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The Dividend Cafe

Author: The Bahnsen Group

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The Dividend Cafe is your portal for market perspective that is virtually conflict-free, rooted in deep philosophical commitments about how capital should be managed, and understandable for all sorts of investors. Host David L. Bahnsen is a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business. He is the author of the books, Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It (Post Hill Press) and The Case for Dividend Growth: Investing in a Post-Crisis World (Post Hill Press).
581 Episodes
Today's Post - Any time I use some sort of sports analogy in the Dividend Cafe I get a lot of emails from people who connect to it and say they love it, and then I get emails saying, “come on, I don’t care about sports – please just stick to the market!” I am never offended or bothered – Abraham Lincoln had a line about pleasing people once – but I am also not swayed. If I think there is a real investment or economic lesson that can be told with a sports analogy, I am going to mix that chocolate and peanut butter. And I promise you, today’s broad takeaway for investors is worth it even for your tortured souls who hate sports. So jump on in to the Dividend Cafe … Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - So the market went up again today, went negative in the middle of the day, then rallied back in the second half of the day (see chart below). The FDIC is looking to move the cost of the recent bank failures to the banks that didn’t fail (read: to their customers), Sen. Joe Manchin has decided he regrets his support of the “Inflation Reduction Act” atrocity, I wrote of extraordinary bond market volatility two days ago, and then we went two days in a row with bonds frozen in time, and Dr. Anthony Fauci has himself a speaking gig (not sure if it will be virtual or not?). I remain convinced that the key issue adding to profitability in the energy sector going forward is constrained supply, much of which is a decision and some of which is circumstantially forced. Sen. Manchin’s op-ed mentioned above may reflect a sitting U.S. Senator shocked – shocked! – to discover that many do not want to facilitate U.S. energy independence, but it is not a shock at all. And what it does is make the sector even more attractive as it pertains to legacy and incumbent assets, pipelines, and producers. The sector is capital constrained, which boosts expected rates of return for the capital that comes in. It is supply constrained, which boosts prices and margins for the supply that comes online. And it is sentiment constrained, which boosts risk premium around as a contrarian reality. It will ebb and flow, no doubt, but what the opponents of our U.S. energy sector never understand is that all the bad things are actually good things for investors. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - I read an interesting line from an analyst I read daily in my morning research this morning … “if the bulls are to reclaim control of this market, beta likely needs to reassert itself; hasn’t happened yet.” Of course, this sort of begs the question – bulls of what? Well, if one means “the market index,” then they have essentially said, “if those bullish for beta are to get what they want, beta needs to do well.” I think we call that a tautology. “If I am to eat ice cream I like, I will first have to eat ice cream that I like” is not a super profound observation. But I am not picking on this analyst or the comment – I am pointing out the premise hidden in the statement – that a “bull” means the “index” (beta just measures the portion of a return that is really index/market oriented). It highlighted for me how differently we think at TBG – that one can be agnostic about a broad market index (which is neither bullish nor bearish) yet still bullish on an investment strategy that is not remotely connected to beta … Indeed, to that end we work. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - There are two things I think I have amply covered over the last few weeks: (1) Equity market volatility; and (2) the Bond market rally. Both things are true – equities have been all over the map, up and down, even as they are mostly flat (or actually slightly up) since all this banking commotion began. And bonds are indeed up a great deal, with the 1-year yield down a stunning 75 basis points since this began just three weeks ago and the longer end of the curve itself down 50 basis points. But what is not covered in there is bond market volatility. The swings we have seen in bond yields in the last month are not like anything we have seen since Lehman in 2008. The “VIX” for bonds has elevated beyond what it did during COVID and beyond what it did during the taper tantrum of 2013. This is despite all the quantitative easing that has been done and the general “flight to safety” government bonds represent. Now, much like equities (if not more so), one could argue these “day to day” swings in bond yields (and therefore in bond prices) really do not matter, and that would be true if all we were talking about was the investment return of one holding these underlying government bonds. But I bring it up because I think it speaks to something more than an expected return in a given asset class, but rather a deeper uncertainty, unpredictability, and general directionlessness that is perhaps permeating more than people understand. The policy milieu is not coherent right now, and rip-roaring bond market volatility says so. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - There is a lot today on Housing, which is a matter of practical significance to a lot of you, and there is a lot today on the banking mess and the Fed, which is also connected to Housing. So I think you’ll find today’s missive practical and interesting. After reports throughout the weekend that both First Citizens Bank and Valley National Bank were bidding with the FDIC to take over Silicon Valley Bank (both publicly traded, sub-$10bn market cap banks, the former out of North Carolina and the latter from New Jersey), the Monday morning announcement ended up being that First Citizens Bank would be the buyer. I don’t think the ownership of Silicon Valley Bank’s deposits, loans, brand, and locations is that important to markets overall, with the FDIC having already put unlimited depositor protection in place. The final resolution of their capital markets and securities business is more relevant to us at The Bahnsen Group, for a variety of portfolio-related reasons. And really the final resolution of what will happen with First Republic Bank is the most pressing issue across markets out of the wide array of contenders. Did you know the market closed at 32,254 the day of the Silicon Valley reports on Thursday, March 9, and closed at 32,238 on Friday, March 24, just two weeks later? In between there were ten days of extreme volatility and one day of light volatility, but from the start point to end point, it was dead. flat. in. the. market. And after today markets are UP since this soap opera began. Go figure. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - We are in a moment of “volatile Sundays” in the financial services industry. This is when market actors, policymakers, movers, and shakers have big news to announce on a Sunday in an effort to “beat markets opening”, or as Ben Bernanke once joked that his memoir would be called, “before Asia opens.” I lived through it in spades in 2008 – Fannie and Freddie’s conservatorship, Lehman’s bankruptcy, Wachovia into the arms of Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley’s deal with Mitsubishi, and the government’s extended backstop of Citi – all on different Sunday afternoon/evenings in either September, October, or November of 2008. I can tell you where I was, what I was doing, the exact date, the exact time, and all the things. Good times. The last couple of Sundays have been a little adventurous, but for different reasons and with different catalysts. In a different environment, the news that UBS had done a “rescue acquisition” of Credit Suisse would have been the biggest news story of the entire year. I want to unpack it this week and share some thoughts on where it may be relevant for you, regular U.S. investors presumably with no direct exposure to either UBS or Credit Suisse, who normally just prefer to use your Sundays for church, family, rest, and sports. Let’s jump into the Dividend Cafe! Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - That the market gave up -500 points in fifteen minutes at the end of the day yesterday but then rebounded +500 points this morning is, to me, validation of my theory regarding yesterday: that it was a closing speculative trade. Fundamentally, the facts on the table (where they are known) are not really subject to much debate. So an interesting thing happened on the way home from processing the Fed’s announcement yesterday … Math. The Fed is now projecting a +0.4% real GDP growth rate this year, yet a +3.2% growth rate is currently showing in the Atlanta Fed model for Q1 (others have it at +2% and others at +2.5%). Regardless of whether or not Q1 comes in at +2% or +3% (and this always refers to an annualized quarterly number), you can’t get from there to +0.4% on the year without … wait for it … a recession. But the Fed is also showing a projection of no rate cuts this year. And Powell is talking about a credit crunch coming and the financial markets doing their tightening for them. And the first two years of the yield curve are entirely inverted. And the futures market expectation for the 3-month t-bill rate (currently 4.75%) is that in 18 months, it will be below 3.5%. So what should we make of this? Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - All that matters today is what the Fed did and said. And what they did was raise rates a quarter point. And what they said was that “financial conditions have tightened” (well, there you go). And he said that these tighter financial conditions and tougher lending criteria from banks will “factor into their policy decisions” (phew). As for a First Republic deal – the bank whose depositors basically now have a backstop from the FDIC but has now seen enough deposit withdrawals to warrant a deal with a bigger back to shore up its capital strength – the issue appears now to be what government backstop or assistance will be a part of any deal (something I predicted last week … any buyer in a position of strength knows the issue is systemic risk, and therefore has the leverage to ask for some sweeteners to come with the deal). Some of the items being discussed (per reports) are liability protection and/or relief on capital requirements and/or other regulatory relaxations. Keep your popcorn handy. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - I imagine it is quite likely that the bond market has seen its highs in bond yields for quite some time to come (across the whole yield curve). The 10-year sits at 3.5%, down from 4.21%, and I will be surprised if it gets back up to that level. Likewise, the short end sits at 4.5%, down from over 5%, and I don’t see it getting back there, either. If I am wrong, I am wrong, but I don’t think I am here. China has bought $88 billion in oil, natural gas, and coal from Russia since the war began last year, up over $30 billion from the year prior and causing Russia to beat out Saudi Arabia as China’s leading supplier. The government is evaluating how they can increase FDIC deposit insurance levels above $250,000 without getting Congressional approval. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - For the second week in a row, I get to do hours upon hours of reading and writing over the weekend, only to have Sunday interventions make obsolete much of that reading and writing. Keep reading to understand more … There is no question that the major story in markets right now is sort of the only story, and that is the day-to-day perceptions of the banking system at home and abroad. Last week the market was down a hundred points Monday but had been up +350 in the middle of the day. Then Tuesday was up +350 before Wednesday was down -280 (but had been down -700 points). Thursday was then up +375 points, and Friday was down -380 points. So all in, from beginning to end, the market was dead flat on the week. Yep. Dead flat but with substantial movement each and every day. And then, today, we were up +383 points, basically the exact same level as Friday’s downturn. THIS is the type of market where people have a chance to act truly, truly foolish. It is also a prime-time example of directionless volatility. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - In this week’s Dividend Cafe, I again decided not to limit myself to one topic but to take the recent avalanche of questions we have received and go through them all, one by one, creating quite a “multi-topic” Dividend Cafe for you. I think you will find the questions intriguing, and I hope you will find the answers satisfying. From questions about student loans to the Fed to depositor insurance to how to select a wealth advisor, we have it all this week (and then some). Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - Brian Szytel here with you today reviewing continued market volatility with today’s 700-point swing, albeit today to the upside, surrounding ongoing stress in the financial sector, along with a significant list of new economic data points. I have a full agenda in today’s video podcast link below with updates on employment, manufacturing, interest rates, and a deep dive into what is unfolding in the banking sector and what it may mean for you. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - This is Trevor Cummings, and I am sitting in for David Bahnsen to bring you DC Today. There is a common idiom in the English language, “Wait until the dust settles.” This adage encourages one to be patient until they have more clarity. Investors crave clarity, and when things become too foggy or dusty, investor anxieties skyrocket. These anxieties surface as market volatility, which you are currently enduring. At this stage, everyone is still sifting through the rubble of SVB to separate substance from hysteria. I want to encourage you to read David Bahnsen’s special Silicon Valley Bank Dividend Cafe, which was published Monday. Our intent here at The Bahnsen Group is to keep you informed and guide you through the dust. David will even be writing a Dividend Cafe piece on Friday dedicated to the plethora of questions we’ve received this week – you won’t want to miss that. With that said, let’s talk about what happened around the markets today…
Today's Post - ASK DAVID “What do all these things happening with Silicon Valley Bank and the FDIC mean for small and regional banks? Are those banks going to have to pay even more in deposit rates to lure and retain banking customers?” ~ Dave That is certainly a concern, yes – that even with FDIC protection and solvency issues addressed, the smaller banks may be forced to really punish their own margins with punitive levels of interest paid on deposits. I personally believe the next few days are critical to getting a feel for what the aftermath will mean for regional and small banks. I expect there may be a better answer for “super regionals” and a worse answer for “community/small” banks, but both customer sentiment and policy ramifications are still in the TBD phase. Moody’s did put six good-sized regional banks on review for a credit rating downgrade, citing the level of uninsured deposits and mark-to-market losses in their asset portfolios. But at this time, there has been no need for these banks to sell hold-to-maturity assets. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Blogpost - There is really only one story in financial markets right now, and that is the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank and various ramifications from that. We sent a special Dividend Cafe on all of that and more this morning!!! If all you do is read one thing, read that. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Blogpost - Today we are going to talk about something no one else seems to be talking about, and that may be one of the worst things imaginable for financial media ratings if it ever gets out. It is not controversial. It is, to me, somewhat obvious. But it is highly counter-cultural, and as I say, for many, it is highly problematic. Jump on into the Dividend Cafe! Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Blogpost - A big market sell-off again now means the market has gone up 1,000 points and down 1,000 points in the last nine days. And Happy Anniversary (14 years ago today) to the generational market bottom in 2009 out of the Great Financial Crisis! Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's post: Key Economic Points of the Day: ADP reported 242,000 private sector jobs created in February. The correlation between the ADP and BLS numbers each month has not been very tight for a while now. Job openings came in at 10.82 million for February, 300k higher than expected. It had been 11.2 million last month. The trade deficit came in at $68.3 billion in February, a little less than expected. Total trade was up +7.6% versus last January ($18.1bn), indicating ongoing improvement in supply chain conditions versus a year ago. ASK DAVID “I noticed Sen. Elizabeth Warren grilling Jerome Powell yesterday, and her main point (that the primary causes of inflation and the only tool the fed has to fight inflation are disconnected) sounded familiar. Would you have ever guessed that you would find common ground with a left-wing Senator from Massachusetts? She did have to get price gouging theory in there though …” ~ Jack B. I’ve said this countless times – that though the progressive’s motives are to pin the blame for inflation on “capitalist greed” (the most preposterous theory imaginable), the right’s agenda here will leave them regretting it when economic opponents are the ones making the case that, no, people having jobs is NOT inflationary. Inflation is a highly toxic issue politically, no doubt, and parties not in power will make hay of it when they can just out of political reality. But the need of the hour is economic growth, and for the right to join the fray in alleging that growth and jobs are inflationary is absurd. For Elizabeth Warren to be the one making the case that the Fed is about to do more harm than good is heartbreaking to this movement conservative. Links mentioned in this episode:
Today's Post - Key Economic Point of the Day: Futures market completely flip-flopped – went to a 70% chance of a half-point hike at the next meeting, with a 30% chance of a quarter-point hike (had been 30% and 70% just yesterday) ASK DAVID “What do your most recent observations in the city tell you about the state of the New York City office market?” ~ Anthony The fact of the matter is, anyone walking around the 40’s or 50’s (streets) on Tuesday through Thursday can tell offices are not merely 50% occupied in midtown – it is closer to 85% on those days. Where the vacancies lie are in bad and antiquated “old” products. The better quality class B and certainly class A office product is full 3-4 days a week, and tenants are renewing leases. A 10% vacancy rate that has gone to 20% inclusive of ALL NYC office products is really not that bad considering everything that has transpired. If you asked any office landlord 30 months ago if they would be content with the scenario they face now by February 2023, they would have killed for it. The leverage landlords are carrying is case by case, too, but if you all are asking whether or not foot traffic is back, New York City is utterly packed. There are moving parts, no doubt, and a new and class-A product is in the best position. But once again, the death of office, the death of going to work, and yes, the death of New York City, as painfully misdiagnosed. Links mentioned in this episode:
I have written about excessive indebtedness many times in these Dividend Cafe pages, including a piece nearly two years ago that I think has held up quite well.  Lately I have written about Japanification, which is not quite the same topic (though there is certainly heavy overlap). I have long believed in treating the disease, not the symptoms, and I didn't even go to medical school (in fact, if I had, it seems these days I'd be less likely to believe that).  That may be an overused cliche, but it has utility when it comes to how we think about our personal lives, our health, our finances, and so many other things.  And when it comes to the issue of Japanification I think the overall subject will be served to look with more granularity at the nature of the excessive debt to which I refer. This is a seriously action-packed Dividend Cafe, and if you do not agree after reading it you are entitled to a full refund of your subscription price. Let's jump in to the Dividend Cafe ... Blog post here: Links mentioned in this episode:
Comments (8)

Scott Mericle

After hearing David on The World and Everything In It, I decided to Google him and came across some great additional sources to hear him... including this gem of a podcast!

Aug 28th

Jonathan Grossman

David's logical brillance makes all of his afternoon missives easy to listen to and understand. On a personal note David's commentary gives me confidence as a client of the Bahnsen Group.

Aug 1st

stinky rex

great breakdown of the situation in simple layman terms. always come out feeling better about things after listening to David.

Apr 28th

stinky rex

came to this podcast via Radio Free California. awesome commentary, makes complicated stuff seem simple.

Nov 26th
Reply (1)

CAFEtech Los Angeles

Best podcast on economic and financial matters that I have yet discovered.

Sep 13th

Moises Perez

Amazing podcast. I suggest you market this podcast more. Ive been looking for a informative podcast on the markets and found this podcast on my last try.

Jul 28th
Reply (1)
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