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Bill’s By The Number$

  1. TIME IN THE STOCK MARKET – If you selected any single month at random to invest in the S&P 500 during the 30-years ending 6/30/21, you achieved a positive total return 67% of the time. If you extend your investment time horizon to just 1 year, you achieved a positive total return 83% of the time.  If your time horizon was 5 years, you achieved a positive total return 84% of the time.  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).
  1. NEXT MONTH – August has been the 2nd worst performing month for the S&P 500 index over the last 30 years (1991-2020), losing an average of 0.2% (total return) over the period. However, the S&P 500 gained +7.2% (total return) in August 2020 (source: BTN Research).
  1. THEY HAD TO BE SURE – The government announced on Monday 7/19/21 that the recession the United States entered into at the end of February 2020 lasted just 2 months, ending on 4/30/20. The recession, the 18th in the country in the last 100 years, was the shortest recession in the last century.  The other 17 recessions in the last 100 years lasted on average 13.6 months (source: Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research).
  1. WHERE THE WEALTH IS – The amount of equity American seniors at least age 62 have in their homes has doubled since the end of 2011, rising from $4 trillion as of 12/31/11 to $8 trillion as of 12/31/20 (source: National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association).
  1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOW RATES – 27% of households with an outstanding mortgage on their primary residence have applied to refinance their mortgage within the last year as of June 2021 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. NOT AS MANY ON THE MARKET – There were 1.25 million existing homes for sale nationwide in June 2021, 1.54 million existing homes for sale in June 2020 and 1.92 million existing homes for sale in June 2019 (source: National Association of Realtors).
  1. CHEAPER NOW – The median 2-bedroom apartment in San Francisco cost $3,146 per month in March 2020, but has dropped 14% to $2,695 per month as of July 2021 (source: apartmentlist.com).
  1. JUNKY STUFF – The “investment grade” corporate bond market is more than 5 times as large as the “junk-rated” corporate bond market, i.e., $6.7 trillion of “investment grade” corporate bonds outstanding compared to $1.2 trillion of “junk-rated” corporate bonds (source: Ice Data Services).
  1. STRONG BANKS – As of 7/22/21, the last bank in the United States to require a bailout from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was the Almena State Bank of Almena, KS on 10/23/20 or 9 months ago. That’s the 3rd longest stretch without a bank failure in the country in the last 20 years (source: FDIC).
  1. JUST TAKE UBER – The price of used cars and trucks in the United States is up +45.2% for the 1-year period ending 6/30/21. Over the same period, the price of “medical care services” is up just +1.0% (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  1. THE HIGH COST OF CARE – 12% of US retirees, i.e., 1 out of 8, will spend at least 4 years in a nursing home (source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College).
  1. HAPPENED EARLIER THAN EXPECTED – Between March 2020 (i.e., the beginning of the global pandemic) and June 2021, 1.7 million more Americans retired from the workforce than would have normally retired if historical trends had continued (source: Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis).
  1. DOWN, BUT STILL A LONG LIFE – Life expectancy at birth dropped to 77.3 years in 2020, down from 78.8 years in 2019. Life expectancy at birth was 77.4 years in 2005 (source: National Vital Statistics Report).
  1. IDENTIFY THIEVES – 394,000 Americans filed an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2020. According to the FTC, the criminals were using the stolen information “overwhelming” to “fraudulently obtain unemployment benefits” (source: IdentifyTheft.gov/unemploymentinsurance).
  1. REALLY GOOD GOLFER – When Collin Morikawa won the British Open golf tournament on 7/18/21, he became the 1st golfer in history to win 2 different golf majors in his debut effort. Morikawa won the PGA Championship in San Francisco in August 2020.  Morikawa made the cut in his first 22 professional tournaments (source: PGA).

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Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

Bill’s By The Number$

  1. BULL RALLY – The current bull market for the S&P 500 is the index’s 8th bull run in the last 50 years. This bull has gained +97.6% (total return) from 3/23/20 through last Friday 7/16/21.  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).
  1. ARE YOU WEALTHY? – The average response from 1,000 Americans surveyed in the first half of 2021 is that it takes a net worth of $1.9 million in order to be considered “wealthy” in the United States today (source: Schwab 2021 Modern Wealth Survey).
  1. HAVE A BETTER IDEA? – 54% of young adults ages 18-24 surveyed in June 2021 have a negative view of capitalism (source: SurveyMonkey).
  1. WONDER WHY? – Despite an increase in the price of oil in 2021, the production of crude oil is relatively flat this year. Crude oil was $48.52 a barrel as of 12/31/20, increasing to $71.81 a barrel as of Friday 7/16/21.  The US field production of crude oil was 11.0 million barrels a day as of 1/01/21, up to 11.4 million barrels a day as of Friday 7/09/21 (source: Department of Energy).
  1. WHAT’S YOUR HOME DONE? – The average single-family home in the USA has appreciated +15.7% over the 1-year ending 4/30/21, up +7.9% per year over the last 5-years, up +6.4% per year over the last 10-years, and up +4.1% per year over the last 20-years (source: Federal Housing Finance Agency).
  1. MORATORIUM IS ENDING – Banks repossessed just 9,730 homes during the first 6 months of 2021, down from 37,917 bank repossessions completed in the first half of 2020. Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages have benefited from the foreclosure moratorium on federally backed homes loans that is in effect until 7/31/21.  No moratorium was in place during the first half of 2010 when banks repossessed 527,906 homes during the global mortgage crisis (source: ATTOM Data Solutions).
  1. ONLY ONCE – Inflation, using the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI) as the measurement, was up +5.4% on a trailing 1-year basis as of 6/30/21. In the last 30 years, there was only 1 month when trailing 1-year inflation was greater than +5.4%.  Inflation was up +5.6% for the 1-year ending 7/31/08 (source: Department of Labor).
  1. AGAIN? – Legislation signed by President Trump in July 2019 suspended our country’s debt ceiling limit until 8/01/21, i.e., there is no statutory limit on our nation’s borrowing for 2 more weeks. Lacking action by Congress before 8/01/21, the federal government technically would be prevented from borrowing any more money.  The debt ceiling has been raised, extended or suspended 87 times since 1960 (source: Treasury Department).
  1. OFFICE SPACE – 73% of Fortune 500 CEOs surveyed in May 2021 say their firms will need less office space in the future than they required in 2019 before the pandemic occurred (source: Fortune).
  1. BIG SKY BENEFIT – The state of Montana has been paying a $1,200 “Return-to-Work Bonus” since 5/04/21 to jobless individuals who were receiving unemployment benefits, and then went back to work for at least 4 weeks (source: Montana.gov).
  1. CHANGED MY MIND – 25% of 1,006 “soon-to-graduate” college students who were surveyed in the 1st quarter of 2021 said the 2020 pandemic caused them to change the industry they intend to work in following their college years (source: Joblist).
  1. LOTS OF PEOPLE NEED HELP – Medicare covers 61.2 million Americans, while Medicaid covers 73.8 million low-income Americans (source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).
  1. END OF LIFEMore Americans died in 2020 (3.381 million) than in any year in US history (source: National Center for Health Statistics).
  1. HOSPITAL PRICE TRANSPARENCY RULE – Since 1/01/21, US hospitals are required by law to post on their websites the prices of approximately 300 common services they provide, i.e., the cost actually paid by patients or by the insurance companies that provide coverage for patients (source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid).
  1. SOCIAL MEDIA STAR – 18-year old Olivia Dunne, a gymnast at LSU, is expected to sign a lucrative financial deal following the implementation of the NCAA’s “Name Image and Likeness” rule that went into effect as of 7/01/21. Dunne will be able to profit as a result of her 4 million TikTok followers and her 1.1 million Instagram followers (source: USA Today).

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Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

Bill’s By The Number$

  1. LOOK-BACK – As of 6/30/21, the total return of the S&P 500 was +40.8% for the trailing 1-year, +18.7% per year for the last 3-years, +17.6% per year for the last 5-years and +14.8% per year for the last 10 years. The S&P 500 consists of 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).
  1. LOUSY YEARS HAPPEN – The S&P 500 has reported a negative trailing 12-month total return result at the end of 58 months in the last 30 years, i.e., 58 months out of 360 months or 16% of the time. The last time the stock index lost money on a trailing 1-year basis was at the end of March 2020 when the S&P 500 was down 7.0% over the previous 12 months (source: BTN Research).
  1. TAXING AND SPENDING – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasted on Thursday 7/01/21 that during fiscal year 2021, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/21, the US government will receive $3.8 trillion of tax revenue, spend $6.8 trillion, resulting in a $3.0 trillion fiscal year deficit. During the next 10 fiscal years, i.e., fiscal year 2022 through and including fiscal year 2031, the US government is projected to receive $51.3 trillion of tax revenue, spend $63.4 trillion, resulting in a $12.1 trillion deficit over the next decade (source: CBO).
  1. JOB SITUATION IN THE USA – As of February 2020 (pre-pandemic), 158.7 million Americans had full-time jobs, 5.7 million Americans were jobless, and the nation had a 3.5% unemployment rate. As of June 2021 (the most recent jobs data that is available), 151.6 million Americans had full-time jobs, 9.5 million Americans were jobless, and the nation had a 5.9% unemployment rate (source: Department of Labor).
  1. THEY MUST NOT BE TOO WORRIED – 3.99 million Americans quit their jobs in April 2021, the largest monthly “quit level” recorded in US history (source: Department of Labor).
  1. READY FOR A CHANGE – 24% of 2,000 American workers surveyed in late May 2021 are planning on looking for a new job in the post-pandemic world (source: Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey).
  1. TO THE HEIRS OR TO CHARITY? – 26% of the $137 trillion net worth held by Americans as of 3/31/21 is owned by US citizens at least age 70, i.e., $35 trillion (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. MARGIN DEBT – The use of margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) increased to $862 billion in May 2021, the 7th consecutive month setting an all-time high (source: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).
  1. THE RIGHT DIRECTION – The rating agency Moody’s upgraded the general obligation bonds issued by the state of Illinois on Tuesday 6/29/21. Moody’s raised the state’s rating from Baa3 to Baa2, the first upgrade issued by the rating agency for Illinois since June 1998 or 23 years ago.  Baa3 is the lowest “investment grade” status issued by Moody’s, just 1 rating above “junk” status (source: Moody’s).
  1. NOT JUST KIDS – 19% of Americans that have outstanding student loan debt from college are over age 50, i.e., 8.7 million borrowers out of 44.7 million total borrowers (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. SURPRISE MEDICAL BILL – 18% of Americans with health insurance coverage through their employers who are rushed to a hospital emergency room end up incurring at least one “out-of-network” charge (source: Peterson Center on Healthcare).
  1. AN AGING GROUP – 2 out of every 5 physicians (40%) in the United States today will be at least age 65 within the next 10 years (source: The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections form 2019-2034).
  1. IT’S DIFFERENT – The Federal Reserve measures inflation using the “Personal Consumption Expenditures” (PCE) price index while the government uses the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI) for the “cost of living adjustment” (COLA) to increase Social Security retirement benefits. The CPI gives “housing” prices a 42.1% weighting in its calculation, while the PCE gives “housing” just a 22.6% weighting.  The CPI gives “medical care” prices an 8.8% weighting in its calculation, while the PCE gives “medical care” a 22.3% weighting (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. THAT WOULD BE NICE – Social Security retirement benefits are projected to increase +5.3% in 2022, a “cost of living adjustment” (COLA) that would be its largest since 2009. The actual COLA bump will be announced in October 2021 by the Social Security Administration (source: Mary Johnson, The Senior Citizens League).
  1. OLD GUY – American marathon runner Abdi Abdirahman will become the oldest man or woman (at age 44) ever to represent the USA in the Olympics as a competitor in any running event when he races in Japan on 8/08/21. Abdirahman competed in his first Olympics 21 years ago (in 2000) at the Sydney Games (source: USA Olympics).

– Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission –
Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

Bill’s By The Number$

  1. STOCKS – In the last 30 years, the best 12-month performance for the S&P 500 occurred over the 1-year period that ended 3/31/21. The S&P 500 gained +56.4% (total return) from 3/31/20 to 3/31/21.  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).
  1. CANCER – The diagnoses of some forms of cancer fell by more than 50% in 2020 when compared to 2019, not because cancer is on the decline but because 94% of Americans postponed their annual screenings and many cancer clinics suspended the collection of biopsies (source: Propublica).
  1. HOSPITALS – Between 3/01/20 and 6/30/20, American hospitals lost $51 billion per month of revenue due to cancelled and foregone medical services. The Mayo Clinic furloughed or cut the hours of 29,500 of its 70,000 employees in 2020 or 42% of their workforce (source: American Hospital Association, Mayo Clinic).
  1. WEAR A MASK – Flu cases have dropped dramatically during the pandemic. The number of Americans testing positive for the flu during the 2020-2021 flu season was the lowest number recorded in 25 years (source: CDC).
  1. NOT IN THE OFFICE – Although only 20% of American employees were “working from home” (WFH) before the pandemic, 71% were WFH by December 2020 and 54% want to continue to WFH after the pandemic is contained. As a result of the change to WFH, the demand for office space is falling, e.g., vacant office space in Manhattan (New York City) is at its highest level in 30 years (source: Pew Research Center).
  1. REAL ESTATE – The 2020 pandemic caused thousands of home sellers to pull their homes off the market, fearful of strangers entering their homes during the crisis. In March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, 1.49 million existing homes were on the market for sale.  By March 2021, just 1.05 million homes were on the market.  With a smaller supply, home prices soared.  The median sales price of existing homes sold rose from $280,700 in March 2020 to $350,300 in May 2021, an increase of +25% in 14 months (source: Nat’l Association of Realtors).
  1. AIR QUALITY – The lockdown of economies around the world beginning in March 2020 reduced auto, truck and airplane emissions. 84% of nations surveyed reported improvement in their overall air quality in 2020 when compared to 2019.  Nitrogen dioxide, the gas released in the air from the burning of fuel, declined 26% in the USA during 2020 when compared 2019’s level (source: IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Report, ScienceDirect).
  1. LADIES – Women have been impacted by the pandemic more than men. 80% of the Americans that have stepped away from the workforce to take on the duties of childcare, education, shopping, cooking and cleaning during the nationwide shutdown were women (source: McKinsey).
  1. MENTAL HEALTH – Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 52% of American employees report having trouble sleeping at night and 42% have suffered anxiety or depression. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules in July 2020 to establish a nationwide “988” hotline for suicide prevention and for individuals experiencing mental health crises by July 2022 (source: FCC).
  1. TRAVEL – When travel for vacations slowed in the summer of 2020, rental car companies sold off more than 500,000 rental cars just to survive, leading to a shortage of rental cars and higher prices in 2021 (source: CNN).
  1. FEWER BABIES – In spite of being on lockdown with our spouses/partners, the number of US births fell in 2020 to 3.60 million births, the 12th declining year of births in the last 13 years (source: CDC).
  1. STRESSED OUT AND LONELYAlcohol sales nationwide increased by +34% during the 2nd quarter 2020 (i.e., April-May-June) compared to sales from the 2nd quarter 2019. Hospital admissions for cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis were up +30% in 2020 compared to 2019 (source: Annals of Internal Medicine).
  1. AT THE POOL – American cities do not have enough lifeguards to service pools nationwide, e.g., Austin, TX is short 80% of its 750-lifeguard goal for the summer of 2021. The pandemic shutdown put a freeze on training and certification programs required for lifeguards (source: American Lifeguard Association).
  1. NO ZOOM FOR ME – 40% of teachers with 21-30 years of experience said they were considering early retirement or quitting the profession completely (source: National Education Association, August 2020).
  1. OUT IN THE OPEN – American golfers played 500 million rounds of golf in calendar year 2020, an increase of +13.9% over total rounds played in calendar year 2019. The increase is remarkable given that most golf courses were closed for at least a month in the spring of 2020 (source: National Golf Foundation).

– Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission –
Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

Bill’s By The Number$

  1. STOCKS AND POLITICS – In the last 60 years (1961-2020), the S&P 500 has been up +17.5% per year (total return) under a Democratic President and a Republican-led Congress, nearly 4 times the +4.5% annual return achieved under a Republican President and a Congress controlled by the Democrats. The stock index gained +11.8% per year when the White House and Congress were controlled by the same political party, as is the present situation in Washington in 2021.  When the House and the Senate were controlled by different parties (regardless of which party is in the White House), the S&P 500 has been up +11.3% 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).
  1. STOCKS AND INFLATION – In the last 70 years (1951-2020), inflation as measured by the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI) was been at least +5% in 12 different years, most recently in 1990. The S&P 500 has been equally split over the 12 high-inflation years, advancing in 6 years and falling in 6 years (on a total return basis).  The average return for the S&P 500 over all 12 years is a gain of just +3.2% (total return) (source: BTN Research).
  1. IT’S NOT THE FOREIGNERS THAT ARE BUYING – Between March 2020 and March 2021, foreign investors increased their holdings of Treasury securities just slightly, going from $6.9 trillion to $7.0 trillion. Between March 2020 and March 2021, the Federal Reserve increased their holdings of Treasury securities by just short of $2 trillion, going from $3.0 trillion to $4.9 trillion (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. AT A MINIMUM – The Treasury Department maintains a “checking account,” aka the Treasury General Account with a minimum balance of $150 billion. As of Wednesday 6/09/21, the Treasury General Account had a balance of $730 billion.  The US government is forecasted to spend $20 billion a day during fiscal year 2021, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/21 (source: Treasury Department).
  1. BIT OF A LAG TIME – The USA has officially been in a recession since February 2020. The next most recent US recession ran for 18 months from December 2007 to June 2009. The official declaration that the 2007-2009 recession had ended was made on 9/20/10 or nearly 15 months after the recession’s official end date (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).
  1. HALF – 51% of the $64.2 trillion forecasted by the Biden White House that the US government will spend over the next 10 fiscal years, i.e., fiscal year 2022 through and including fiscal year 2031, are outlays for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (source: Budget of the U.S. Government released 5/28/21).
  1. A THIRD – 33% of the $7.25 trillion that the US government is forecasted to spend in the 2021 fiscal year are outlays for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (source: Budget of the U.S. Government released 5/28/21).
  1. FEWER CHOICES – There were 1.16 million existing homes for sale nationwide as of 4/30/21. The 1.03 million “for sales” as of 2/28/21 was the lowest level ever reported for a statistic that has been tracked since 1999 (source: National Association of Realtors).
  1. NOW WHAT HAPPENS? – The renter eviction moratorium originally issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 9/04/20 will expire in 9 days on 6/30/21 unless extended to a later date (source: CDC).
  1. ASKED TO LEAVE – US landlords of rental properties file an average of 3.7 million eviction notices against renter households in a calendar year (source: The Eviction Lab at Princeton University).
  1. PANDEMIC – US deaths from COVID-19 over the prior week (measured Friday-to-Friday) were 2,231 as of last Friday 6/18/21, down 90% from the 23,180 weekly deaths recorded as of Friday 1/15/21 (source: NBC News).
  1. NO TURNING BACK – 42% of 1,046 full-time American workers surveyed in early March 2021 said they would quit their jobs if their employer did not allow them to continue to “work from home” permanently and they would seek new employment with a company that does (source: Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey).
  1. YOU THINK YOU’RE RICH – As of the close of trading last Friday 6/18/21, 8 Americans are worth more than $100 billion each. The richest of the 8 mega-billionaires was worth $200.5 billion (source: Forbes).
  1. JUST KEEPS RUNNING – The average car on the road in the USA at the end of 2020 was 12.8 years old, up from 10.2 years old as of the end of 2005 (source: IHS Markit).
  1. HOOPS HISTORY – The most recent NBA title among the 7 remaining teams in the NBA playoffs (as of Friday morning 6/18/21) is the 1983 championship won by the Philadelphia 76ers or 38 years ago (source: NBA).

– Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission –
Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

Bill’s By The Number$

  1. WILD RIDE – After peaking on 3/24/00, the S&P 500 index fell 47%, then gained +121%, then lost 55%, then gained +529%, then lost 34%, and finally has gained +94% through the close of trading as of last Friday 6/11/21. An investor who rode out all 3 “bear/bull” cycles since 3/24/00 would have gained an annualized +7.0% per year over the entire 21+ years (total return) in spite of initially investing at an all-time high on 3/24/00.  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).
  1. BONDS AND HIGHER INTEREST RATES – The worst year for the taxable bond market in the last 45 years (1976-2020) was a loss of 2.92% (total return) in 1994. The YTD performance (through last Thursday 6/10/21) of the taxable bond market is a loss of 1.65% (total return).  The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index (created in 1986 with backdated history calculated to 1976), calculated using publicly traded investment grade government bonds, corporate bonds and mortgage-related bonds with at least 1 year until final maturity, was used as the bond measurement (source: Bloomberg Barclays).
  1. BORROWING TRILLIONS – From 3/13/20, the date of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency due to the pandemic, through last Thursday 6/10/21, our country’s national debt has increased by $4.8 trillion in 15 months, rising from $23.4 trillion to $28.2 trillion (source: Treasury Department).
  1. BIG INFLATION – The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up +5.0% on a trailing 12-month basis as of 5/31/21. Year-over-year inflation was less than +5.0% at the end of 99% of months in the last 30 years, i.e., 357 of 360 months (source: Department of Labor).
  1. GUESS WHY? – Births exceeded deaths in the United States by 893,000 in 2019. Deaths exceeded births in the United States by 227,000 in 2020 (source: National Center for Health Statistics).
  1. TEN THOUSAND MORE PER WEEK – Over a half million more Americans (518,000) died in 2020 than in 2019, i.e., 3.373 million in 2020 compared to 2.855 million in 2019 (source: National Center for Health Statistics).
  1. HEADING OUT OF TOWN – Between 7/01/19 and 6/30/20, 5 of the 10 largest cities in the United States saw their populations decline – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Jose (source: Census Bureau).
  1. HELP WANTED – The number of job openings in the USA climbed to 9.3 million at the end of April 2021, the highest number ever recorded and up +1.0 million in just the last month. By comparison, at the depths of the mortgage crisis, there were 2.1 million job openings available in July 2009 (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  1. JOINTS FOR JABS – Between 6/07/21 and 7/12/21, adults at least age 21 in the state of Washington will receive 1 marijuana joint if they receive a COVID-19 vaccination shot (source: Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board).
  1. DON’T FORGET – State laws require financial institutions to report “abandoned and unclaimed” personal property (e.g., pre-tax retirement account) to the state where the account is domiciled, typically 3-5 years after the account is deemed to be “unclaimed” (source: Uniform Unclaimed Property Act).
  1. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS – If the total net worth of all Americans ($136.9 trillion as of 3/31/21) was evenly divided among all households in the nation (125.9 million households as of 3/31/21), then every household in the United States would have been worth $1.1 million as of 3/31/21 (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. MUCH BETTER THAN EXPECTED29 of 49 states (no data was available from Wyoming) collected more in state tax revenue over the “pandemic-impacted” 12 months of 3/01/20 to 2/28/21 than they collected over the “pre-pandemic” 12 months of 3/01/19 to 2/29/20 (source: The PEW Charitable Trusts).
  1. SPEND – Americans imported $278 billion of foreign goods and services in March 2021 and followed up with $274 billion of imports in April 2021, the 2 highest import months in US history (source: Bureau of Econ. Analysis).
  1. DOWN ON THE FARM – US farmers are forecasted to export $164 billion of agricultural products in fiscal year 2021, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/21. The record-setting total includes corn, soybeans, livestock and poultry.  US agricultural imports, forecasted to be $142 billion, would also set an all-time record total.  Imports include livestock, sugar and tropical fruits (source: Department of Agriculture).
  1. GOAT – Gymnast Simone Biles won her 1st senior US women’s all-around title on 8/17/13 at age 16 with a score of 120.450. Biles won her 7th senior US women’s all-around title on 6/06/21 at age 24 with a score of 119.65.  The 7 titles are the most by any American female gymnast in history (source: USA Gymnastics).

– Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission –
Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

Bill’s By The Number$

  1. ONE YEAR LATER – The companies in the S&P 500 had an average market capitalization of $74.2 billion as of 5/31/21, up from an average market capitalization of $52.7 billion as of 5/31/20. 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: source: BTN Research).
  1. FUNDING A RETIREMENT – The S&P 500 has averaged +9.6% per year (total return) over the 25 years ending 12/31/20. A lump-sum of $877,760 (in a pre-tax account) will sustain a 20-year payout of $100,000 per year (i.e., $2 million of gross distributions before taxes) assuming the funds continue to earn +9.6% annually.  This mathematical calculation ignores the ultimate impact of taxes on the account which are due upon withdrawal, is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to reflect any specific investment or performance.  Actual results will fluctuate with market conditions and will vary (source: BTN Research).
  1. INVESTING AT A RECORD HIGH – The S&P 500 has set 180 all-time record closing highs in the last 5 years, i.e., since 6/07/16, an average of 3 record closes per month (source: BTN Research).
  1. REALLY LOW – As of 6/04/21, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has been below 2% for 462 consecutive trading days, i.e., since 8/01/19, the longest stretch below 2% in US history (source: Treasury Department).
  1. ONCE IN – Congress is debating legislation (known as SECURE Act 2.0) that would require any employer with at least 10 employees who sponsors a 401(k) plan to automatically enroll eligible employees at a 3% contribution rate. Employees would retain the right to opt out of the plan (source: SECURE Act 2.0).
  1. IN TEN YEARS – The 10-year budget forecast released by the Biden White House on Friday 5/28/21 predicts that over the next decade (fiscal year 2022 through fiscal year 2031) the government will collect $54.7 trillion in tax revenues (i.e., “receipts”), spend $69.2 trillion (i.e., “outlays”), netting to a $14.5 trillion deficit created over just the next 10 years. That’s on top of our national debt of $28.2 trillion as of 5/31/21 (source: Biden White House).
  1. INFLATION – The 10-year budget forecast released by the Biden White House on Friday 5/28/21 predicts that the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI) will not exceed 2.3% in any year through 2031 (source: Biden White House).
  1. BRAND NEW HOMES – The median sales price of new homes sold in the United States in March 2021 was $372,400, an all-time nominal record, i.e., non-inflation adjusted. The average sales price of new homes sold in March 2021 was $435,400, also an all-time nominal record.  The peak in both measurements (median price and average price) on an inflation-adjusted basis was set 4 years ago in May 2017 (source: Census Bureau).
  1. BABIES – When America recorded 4.32 million births in 2007, it broke the nation’s all-time high of 4.31 million births from 1957. Since 2007, the number of US births has fallen in 12 of 13 years to 3.61 million births in 2020, the same number of US births that took place in 1980 (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  1. NEED THE CASH – 49% of American women and 45% of American men begin taking their Social Security retirement benefits before they turn age 65 (source: Social Security Administration).
  1. LIVING LONG – US life expectancy at birth was 60.8 years in 1921. US life expectancy at birth was 77.8 years in 2021.  Thus, life expectancy has increased by a year every 6 years over the last century (source: CDC).
  1. DOLLAR IS KING – 59% of the world’s foreign exchange reserves, i.e., cash holdings of central banks around the world, were held in US dollars as of the end of calendar year 2020, its lowest level in 25 years but still making the dollar the most popular currency in the world. The Euro, representing 21% of global foreign exchange reserves, is the # 2 most widely held currency (source: International Monetary Fund).
  1. LAND OF LINCOLN – S&P has downgraded the credit rating for state-issued debt from Illinois 5 different times since 2009, most recently in 2017 (source: S&P).
  1. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH18 states have passed laws that legalized the use of cannabis for adults who are at least age 21. Colorado was the 1st state, beginning its legal sales on 1/01/14.  From its inception through 4/30/21, Colorado has collected $1.56 billion of state tax revenue from cannabis sales (source: Marijuana Policy Project).
  1. PADRE40 years ago this week (6/09/81), San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn was selected in the pro baseball draft and the pro basketball draft on exactly the same day. MLB’s San Diego Padres selected Gwynn in the 3rd round, while hours later the NBA’s San Diego Clippers selected Gwynn in the 10th round.  Gwynn went on to a 20-year Hall of Fame career with the Padres (source: San Diego Union-Tribune).

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Bill’s By The Number$

  1. DOG DAYS OF SUMMER – The summer months of June-July-August are ranked 10th, 5th and 11th in terms of S&P 500 performance over the last 30 years, i.e., 1991-2020. 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).
  1. LAST YEAR – Going into the 2021 Memorial Day holiday, the S&P 500 was up +12.6% YTD (total return). Going into the 2020 Memorial Day holiday, the S&P 500 was down 7.8% YTD (total return) (source: BTN Research).
  1. MARGIN DEBT – The use of margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) increased to $847 billion in April 2021, the 6th consecutive month setting an all-time high (source: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).
  1. PRINT AND PURCHASE – The Fed’s balance sheet reached $7.33 trillion as of 5/26/21, up from $3.82 trillion as of 2/05/20, the result of new purchases of US Treasuries (up +$2.66 trillion) and of mortgage-backed securities (up +$857 billion). The first US pandemic death occurred on 2/06/20 (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. WHERE WE LIVEExisting home prices in the United States have risen for 39 consecutive quarters through the end of the 1st quarter 2021, i.e., from 6/30/11 through 3/31/21 (source: Federal Housing Finance Agency).
  1. NOT A BIG NUMBER – At its peak, 3.7 million home mortgages (out of 52.4 million mortgages nationwide) had requested and received forbearance protection afforded through the CARES Act that was signed into law by President Donald Trump on 3/27/20. As of March 2021, that total had fallen to 2.2 million home mortgages still in forbearance, or just 4.2% of all mortgages (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. WORK FROM HOME, START A BUSINESS – Americans filed 4.33 million “new business” applications in 2020, up +24% from 3.49 million filed in 2019, and up +75% from 2.48 million filed in 2010 (source: Census Bureau).
  1. THEY’RE GETTING CLOSER – The original design of President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan,” released on 3/31/21, was priced at $2.3 trillion of spending directed at “infrastructure.” Following negotiations with Republican lawmakers, the White House released a $1.7 trillion version of the “American Jobs Plan” on Friday 5/21/21.  The Republicans’ counterproposal last week has been scored at $928 billion (source: White House).
  1. THE NEED FOR CRUDE – The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed at $33.71 a barrel on Thursday 5/28/20, in the middle of our national shutdown driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The price of WTI crude oil closed at $66.32 a barrel on Friday 5/28/21, in the middle of the US economy reopening as the impact of vaccinations is realized nationwide.  That’s a +97% price increase year-over-year (source: NYMEX).
  1. KEEPING UP WITH INFLATION – Over the last 25 calendar years, i.e., 1996-2020, “cost of living adjustments” (COLA) for Social Security benefits has increased +68.3%. Over the last 25 calendar years, i.e., 1996-2020, inflation as measured by the “consumer price index” (CPI), has increased +69.7% (source: Social Security, Department of Labor).
  1. HONEST? – The US government projected on Thursday 5/20/21 that an average US taxpayer pays 84% of his/her total federal income tax bill (the underpayment of taxes is largely driven by unreported income), creating an estimated $584 billion annual “tax gap,” i.e., the difference between what all taxpayers should have paid each year compared to what they actually paid (source: Treasury Department).
  1. ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE – Medicare covers 61.2 million Americans aged 65 and older. President Biden proposed on the 2020 campaign trail to lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 60, a move that would impact an additional 20.8 million Americans (source: Kaiser Family Foundation).
  1. DID YOU NEED IT? – 40.3% of college graduates aged 22 to 27 are working in jobs in which they are “underemployed,” i.e., they are working in a job that typically does not require a college degree. Historically, 33.5% of college grads are “underemployed” (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. COLLEGE DEBT45 million Americans have $1.58 trillion of student loan debt outstanding as of 3/31/21, a record dollar total (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. PHIL BEING PHIL – Before the beginning of the 4-day PGA Championship golf tournament, one bettor wagered $1,000 on Phil Mickelson to win when the odds were 300-to-1 that the 50-year old would come out on top, i.e., the gambler won $300,000. Mickelson, winning his 45th career PGA event, won $2.16 million, pushing his career earnings to $94.6 million before tax (source: DraftKings Sportsbook).

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Bill’s By The Number$

  1. STOCK PERFORMANCE – After 20 weeks of calendar year 2021, the S&P 500 is up +11.3% YTD (total return) through the close of trading last Friday 5/21/21. 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).
  1. THAT’S INFLATION – Inflation, using the “Consumer Price Index” as the measurement, was up +9.0% in 1978, up +13.3% in 1979, followed by +12.5% in 1980, and up +8.9% in 1981 (source: Department of Labor).
  1. SEND ME YOUR RESUME – The number of job openings in the United States has increased by 1.2 million in the last 2 reported months, meaning that US employers have added 20,441 new job postings each day during February and March this year. The 8.123 million job openings nationwide as of 3/31/21 is the highest number recorded in US history (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  1. IT’S BEEN WORSE – The highest “deficit as a percentage of GDP” in our nation’s history was 29.6% in 1943, the first of 3 consecutive years when the ratio was at least 21% (1943-44-45). Through 7 months of fiscal year 2021, i.e., the 7 months ending 4/30/21, the US government’s $1.932 trillion budget deficit to date represents 8.8% of our $22.0 trillion economy.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the annual market value of all goods and services produced domestically by the US (source: Treasury Department).
  1. BUDGET – The Biden White House will release on 5/27/21 its blueprint for government spending for the 2022 fiscal year, i.e., the 12 months from 10/01/21 to 9/30/22. The broad outline covers both mandatory spending (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) and discretionary spending (e.g., defense, foreign aid, education, transportation).  Total outlays are expected to exceed $5 trillion for the entire fiscal year (source: White House).
  1. WE DID, HOW ABOUT YOU? – 59% of US households made a “large purchase” during the first 4 months of 2021, i.e., January 2021 through and including April 2021, the highest percentage reported in 5 years. “Large purchases” include furniture, home repairs and automobiles (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. ON THE ROAD AGAIN – American drivers are projected to use 9.0 million barrels a day of gasoline during the summer of 2021, up from 7.8 million barrels a day of gasoline used during the “pandemic-summer” of 2020, but still down from the 9.6 million barrels a day of gasoline consumed in the summer of 2019 (source: Energy Information Administration).
  1. CASH ONLY – Total US credit card debt peaked at a record $930 billion as of 12/31/19 (pre-pandemic) but has since fallen 17% ($157 billion) to $773 billion as of 3/31/21 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. LOANS GONE BAD – Bondholders of 43 US companies that defaulted on their debt in 2020 received on average just 45 cents on the dollar through bankruptcy. The defaulting companies, negatively impacted by the pandemic, included businesses in the oil industry and retail stores (source: Moody’s).
  1. WILL IT BE SPENT EVENTUALLY? – The personal savings rate in the US in the 1Q 2021 was 21.0%. The personal savings rate in the US in the 1Q 2001 was 5.0%.  The personal savings rate is defined as “savings” (i.e., after-tax income less consumption spending) divided by after-tax income (source: Department of Commerce).
  1. NOT A HAPPY CAMPER – 70% of Americans under the age of 30 believe the distribution of wealth in the United States is “unjust” (source: Cato Institute).
  1. VP MADE MORE MONEY – President Joe Biden and his wife reported adjusted gross income of $607,336 for tax year 2020. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband reported adjusted gross income of $1,695,225 for tax year 2020 (source: White House).
  1. BABIES – China had 12 million births in 2020, more than 3 times the 3.6 million births that took place in the United States last year (source: National Vital Statistics System).
  1. BUSINESS DONE ON A CELL PHONE – The US banking industry, employing 2 million workers today, is forecasted to eliminate 10% of that total (200,000) during the upcoming decade. The reductions will take place in local bank branches and regional call centers (source: Mike Mayo, Wells Fargo Bank Analyst).
  1. BEST GOLFERS IN THE WORLD7 of the top 10 golfers in the world as of Monday 5/17/21 were Americans, including 5 of the top 6. Tiger Woods, recovering from his 2/23/21 car accident, has been ranked # 1 in the world for a record 683 weeks.  Woods is currently ranked # 103 in the world (source: Official World Golf Rankings).

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Bill’s By The Number$

  1. FROM THE LOW POINT – In the 289 trading days since falling to a bear market low on 3/23/20, the S&P 500 has gained +90.2% (total return) through last Friday 5/14/21. 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).
  1. DO THE MATH – The S&P 500 is a cap-weighted index, i.e., the largest capitalized stocks carry a disproportionate impact on the index’s performance calculation. As of the close of trading on Friday 5/14/21, the 5 largest stocks in the index carried the same weighting as the smallest 323 stocks (source: S&P).
  1. MARGIN DEBT – The use of margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) increased to $823 billion in March 2021, an all-time record total. Margin debt was $479 billion in March 2020 or a year earlier (source: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).
  1. REALLY ROUGH QUARTER – Long-term Treasuries maturing in at least 10 years fell by 13.5% (total return) in the 1st quarter 2021, the worst quarterly performance for this asset group in 41 years or since the 1st quarter 1980 (source: Bloomberg Barclays).
  1. PENT-UP DEMAND – US consumers purchased $234.4 billion of foreign imports in March 2021, the largest monthly total recorded in US history. The low point for the purchase of foreign imports during the pandemic was $166.5 billion in May 2020 (source: Department of Commerce).
  1. PRICE INCREASE – Inflation, using the “Consumer Price Index,” was up +4.2% on a trailing 1-year basis through 4/30/21. The last calendar year that reported inflation of at least +4.2% was 1990 when inflation advanced +6.1% (source: Department of Labor).
  1. WILL END SOMEDAY – Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has extended 6 times the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions on federally backed, single-family home mortgages. The most recent extension, announced on 2/16/21, expires on 6/30/21 (source: Federal Housing Finance Agency).
  1. JUST PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE – A House of Representative subcommittee met last Wednesday (5/12/21) to discuss “reforming the tax code’s advantageous treatment of the wealthy.” The top 1% of US taxpayers (for tax year 2018) reported at least $540,009 of adjusted gross income (AGI), received 21% of all AGI nationwide, and paid 40% of all the federal income taxes that were collected for that tax year (source: Internal Revenue Service).
  1. THE DIRECTION IS UP – 57% of taxpayers surveyed anticipate federal income taxes will increase over the next year, while just 8% of taxpayers believe federal income taxes will decrease. 961 taxpayers were interviewed during April 2021 for this survey (source: Gallup).
  1. TO BE DEBATED – The “American Families Plan” (AFP), proposed by the Biden White House on 4/28/21, includes some tax increases on high-income households, e.g., an increase of the top marginal tax rate from 37% to 39.6%, the removal of the “step-up in basis” on inherited assets for gains above $1 million, and the elimination of a “1031 exchange” tax deferral for gains in excess of $500,000 (source: American Families Plan).
  1. GOOD IDEA – 71% of 1,864 Americans surveyed in late April 2021 believe the US government should have a balanced budget each fiscal year, as opposed to running annual budget deficits. The US government’s last balanced budget occurred in fiscal year 2001 (source: Center for American Political Studies at Harvard).
  1. OUT OF WORK – 1 out of every 5 American adults (20%) in their “prime working years” who do not have a college bachelor’s degree lost their job in 2020. 1 out of every 8 American adults (12%) in their “prime working years” who do have a college bachelor’s degree also lost their job in 2020 (source: Federal Reserve Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking).
  1. GIVE ME A HUG – As of Friday 5/14/21, 119 million Americans are fully vaccinated, or 36% of our 332 million population (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
  1. ROAD TRIP – The average price of a gallon of gasoline reached $3.04 last Friday (5/14/21), up 79 cents a gallon YTD. The last time gasoline closed a calendar year above $3 a gallon was 2013 (source: AAA).
  1. THE MONEYMAKERS – The average FBS (football subdivision) college athletic department has men’s and women’s teams in 20 different sports, but revenue from just 2 teams – men’s football and men’s basketball – accounts for 58% of total athletic department revenue (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).

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