Market Commentary – November 2020

With the U.S. presidential election finally over and a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, stocks were able to stage a significant rally in November. While the election results were not as swift as we had preferred, in the end Joe Biden won a decisive victory that has removed a significant overhang from markets. Many have been surprised by the fact that President Trump has continued to challenge the election results, but we view it as merely an attempt to save face in the eyes of his supporters. We do anticipate Trump to be a dominant figure in the Republican party for years to come and would expect him to make another run at the presidency in 2024. Perhaps more important than the presidential race has been the rapid development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines with efficacy rates north of 90%. Record-breaking COVID-19 infection rates across the globe have been alarming, but investors have been willing to look past them as vaccines near distribution. Aside from the availability of a vaccine, the general public has become increasingly fatigued with the limitations on daily life imposed by the pandemic. As a result, we do see the economic recovery surprising to the upside in many instances, but it has not been an even recovery. There is certainly evidence of a “K-shaped” recovery as lockdowns disproportionately hurt low-income workers with little savings, while the wealthy are better than ever due to surging stock prices. Additionally, there have been tectonic shifts in the economy that have benefited certain sectors and these changes could be lasting. Over the past eight months, the growth-oriented technology sector has made significant gains. Yet, as we get closer to a vaccine the “reopening trade” has started to increasingly favor beaten-down value stocks and small capitalization companies. Absent any major shocks, we expect stocks to continue their run upward into year-end and the rotation into small caps, in particular, to generate some of the best returns.