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Bill’s By The Number’s

Posted by: Vanessa Guadiana | Posted on: July 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

  1. EVERY TEN YEARS – The S&P 500 was up +7.8% per year (total return) for the 10-years ending 6/30/14.  A decade ago, the S&P 500 was up +11.8% per year (total return) for the 10-years ending 6/30/04.  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. FINALLY HAPPENED – The S&P 500 had gone 62 trading days (through and including Wednesday 7/16/14) without experiencing at least a 1% gain or loss (change based upon daily closing value of the index) before the index dropped 1.2% on Thursday 7/17/14.  The 62 days without a “1% change day” was the longest stretch the S&P 500 has gone without a 1% change since the index went 95 days (ending on 12/01/95) without a 1% gain or loss (source: BTN Research).
  3. GUESSES – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasted in 1996 (i.e., 18 years ago) that “debt held by the public” would equal 180% of the size of the US economy by the year 2030.  The most recent projection released on 7/15/14 forecasts “debt held by the public” will equal 88% of the size of the economy in 2030 (source: CBO).
  4. BIG BANKS – The 22 largest banks in the United States (there are 6,730 banks nationwide) hold 62% of the $12.75 trillion of assets controlled by all domestic commercial banks and savings institutions as of 3/31/14.  Each of the 22 banks has at least $100 billion of assets (source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).
  5. DC MONEY – 90% of the money invested today in employer-sponsored retirement plans goes into defined contribution plans as opposed to defined benefit plans (source: Center for Retirement Research).
  6. RIGHT DIRECTION – Through 9 months of fiscal year 2014 (i.e., the 9 months ending 6/30/14), tax receipts are up +8.2% over the same 9 months a year ago, while outlays are up +1.1% (source: Treasury Department).
  7. LITTLE CHANGE – The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 2.57% on 8/05/11, the day that S&P announced (after the close of trading that day) a downgrade of the USA.  Almost 36 months later, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed last Friday (7/18/14) at 2.50% (source: Treasury Department).
  8. CAN’T PAY – 14.7% of student loans (as measured by dollar) that entered the repayment phase of the loan in 2010 are currently in default (source: St. Louis Federal Reserve).
  9. BIGGEST EVER – Retail sales in the USA in June 2014 were $440 billion, the largest nominal monthly total (i.e., not adjusted for inflation) in the nation’s history (source: Commerce Department).
  10. HEDGING HER BET – Fed Chair Janet Yellen testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday 7/15/14 that increases to short-term interest rates could occur “sooner and be more rapid than currently envisioned” depending upon the US labor market.  The Fed pushed short-term rates to near zero as of 12/16/08 (5 ½ years ago) and have kept them at that historically low level since then (source: Federal Reserve).
  11. DROUGHT – The state of California approved statewide restrictions on water usage for the 1st time in history last Tuesday (7/15/14).  Californians were challenged by Governor Jerry Brown in January 2014 to cut water usage by 20% or face state-mandated restrictions.  Actual water reduction since then has been just 5%.  Individuals could be fined as much as $500 per day (source: California State Water Resources Control Board).
  12. TIME FOR A CHANGE? – Congress has a 15% job approval rating as of 7/15/14.  There are 535 members of Congress (100 senators and 435 elected officials in the House of Representatives), of which 468 members (or 87% of Congress) are up for re-election on 11/04/14 or 106 days from today (source: Gallup).
  13. MAY I HAVE A MULLIGAN? – Of the more than 1,000 US seniors surveyed in March 2014 (aged 60 and over), 45% of them indicated that if they could “turn back the clock,” they would save more money for their retirement years (source: National Council on Aging).
  14. JUST IN CASE – 1 in 4 “Baby Boomers” (26%) have established a financial plan to fall back on in the event that they are forced to retire prematurely due to circumstances beyond their control, including getting fired or because of the loss of a job due to a disability or serious health complications (source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies).
  15. TIGHT RACES – For the 1st time since Major League Baseball went to 6 divisions in 1994 (i.e., 3 in each league), 4 divisional races are separated by 1 ½ games or less at the All-Star break.  Only the Detroit Tigers (leading the AL Central) and the Baltimore Orioles (leading the AL East) have opened larger leads at the break (source: MLB).


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