of losing momentum may not be immediately visible, you can be sure that eventually, it will catch up with you at some point in the day.

To perform at your peak, take control of your momentum, and plan your breaks according to allow you to resume at your own pace. Proactively carve out a block of time to rest, recharge and get back to doing what you do best.

Keeping your momentum going can be a challenge – especially when you feel that you don’t need to continue pursuing an action since you already become proficient in it.

The minute that you lose momentum, you lose the thread. You become extremely vulnerable to distraction— you could doubt the possibility of success, other people’s demands creep in, vying for your attention and focus.

You start to generate other new ideas that may seem more worthy of execution, tempting you to move onto the next big thing without ever finishing what you’ve started.

If you can keep moving on your tasks every day, it’s infinitely easier to stay focused, make and feel progress, and blast through the roadblocks that inevitably come up.

“When it comes to momentum, frequency of execution is perhaps more important than the duration of execution. Even if you’re working on your project for just an hour a day that’s enough to keep your objectives and recent activities top of mind. Then, when you sit down to work on it again, you can slip quickly back into the flow,” says Jocelyn K. Glei of 99U.

Consistent execution is paramount to your progress — it keeps your head clear and focused; it rewards you with a constant feeling of progress; and, most importantly, it keeps the ball moving forward.

If you get to the end the day feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything, try treating those less important tasks as distractions. Focus on a few things you can get done that move you closer to your work goals.

If you want to get in shape, write consistently, make great art, eat better, or anything else, build momentum and watch out for distractions.

Workflows, habits, and routines can degrade over time, evaluate them monthly or quarterly to get rid of unseen distractions. Build a system to block out distractions.

Work consistently and put the odds in your favour. Show up every day and you will build enough momentum to build better habits or improve how you work. When it comes to performance, the key is to get moving and keep moving.

Originally published on Medium.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.  

— Published on September 30, 2019