Dear Valued Clients and Friends –
Here we are – Labor Day weekend – the annual “transition” from summer to fall. We also are now less than two months from the election. We experienced our first tumult in this really heated technology sector late last week. Some schools opened, some have not. Some colleges are playing, some football are not (shame on my Trojans). And some investment advisors are tired, some are not.
COVID action will be first in the missive as always, but I do think a market recap is worthwhile, too, and would send you to the Friday Dividend Cafe here.
COVID Health Information
- I was unable to watch cable news today so I would have missed what may have been their story of the night, or may not have been covered at all: COVID hospitalizations are today at the lowest point since the initial surge in late March (32,358).
- It appears the other big COVID news of the weekend is the “positive” cases across college campuses have so far resulted in ZERO hospitalizations nationally. It seems to me there is no way you can get 11,000+ positives with zero severities without an awful lot of false positives are totally asymptomatic cases, but I can’t verify that. I can, though, let you draw your own conclusions.
*Dr. Andrew Bostom, Sept. 4, 2020
- Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest maker of diabetes drugs, believes they are seeing huge promise for treating COVID with GLP-1 drugs (that target blood sugar) … Their primary approved use has been diabetes control and weight loss, and further studies are needed to advance this case. The benefit is not alleged to be anti-viral but rather dampening inflammation.
- Fascinating update from Sweden, not only in how low their death count has stayed since the initial infection exposure in April/May, but how high their percentage of mortalities was also that required a co-morbidity (or multiple co-morbidities)
* Pantheon Macroeconomics, Sept. 4, 2020
- Today’s testing data shows 813,122 tests done per day this weekend (average), with a positivity rate of 4.5% today and 5.1% or so over the weekend. Record lows.
* The COVID Tracking Project, Sept. 6, 2020
Fascinating Nuggets from Various States
- Cases today were The Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of Florida said of Florida’s collapse in COVID cases and lack of escalation in mortalities from their summer spike, “inexplicable.”
*Alachua Chronicle, Sept. 5, 2020
- The “COVID-like illnesses” (CLI) in Arizona are not lower than they were in December 2019 when, ummmm, there was no COVID …
*Arizona Dept of Health, Sept. 6, 2020
- COVID hospital occupancy is, today, the lowest it has been since June 29th
- Orange County is averaging a 9.5% DECLINE in COVID hospitalizations per day. There are currently 253 hospitalized COVID patients in the county of 3.5 million people, 77 of which are in ICU. There are 6,500 hospital beds in the county. The Governor has called Orange County a “widespread” tier 1 “purple” category, despite being under the daily case and positivity rate threshold.
- To be clear, Orange County’s hospitalizations are 1/3rd what they were at the peak, and yet is now in a stricter tier than it was then.
- San Diego is under 200 COVID hospitalizations, lowest since April 6. This is less than Hawaii has, and San Diego has 3x the population.
* Worldometers.Info, Sept. 6, 2020
As of Friday morning Secretary Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi had at least come to an agreement (informally at this point) to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September. Reportedly a conditional resolution will be passed without a lot of controversial add-ons that would have likely prohibited bipartisan support.
This is separate from any potential COVID stimulus deal, a deal that looks less and less likely to come by the day.
Secretary Mnuchin did confirm Sunday that the White House supports GOP Senate plans to do something, now, even if it is not the $2.5 trillion+ deal Speaker Pelosi is demanding. This deal would include $300/week of unemployment insurance supplement, another round for PPP support, $10 billion to the post office, and liability protection.
You can imagine where this fits into the housing market, present and future, but the percentage of young adults (ages 18-29) living with their parents has risen to 52% (it was 47% pre-COVID). This is the highest in ~80 years. Presumably the boost of this year is somewhat temporary around COVID realities but obviously some will prove sticky.
My kids are 10, 13, and 15 and I am already sick of them (just kidding, sort of).
Futures are closed because of the Labor Day holiday. Futures markets will open 6pm Monday night (ET) and market exchanges will open normal hours Tuesday morning.
Be well, be safe, be free.
David L. Bahnsen
Chief Investment Officer, Managing Partner
The Bahnsen Group
This week’s Dividend Cafe features research from S&P, Baird, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and the IRN research platform of FactSet.