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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by: Lisa Navarro | Posted on: May 17th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  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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