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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by: Lisa Navarro | Posted on: May 31st, 2021 | 0 Comments

  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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