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Bill’s By the Number$

Posted by: Vanessa Guadiana | Posted on: August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

  1. WHAT IF? – The longest bull market for the S&P 500 since 1950 lasted 9 ½ years (actually 2,388 trading days).  The current bull market (which began on 3/09/09) has lasted 1,375 trading days (through Friday 8/22/14), or 1,013 trading days short of the longest bull since 1950.  During the final 1,013 trading days of its 9 ½ year bull run, the S&P 500 gained +135%, i.e., change of the raw index not including the impact of reinvested dividends.  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. HOW WAS YOUR SUMMER? – With 5 trading days remaining in August, the S&P 500 is up +3.9% (total return) for the 3 summer months of June-July-August (source: BTN Research).
  3. A YEAR LATER – The S&P 500 has gained at least +5% in a single trading day 17 times since 1950, most recently on 3/23/09.  In the 1 year following the 17 occurrences of “5% or more” gains, the S&P 500 gained an average of +20.2% not counting the impact of reinvested dividends (source: BTN Research).
  4. BEHIND THE NUMBERS – In June 2014, 4.547 million Americans left their jobs (aka “separations”) either voluntarily (i.e., they quit), involuntarily (i.e., layoffs), or as a result of other circumstances (e.g., retirement, death, disability).  In June 2014, 4.830 million Americans were hired.  Because “hires” exceeded “separations,” employment rose by +283,000 during the month (source: Department of Labor).
  5. RISK OF RISING RATES – The average interest rate paid by the government on its interest bearing debt was 2.402% as of 7/31/14.  The average interest rate paid by the government on its interest bearing debt was 4.382% as of 7/31/08 (6 years earlier), equal to 2% greater than today.  Every 1% increase in the cost of debt on our nation’s $17.7 trillion debt total is equal to $177 billion per year in interest expense (source: Treasury Department).
  6. DISABILITY PROGRAM – The number of Americans receiving disability payments through Social Security has increased from 2.9 million in 1980 to 11.0 million in 2013.  Congress expanded in 1984 (i.e., 30 years ago) the ways in which Americans could qualify for disability benefits, shifting from a list of specific injuries to a more general review of a individual’s capacity to work (source: Social Security).
  7. THE AMERICAN DREAM – If you are an average American, then 70% of your total consumer indebtedness is mortgage debt (source: New York Federal Reserve).
  8. BORROWING MONEY – 31% of Americans have applied for some form of credit in the prior 12 months, including auto loans, home mortgages, and credit card debt (source: Federal Reserve).
  9. EARNING TWICE AS MUCH IN THE USA – Bond buyers in the 18-countries that make up the Eurozone (i.e., the countries that use the Euro as their common currency) could invest in the 10-year German Bund (0.98% yield as of 8/22/14 Friday) or in the US 10-year Treasury note (2.40% yield as of 8/22/14 Friday).  Germany is the largest economy in the Eurozone and # 4 in the world (source: BTN Research).
  10. WAS IT WORTH IT? – 56% of employees surveyed believe that if they had a higher level of education then they would be more successful in their employment career.  However 48% of college graduates with jobs today do not believe their degree is relevant to the work they are doing today (source: Glassdoor).
  11. WHERE IT COMES FROM – 23 of 50 US states collect more money in the form of state sales tax revenue than they collect in personal income tax revenue.  5 states do not have any statewide sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon (source: Rockefeller Institute of Government).
  12. NOT LIKELY – Janet Yellen has been on the job as Federal Reserve chair for just 6 ½ months.  If Yellen ultimately served as Fed Chair for the same length of time that Alan Greenspan did (i.e., 18 ½ years), then Yellen would be in office until the summer of the year 2032 or just short of her 86th birthday (source: Federal Reserve).
  13. VARIES – The average price of an existing home sold in the USA has increased just +4% over the last 12 months (i.e., 6/30/13 to 6/30/14).  Home prices have increased +7% in the 13-states in the West and have been flat (i.e., no increase or decrease) in the 9-states in the Northeast (source: National Association of Realtors).
  14. I’M BIGGER THAN YOU – Outstanding student loans were $1.12 trillion and outstanding credit card debt was $873 billion as of 6/30/14, a difference of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars (source: Federal Reserve).
  15. STATE EMPLOYEE – In 39 of 50 US states, the highest paid state employee is a college basket coach or a college football coach (source: The Economist).


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