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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by: Vanessa Guadiana | Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

  1. BACK HALF – The second half of the year (i.e., July-December) has outperformed the first half of the year (i.e., January-June) for the S&P 500 on a total return basis during 9 of the last 15 years.  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. DID YOU STAY IN? – During the 5-year stock bull market that ran from 10/09/02 to 10/09/07, the S&P 500 set just 9 all-time record highs.  During the ongoing 5+ year stock bull market that started on 3/09/09 (and continues today), the S&P 500 has set 66 all-time record highs (the latest on Friday 6/20/14).  Since hitting its 9th all-time closing high on 5/06/13 (i.e., 9th of 66 during the current bull-run), the S&P 500 has gained +24.4% (total return) through the close of trading on 6/20/14 (source: BTN Research).
  3. UNDERSTAFFED – Until 6/12/14, 4 of the 7 positions on the Fed’s Board of Governors were unfilled.  On 6/12/14, both Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard were approved, leaving just 2 unfilled slots (source: Federal Reserve).
  4. LONG TIME, NO CHANGE – The Federal Open Market Committee voted 10-0 last Wednesday (6/18/14) to keep short-term interest rates unchanged for a 44th consecutive meeting, i.e., 5 ½ years (source: Federal Reserve).
  5. NO TAPER IN THE TAPERING – The Federal Reserve announced on 6/18/14 that its monthly asset purchases will be $35 billion going forward, the 5th reduction since December 2013 when purchases were $85 billion a month.  The Fed’s balance sheet totaled $4.1 trillion as of 6/18/14.  The Fed’s balance sheet totaled $480 billion (i.e., $0.48 trillion) as of 9/03/08 (source: Federal Reserve).
  6. IT WAS A GOOD IDEA – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed in April 2011 that homebuyers borrowing money would be required to have a down payment of at least 20%.  6 separate government agencies (SEC, Federal Reserve, HUD, FDIC, OCC and FHFA) had to agree to the minimum down payment requirement, a consensus that has not been achieved.  The CFPB’s latest proposal regarding a “qualified residential mortgage” no longer has a minimum down payment requirement (source: CFPB).
  7. NEED SOME HELP? – 24% of Americans borrowed money from a friend or from a family member during the 18-month recession that began on 12/31/07 (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).
  8. MONTHLY COMMITMENT – The nation’s household debt service ratio (defined as debt service payments and financial obligations stated as a percentage of disposable personal income) was 9.96% as of the 4th quarter 2013, down from 13.18% as of the 4th quarter 2007 (source: Federal Reserve).
  9. CLOSE TO DEFLATION – Inflation in the 18-country Eurozone (i.e., the 18 countries that use the Euro as their common currency) for the 12 months ending 5/31/14 was +0.9%.  5 countries (Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia and Portugal) have trailing 1-year rates of inflation less than ½ of 1% (source: Eurostat).
  10. IS THAT MIDDLE SEAT TAKEN? – Nationwide inflation (using the consumer price index) increased by +2.1% over the 12 months ending 5/31/14.  “Airline fare” inflation increased by +4.7% over the 12 months ending 5/31/14 (source: Department of Labor).
  11. RIGHT ON TARGET – Inflation in the United States for the 12-months ending 5/31/14 was +2.1%.  The Federal Reserve’s target inflation rate for the USA is +2% (source: Department of Labor).
  12. HOW HAVE YOU DONE? – The average American worker has experienced a +2.1% annual increase in his/her hourly wages over the last 6 years.  Average hourly wages have increased nationwide from $21.51 on 5/31/08 to $24.38 on 5/31/14, a cumulative gain of +13.3% (source: Department of Labor).
  13. RETIREES ARE MILLIONAIRES? – The maximum retirement benefit paid by Social Security to an individual retiring in 2014 at the full retirement age of 66 is $2,642 per month.  $3.17 million invested in a pre-tax account earning 1% annually on a tax-deferred basis would generate $31,700 per year or $2,642 per month of taxable income, i.e., income taxes are due upon withdrawal from the pre-tax account (source: Social Security).
  14. TWINS? – A child born in 2012 will cost a higher-income family (defined as those making at least $105,000 of before-tax income) $399,780 in 2012 dollars (i.e., a present value amount) and $501,250 in inflation adjusted dollars over the first 17 years of the child’s life, i.e., not including college (source: Department of Agriculture).
  15. TOO YOUNG – Tony Gwynn, Hall of Fame baseball player, died at age 54 of mouth cancer on 6/16/14.  Gwynn batted .302 with 2 strikes during his 20-year pro career (source: Major League Baseball).


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