DC Today is a daily missive from the Dividend Cafe of The Bahnsen Group. While the Dividend Cafe’s weekly market commentary is meant to be long-form, macroeconomic, and principle-driven, the DC Today’s purpose is to provide a daily synopsis of markets, politics, and current events. It will be short, sweet, and hopefully, informative. Our goal is to bring you the latest and most relevant market information and insights, written only by us. Please feel free to share The DC Today with your friends and family. And of course, we always welcome your feedback as to how we can make it more relevant and practical for you!

Dear Valued Clients and Friends –

It was quite an odd day in the market and there are plenty of interesting things going on in the world today, including some of the most noteworthy COVID information I have shared to date.  So jump on in to the DC Today and reach out if any questions or comments!

Market Action

  • The Dow futures were pointing down ~50 points or so last night, and then were up ~140 points or so at 4am this morning.  The market opened right around +100 and stayed flat from there for a couple hours before beginning a choppy descent down that picked up steam in the final 45 minutes of trading.  The Dow closed down 345 points, with the S&P 500 down 1.16%, and the Nasdaq down 0.82%.

*FactSet, DJIA, Nov. 18, 2020

  • Coming into today’s trading session, 91% of the small-cap universe is trading above its 50-day moving average.  Internal momentum is surging in the small-cap space.

Top New Stories

  • Pfizer released updated data on their stage 3 trials, indicating 95% efficacy (had been 91% or so in the prior estimate).  This 95% efficacy a full 28 days after the first dose is really above and beyond anyone’s expectations.  Interestingly, the effectiveness was maintained (94%) even for elderly people in the trial.  The incredibly catchy name for the treatment is BNT162b2.  The submission for emergency use authorization from the FDA is just days away.  50 million doses are expected within the next five weeks and 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
  • New York City announced their public schools were closing again, despite a positivity rate of just 3%, and a complete absence of school-oriented transmissions and severities.


  • A really profound discovery yesterday: Hospitalization data requirements were updated October 6 to require inclusion of “observation beds” – wherein someone in and out for observation (same day) is added to the hospitalization log (prior to that, inpatient tracking only included those who were, well, an inpatient for COVID).  These new rules (actual government document here) came with severe financial penalties where reporting is deemed inadequate.
  • Offered without further comment …

Public Policy

  • I previously reported that Joe Biden had named Ron Klain his Chief-of-Staff, long-time insider to Biden world.  Jen O’Malley Dillon was named deputy chief of staff yesterday (his campaign manager), and various senior members of the campaign became senior advisors and counselors to the President-elect.  Cabinet nominations are expected to begin in just a couple of days.
  • Speaker Pelosi has secured the votes for a renewed speakership, but indicated this will be her last term pursuing such.

Housing & Mortgage

  • New purchase mortgage applications rose +3.5% week-over-week after declines six of the last seven weeks.  New purchase apps are up 26% year-over-year.  This plateau of new apps largely comes as inventories are at record low levels, and affordability is reaching near low levels.
  • Housing Starts came in at 1.53 million (more than the 1.46 million expected), and with single family starts rising +6.4% month-over-month.

Federal Reserve

  • The GOP Senate was two votes short of confirming Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, with two Republican Senators having to quarantine for COVID exposure.  So the long and short of it is that her nomination is hanging on a thread, but it is not necessarily a done deal as if there were a re-vote (which McConnell kept the ability to do so), and these two Senators were back, it would apparently pass.

Oil and Energy

  • WTI Crude closed at $41.81/barrel, up a tad, despite a 800,000 build in crude inventories reported by EIA (which was less than the 1.95mm estimate from analysts)
  • OPEC+ appears close to an agreement to extend the production cut level down to 7.7mm BPD through March 2021

On deck

  • More COVID news and announcements will come …
  • … and more Biden nominations and intentions will come as well
  • And weekly jobless claims come tomorrow.

Be well, be safe, be free.  I miss saying that.

With regards,

David L. Bahnsen
Chief Investment Officer, Managing Partner

The Bahnsen Group

The DC Today features research from S&P, Baird, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and the IRN research platform of FactSet. those of HighTower Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates.

The Bahnsen Group is registered with HighTower Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC, and with HighTower Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Securities are offered through HighTower Securities, LLC; advisory services are offered through HighTower Advisors, LLC.

This is not an offer to buy or sell securities. No investment process is free of risk, and there is no guarantee that the investment process or the investment opportunities referenced herein will be profitable. Past performance is not indicative of current or future performance and is not a guarantee. The investment opportunities referenced herein may not be suitable for all investors.

All data and information reference herein are from sources believed to be reliable. Any opinions, news, research, analyses, prices, or other information contained in this research is provided as general market commentary, it does not constitute investment advice. The team and HighTower shall not in any way be liable for claims, and make no expressed or implied representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the data and other information, or for statements or errors contained in or omissions from the obtained data and information referenced herein. The data and information are provided as of the date referenced. Such data and information are subject to change without notice.

This document was created for informational purposes only; the opinions expressed are solely those of the team and do not represent those of HighTower Advisors, LLC, or any of its affiliates.

About the Author


Founder, Managing Partner,
and Chief Investment Officer

David is a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business and is a regular contributor to National Review and Forbes. David serves on the Board of Directors for the National Review Institute and is a founding Trustee for Pacifica Christian High School of Orange County.

He is the author of the books, Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It (Post Hill Press), The Case for Dividend Growth: Investing in a Post-Crisis World (Post Hill Press) and his latest, Elizabeth Warren: How Her Presidency Would Destroy the Middle Class and the American Dream (2020).

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