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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by: Kim Vo | Posted on: March 6th, 2017 | 0 Comments

1. DOUBLE-DOUBLE IN EIGHT YEARS – In the first 2-years following its 3/09/09 bear market closing low of 677, the S&P 500 gained +102% through 3/09/11 (i.e., total return result including the impact of reinvested dividends). In years 3-8 (i.e., the next 6 years) from 3/09/11 to last Friday 3/03/17), the S&P 500 stock index has gained an additional +107%. 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. BAD CALL – The S&P 500 bottomed at 677 on 3/09/09, the end of a 17-month bear market in which the stock index fell 57%. A weekly survey of stock investors indicated 70% of them were bearish as of 3/04/09, the highest bearish measurement ever recorded by this study (source: American Association of Individual Investors).

3. GOOD CALL – The morning after closing at a bear market low of 677 on Monday 3/09/09, John Authers, journalist from the Financial Times newspaper wrote that “perhaps the greatest reason for hope (for the US stock market) at present is that almost all hope seems to have been lost.” At the time of Authers’ forecast, the S&P 500 had fallen 57% over the previous 17 months (source: Financial Times).

4. DOWN JUST A FEW DAYS – The S&P 500 was up +5.9% YTD (total return) through Tuesday 2/28/17. The stock index had just 4 down trading days in February 2017, the fewest number of down days for the S&P 500 in any single month since May 1990 or nearly 27 years ago (source: BTN Research).

5. ONE STOCK – The # 1 performing stock in the S&P 500 YTD through 2/28/17 (up +55.3%) was ranked # 462 (out of 500 total stocks) for all of calendar year 2016 while losing 16.5% last year (source: BTN Research).

6. ALMOST TWENTY TRILLION – The national debt of the United States is reported 5 days a week and is calculated to the penny. The national debt first exceeded $19 trillion on 1/29/16 and subsequently passed $19.9 trillion on 11/22/16. Outstanding debt peaked at $19.977 trillion on 12/30/16 (the last business day of 2016) and closed last Thursday 3/02/17 at $19.895 trillion but has yet to exceed $20 trillion (source: Treasury Department).

7. LONG TIME – The USA has kept records on economic expansions and contractions since 1854. The current expansion, which began in July 2009, is in its 93rd month. It is the 3rd longest expansion in history, trailing only expansions that ran from 1991-2001 and from 1961-69 (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).

8. VERY RICH PLAN – Defined benefit pension plans can be funded to produce an annual benefit at retirement as high as $215,000 in 2017, up from $180,000 in 2007 (source: Internal Revenue Service).

9. BORROWING EVERY WEEK – Through the first 2 months of 2017 (i.e., through 2/28/17), the Treasury Department has conducted weekly auctions in which they have borrowed $1.09 trillion. The duration of the debt ranges from as short as 4 weeks to as long as 30 years (source: Treasury Department).

10. PARTICIPATION – If the USA had 5 unemployed people for every 100 individuals either working or seeking work, the nation’s unemployment rate would be 5%, i.e., 5 divided by 100. People who have given up looking for work are not counted in the unemployment calculation. Counting 1 additional person who is no longer looking for work, the new math would be 6 divided by 101, resulting in a 5.9% unemployment rate (source: BTN Research).

11. COLLEGE COSTS – The cost of tuition, fees, room and board at an average in-state public college has increased +5.5% per year over the last 30 years, reaching $20,090 for the 2016-2017 school year. If college costs had instead risen only by the rate of inflation (using the CPI) over the last 30 years (+2.7% per year), then a year of college would cost $8,892 during the current school year (source: College Board, Department of Labor).

12. JUST WHAT YOU THOUGHT – 69% of 2,088 adults surveyed in December 2016 believe their “financial life” is “what they expected” or “better than expected,” i.e., 31% of adults believe the quality of their “financial life” is worse than what they had expected (source: National Endowment for Financial Education).

13. MAESTRO – Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan turns 91 years old today (3/06/17). Greenspan was the Fed’s Chairman for 18 ½ years beginning 8/11/87 through 1/31/06 (source: Federal Reserve).

14. HELP – 118,463 Americans are listed on the national transplant waiting list. 22 Americans die each day before receiving the life-saving transplant that they require (source: Department of Health and Human Services).

15. BACK-TO-BACK – The 2000 New York Yankees baseball team was the last major league team to repeat as World Series champs, a feat the Chicago Cubs will try duplicate in 2017 (source: MLB).

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