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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by: Vanessa Guadiana | Posted on: October 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments

  1. MID-TERM ELECTIONS – Since 1950, there have been just 6 calendar years when a Democrat was in the White House and Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate.  The average total return for the S&P 500 during those 6 years was a gain of +21.3% per year.  The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation.  It is a market value weighted index with each stock’s weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).
  2. PLEASE VOTE – Only 37.8% of the US voting-age population voted in the 2010 mid-term elections.  The 2014 mid-term elections will take place in 3 weeks on 11/04/14 (source: Federal Election Commission).
  3. BIG UP AND BIG DOWN – The S&P 500 has experienced 4 consecutive days of total return gains or losses of at least 1% through last Friday 10/10/14, the most volatility for the stock index since it had 5 straight days of 1% changes from 8/23/11 to 8/29/11.  As of last Friday, the S&P 500 is down 5.2% from its all-time closing high set on 9/18/14 (source: BTN Research).
  4. IT WAS LAST NIGHT, DUMMY – Last Thursday (10/09/14) was the 12-year anniversary of the low-point of the 2000-02 bear market for US stocks.  At the close of business on Wednesday 10/09/02, the S&P 500 bottomed at 777 (a fall of 49% over 30 ½ months), before beginning a 5-year bull market run that closed at 1565 on 10/09/07 (i.e., a gain of +101%).  Ironically, the business section headline in the USA Today newspaper on Thursday 10/10/02 was “Where’s the Bottom, No End in Sight” (source: USA Today).
  5. MOSTLY UP – The S&P 500 has produced a negative total return in only 5 of the last 25 fourth quarters, i.e., the months of October-November-December over the years 1989-2013.  The 5 down 4th quarters took place in 1994, 2000, 2007, 2008 and 2012 (source: BTN Research).
  6. LONGER LIFE – The life expectancy at birth of an average American was 61.7 years in 1935, the year that Social Security was created.  Life expectancy at birth is 78.8 years today (source: Center for Disease Control).
  7. THE ORIGINAL PLAN – President Barack Obama sent to Congress his budget plan for fiscal year 2014 (i.e., the 12 months that ended 9/30/14) on 4/10/13, i.e., 1 ½ years ago.  His plan called for $3.034 trillion of tax receipts, $3.778 trillion of government outlays and a $744 billion budget deficit (source: White House).
  8. THE REALITY – The latest estimates for fiscal year 2014 (i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/14) are $2.993 trillion of tax receipts and $3.576 trillion of spending, producing a $583 billion deficit (source: Treasury Department).
  9. OPEN FOR BUSINESS THIS YEAR – The US government was in the midst of a 16-day shutdown a year ago.  Since no funding bill had been passed by Congress, fiscal year 2014 began on 10/01/13 with a closed Washington, its 12th shutdown since 1980.  President Obama signed legislation on 10/17/13 that gave Congress until mid-January 2014 to agree on fiscal year 2014 spending limits (source: Congress).
  10. IN THEIR MID-THIRTIES – Former college students take 13.4 years to pay off their student loans, i.e., an average 22-year old graduating senior with student loans will be almost 35 ½ years old before being debt-free of student loans (source: Brookings Institution).
  11. HELP WANTED – There were 4.835 million job openings in the nation as of 8/31/14, the highest level of job openings in the country since January 2001.  One year earlier (8/31/13), there were 3.883 million jobs openings nationwide (source: Department of Labor).
  12. PUT IT ON THE CARD – Total credit card debt in the USA as of 8/31/14 was $880.3 billion, an average of $7,828 of credit card debt for every household in the nation (source: Federal Reserve).
  13. WHO GIVES WHAT – The 3 most generous states (measured by charitable gifts as a percentage of adjusted gross income) are Utah, Mississippi and Alabama.  The 3 least generous states are New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont (source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy).    
  14. WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT – The number of federal government workers has decreased by 416,000 over the last 25 years (i.e., 9/30/89 to 9/30/14), but the number of state and local workers (excluding teachers) has increased by +2.2 million over the same period (source: Department of Labor).
  15. SPEED UP – Major league baseball has seen the average length of a game increase by 29 minutes since 1981 (to 3 hours and 2 minutes).  New rules are being tested in the Arizona Fall League to speed up “pace of play” including requiring a pitcher just 20 seconds to throw each pitch (source: Major League Baseball).


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