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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: October 11th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. WHAT A DAY! - 13 years ago this week (on Monday 10/13/08), the single-best trading day for the S&P 500 in the last 71 years (since 1950) took place – a gain of +11.58% (total return) in just 1 trading day. 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 value (source: BTN Research).
  1. WEALTHIEST FAMILIES - The top 5% of US households own 71% of US equities, while the top 20% of US households own 93% of US equities (source: Survey of Consumer Finances, Federal Reserve Board).
  1. GOING UP? - Inflation as of 9/30/21, using the Consumer Price Index, will be reported this Wednesday 10/13/21. For the trailing 12 months ending 8/31/21, inflation was up +5.3%, a level not seen over the course of a calendar year in 31 years (source: Department of Labor).
  1. IMPACTS MANY PRODUCTS - Oil prices have gone up +64% YTD, i.e., West Texas Intermediate crude has gone from $48.52 a barrel as of 12/31/20 to $79.35 a barrel as of last Friday 10/08/21 (source: NYMEX).
  1. YOUR NEXT CAR - 25% of new auto sales in China in the year 2025 are projected to be electric vehicles. China is the world’s largest auto market (source: Bloomberg NEF).
  1. SAME FOR YOU? - The total household net worth in America is up +47% in the last 4 years and is up +89% in the last 8 years. The total US household net worth was $74.8 trillion as of 6/30/13, was $96.2 trillion as of 6/30/17 and was $141.7 trillion as of 6/30/21 (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. JUST NORMAL PEOPLE - President Joe Biden and his wife are worth an estimated $8 million, including their ownership of 2 homes in Delaware. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband are worth an estimated $7 million (source: The Wealth Advisor).
  1. GOT YOUR SHOTS? - 81% of 1,000 small business owners (i.e., firms employing less than 100 workers) who were surveyed in September 2021 say they would require new hires to be vaccinated or they are considering a requirement that new hires be vaccinated (source: Digital.com).
  1. MAY I ASK YOU? - The HIPPA Privacy Rule (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was enacted in 1996 or 25 years ago. HIPPA does not prohibit a business from asking an employee if they have received a COVID-19 vaccine, but it does regulate how and when a business may use or disclose information about an employee’s vaccination status (source: Department of Health & Human Services).
  1. PANDEMIC DEATHS - Over a half million more Americans (526,000) died in 2020 than in 2019, i.e., 3.381 million in 2020 compared to 2.855 million in 2019. 264,000 Americans died in January 2020 (pre-pandemic), while 370,000 Americans died in January 2021 (source: National Center for Health Statistics).
  1. EXPANDING ITS REACH - House lawmakers introduced legislation on 6/01/21 (“Improving Medicare Coverage Act”) that would lower the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 60. The change would expand Medicare to an estimated 23 million American seniors currently not eligible.  Medicare provides health insurance coverage today to 54.1 million Americans aged 65 and older (source: HR # 5165).
  1. MEDICAID IN YOUR STATE - A Supreme Court ruling in 2012 (9 years ago) made the expansion of Medicaid that was written into the Affordable Care Act an option that individual states could add but did not make the expansion mandatory. As of today, 38 states have expanded Medicaid and 12 have not.  The 12 are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming (source: ACA).
  1. BACKSTOP - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has taken over an average of 5 ½ failed private pension plans each month over the 5 fiscal years of 2016-2020, a grand total of 336 failed plans. In fiscal year 2020 alone, 69 plans that provide pension benefits to 57,000 current and future retirees were bailed out (source: PBGC).
  1. CAUGHT YOU - Billionaire Oleg Tinkov pleaded guilty on Friday 10/01/21 to filing a false US tax return, forcing him now to pay $507 million in back taxes, interest and penalties (source: Department of Justice).
  1. DON’T CHANGE THE LOGO - The Big 12 Conference is made up of 10 teams, but the league will drop to 8 teams when Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC in 2025. In response, the Big 12 has announced that Cincinnati, UCF, BYU and Houston will join its conference, bringing its membership back to 12 teams (source: Big 12 Conference).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: October 4th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. STOCKS & WHITE HOUSE - From 1936-2020, the S&P 500 has averaged +6.7% per year (total return) during the 1st year of a 4-year presidential term, +8.7% per year during the 2nd year, +18.5% per year during the 3rd year, and +9.8% per year during the 4th year. 2022 will be year # 2 of a 1st-term Biden administration.  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. JUST THREE MONTHS LEFT - Through 9 months of 2021, i.e., YTD through Thursday 9/30/21, the S&P 500 is up +15.9% YTD (total return). The index was up +18.4% (total return) in 2020 (source: BTN Research).
  1. BONDS - The worst year for the taxable bond market in the last 45 years (1976-2020) was a loss of 2.92% (total return) in 1994. The YTD performance (through 9/30/21) of the taxable bond market is a loss of 1.56% (total return).  The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index (created in 1986 with backdated history calculated to 1976), calculated using publicly traded investment grade government bonds, corporate bonds and mortgage-related bonds with at least 1 year until final maturity, was used as the bond measurement (source: Bloomberg Barclays).
  1. GET ME OUT - 3 out of 4 American adults surveyed (74%) say they would sell out of the US stock market if equities suffered a “moderate or big decline.” 3,000 adults were surveyed in late summer 2021 (source: Vise).
  1. PANDEMIC DEATHS - In the 12 months from 9/30/20 to 9/30/21, 492,253 Americans died from the COVID-19 virus, including 56,532 deaths in just the last month. As of 9/30/21, 699,485 Americans have died as a result of the pandemic going back to the initial US death in January 2020 (source: NBC News, Meet the Press, First Read).
  1. PAY FOR NEW PROGRAMS - 53% of consumers surveyed in August 2021 believe the “average income tax rate” paid by American taxpayers will increase in the next 12 months. The 53% result is the highest level recorded in a monthly survey that has been conducted since 2015 (source: Survey of Consumer Expectations).
  1. JOBS - As of 8/31/21, the lowest unemployment rate of any US state was 2.2% in Nebraska, while the highest jobless rate was 7.7% in Nevada. The national unemployment rate was 5.2% (source: Department of Labor).
  1. DID NOT GO TO COLLEGE - 64% of American adults at least age 25 do not have a bachelor’s degree from college (source: Census Bureau).
  1. SKILLS NEEDED - 75% of executives surveyed in December 2020 anticipate increased spending in “automation and technology” through December 2024 (source: McKinsey Global Economic Conditions survey).
  1. TRILLION? - In a 9/24/21 speech, President Biden said “I’m tired of trickle-down. The trillionaires and billionaires are doing very, very well.”  The richest American today is Elon Musk, worth $199.7 billion (source: White House).
  1. BIG DEBT – Our national debt has grown from $14.790 trillion on 9/30/11 to $28.427 trillion on 9/30/21, an increase of $13.637 trillion. That’s equivalent to adding $3.73 billion of new debt per day, or $156 million per hour, or $2.6 million per minute, or $43,207 per second over the past decade (source: Treasury Department).
  1. THE KIDS GOT IT - An IRA that is transferred at death to a non-spouse beneficiary, e.g., adult child or grandchild, would have to be fully distributed by December 31st of the calendar year 10 years after the death of IRA owner. The non-spouse beneficiary is allowed but not required to take taxable distributions prior to the end of the 10 years.  Please consult a tax expert for details (source: Internal Revenue Service Publication 590-B).
  1. STUFF GOING NOWHERE - 73 vessels were anchored and awaiting entry into the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles on Sunday 9/19/21, an all-time record. An additional 37 vessels were drifting in the ocean within 20 miles of Long Beach and Los Angeles, but far enough offshore to prevent them from successfully dropping an anchor (source: Marine Exchange of Southern California).
  1. ALL IN THE FAMILY – One political party has controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives in 23 of the last 65 years (35%), i.e., 1957-2021. Republicans last controlled the White House, the Senate and the House in 2018.  Democrats control all 3 this year (source: BTN Research).
  1. WHO WILL BE NEXT? - Through the first 4 weeks of the college football season, a total of 25 ranked teams in the AP (writers) weekly poll have been beaten, the greatest number of ranked teams to lose through the first 4 weeks of a college football season in polling that dates back 85 years. The highest ranked football teams to lose were # 3 ranked Clemson in week # 1 and # 3 ranked Ohio State in week # 2 (source: ESPN).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: September 27th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. FOURTH QUARTER - Over the last 30 years (1991-2020), the S&P 500 index has gained an average of +4.78% (total return) over the final 3 months of the year (October-November-December), the best gain of the 4 quarters. 24 of the last 30 fourth quarters (80%) have produced a positive total return gain.  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. DEALS EVERYWHERE - Merger and acquisition (M&A) deals globally are worth $3.9 trillion YTD through 8/31/21, on pace to exceed the all-time global M&A record of $4.3 trillion from 2007 (source: Refinitiv).
  1. IN THE MIDDLE - After adjusting numerical data from the past for the impact of inflation, the US median household income reached an all-time high for 4 consecutive years (2016-2019), peaking at $69,560 in 2019. That streak ended in 2020 when median household income dropped to $67,521.  Before 2016, the peak for median household income was $63,423 from 1999 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis).
  1. HOW ABOUT YOUR FAMILY? - 63% of American households surveyed in August 2021 made a “large purchase” in the previous 4 months, including large household outlays for essential activities (e.g., housing related) and large expenses for non-essential activities (e.g., vacations) (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. MORE THAN JUST WAGES - For every $1 spent for wages and salaries in the private sector as of June 2021, employers spend an additional 45 cents on benefits, including paid leave, insurance, retirement plans and legally required benefits. Average private sector compensation is $29.48 per hour while the cost of benefits averages an additional $13.12 per hour (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  1. ANOTHER ONE THIS WEEK? - There have been 21 government shutdowns in history when our nation’s lawmakers failed to agree on spending bills to fund government outlays for a fiscal year that begins annually on October 1. The most recent shutdown, a 35-day stoppage that ended on 1/25/19, was the longest closure in history.  11 of the 21 shutdowns lasted 3 days or less (source: Congressional Research Service).
  1. YOU HAVE TOO MUCH - The House Ways and Means Committee, the tax-writing committee in the lower chamber of Congress, passed legislation on Wednesday 9/15/21 that would force Americans who have retirement accounts with balances greater than $10 million to take an annual minimum distribution (that would be taxable) and to prohibit additional contributions to the account. The bill still has to pass the full House and the Senate before going to the president for his signature (source: Ways and Means Committee).
  1. BILLIONS – In 2019 a total of 3,625 American taxpayers had $119.5 billion in “mega-IRAs,” i.e., pre-tax IRAs that had balances of at least $10 million (source: Joint Committee on Taxation).
  1. VOTING - With a 220-212 majority in the House (there are 3 vacancies), House Democrats can lose 3 members and still pass legislation on a party line basis, i.e., 3 defections still provides a 217-215 margin (source: House).
  1. BORDERING STATES - The 2 fastest growing states in the last decade are Utah, up +18.4% in its total population, and Idaho, up +17.3% (source: 2020 Census).
  1. HOMES - As of 6/30/21, US home prices rose by an average of +17.4% over the last year, by +8.1% per year over the last 5 years, and by +6.5% per year over the last 10 years (source: Federal Housing Finance Agency).
  1. EVERYONE BOUGHT IN – 2 years before a polio vaccine was developed in 1955, the US reported 35,000 polio cases in 1953. The most recent polio case in the US was reported in 1979 or 42 years ago (source: CDC).
  1. PANDEMIC COST - The average cost of care for an individual infected with the COVID-19 virus who has insurance coverage and required hospitalization is $29,000. That average cost soars to $156,000 if the patient required a ventilator and needed treatment in an intensive care unit (source: FAIR Health).
  1. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY? – With 57 people in a room, there is a 99% chance that 2 people in the group have the same birthday. With 41 people in a room, there is a 90% chance that 2 people in the group have the same birthday.  With 34 people in a room, there is an 80% chance that 2 people in the group have the same birthday (source: BTN Research).
  1. HITTING BOMBS - 61 PGA golfers averaged at least 300 yards for “driving distance” during the 2020-2021 wraparound season, topped by Bryson DeChambeau’ s record setting 323.7-yard average. 20 years ago (2001), just 1 golfer (John Daly) averaged more than 300 yards per drive (source: PGA).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: September 20th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. BAD DAYS - As of the close of trading last Friday 9/17/21, the S&P 500 has gone 223 trading days (just short of 11 months) without sustaining a 1-day loss of at least 3% (total return). When the reality of the pandemic hit in February 2020, the index had daily losses of at least 3% 12 times over 28 trading days.  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. WE ARE WAY BEHIND - The US may have the 3rd largest population of any country in the world, but # 1 China and # 2 India each have more than 4 times the number of people the US has (source: Census.gov).
  1. RED INK - With just the month of September yet to be counted in fiscal year 2021, the government has taken in $3.59 trillion of tax receipts while spending $6.30 trillion, netting to a $2.71 trillion budget deficit. The US has had 23 consecutive months of deficits, its longest deficit stretch since March 2012 (source: Treasury Department).
  1. RECORD DEFICIT - The largest budget deficit in US history was the $3.13 trillion deficit from fiscal year 2020, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/20 (source: Treasury Department).
  1. POLITICS - The House of Representatives convenes today (9/20/21). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) committed on 8/24/21 to bring the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill (that has already passed in the Senate) to a House vote by 9/27/21.  Pelosi made the commitment in order to gain the support of 10 House Democrats who otherwise would have stalled the $3.5 trillion social infrastructure bill (source: Congress).
  1. AND HERE WE ARE AGAIN - Congress has raised or extended our nation’s debt ceiling limit 78 times since 1960, i.e., an average of once every 9 months. The 78 total is split 49 times under a Republican president and 29 times under a Democratic president (source: Treasury Department).
  1. FACING EVICTION - When the Supreme Court ruled on 8/26/21 that the CDC had no legal authority to issue an eviction moratorium, just 6% of 6 million US renters were behind on their rent (source: Goldman Sachs).
  1. PRICES - Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, was up +5.3% over the 1-year ending 8/31/21. The last year when inflation was up at least +5% was 1990 or 31 years ago (source: Department of Labor).
  1. SHE DID NOT GIVE UP - April Hughes, a participant in Northwestern University’s 403(b) retirement plan, sued the plan’s sponsor 5 years ago (in 2016) for a “breach of fiduciary duty.” The lawsuit was dismissed by a district court in May 2018 and that decision was upheld in an appeals court in May 2020.  Hughes petitioned the Supreme Court in August 2020 to hear her case, a request the high court accepted on 7/02/21.  The Supreme Court’s involvement is expected to provide clarification for district courts and appeals courts as to what constitutes sufficient grounds for similar lawsuits to be dismissed or to move forward (source: Supreme Court).
  1. BUYERS ARE LOOKING FOR A PERFECT HOME - Real estate investors were involved in 17% of the home purchases (1 out of every 6 sales) during the 2nd quarter of 2021. The investors have taken advantage of historically low interest rates to finance upgrades on their purchases, and then realize a profit by reselling to a pandemic-weary buyer who is looking for specific features in his/her new home (source: Redfin).
  1. HONESTLY? - The US government projected on 9/07/21 that 53% of our nation’s “tax gap” are taxes not paid by the top 5% of US taxpayers. The “tax gap” is the difference between what all taxpayers should have paid each year compared to what they actually paid (source: Treasury Department).
  1. BEST AND WORST - Kansas has the # 1 “funding ratio” of any state retirement plan, i.e., the present value of assets set aside divided by the present value of pension obligations. At the other extreme, Connecticut is ranked 50th among US states with the lowest “funding ratio” for its state retirement plan (source: GoBankingRates.com).
  1. WORKER SHORTAGE - An estimated 20% of workers in the hotel and restaurant business globally have permanently exited the industry during the pandemic, electing instead to seek employment within industries that may provide greater job stability going forward (source: Tony Capuano, Marriott CEO).
  1. HIT THE ROAD - Average occupancy at US hotels fell to a pandemic-low of 22% on 3/28/20. Average hotel occupancy bounced back during the 2021 summer months, peaking at 71% as of 7/24/21 (source: STR).
  1. DALLAS OR CINCINNATI? - The most valuable NFL football team is the Dallas Cowboys, worth an estimated $6.9 billion. The least valuable NFL football team is the Cincinnati Bengals, worth an estimated $2.4 billion.  The average NFL football team (there are 32 teams) is worth $3.5 billion (source: Sportico).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: September 13th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. TWENTY YEARS AGO - The US stock market did not open at its regular time of 9:30am ET on Tuesday 9/11/01, shutting down after the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46am ET and the second plane hit the South Tower at 9:03am ET. When the market did reopen on Monday 9/17/21, the S&P 500 fell 4.9% (total return) for the day.  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. FROM THEN TO NOW - The S&P 500 was already in a “bear” market slide when the 9/11 attacks occurred, having peaked 1 ½ years earlier on 3/24/00. That “bear” did not end for more than another year (on 10/09/02), subsequently followed by 2 additional “bears” in 2007-09 and in 2020.  In spite of 3 “bears” in the last 20 years, the S&P 500 has gained +9.4% per year (total return) from 9/10/01 to last Friday 9/10/21 (source: BTN Research).
  1. MARGIN DEBT - The use of margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange fell in July 2021 to $844 billion, breaking a streak of 8 consecutive months of record-setting debt (source: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).
  1. LUMP-SUM NEEDED - A present value (PV) amount of $195,929 is required to fund a $1,000 per month payment for 20 years with a +3% annual increase for maintenance of purchasing power if a +5% annual rate of return is maintained into the future. The PV amount is $269,006 if the required payment period is 30 years.  The calculations ignore the impact of taxes and are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to reflect any specific investment alternative (source: BTN Research).
  1. THEY HAD ENOUGH - 3.2 million Americans retired in 2020, a +56% increase over the average 2.05 million Americans who retired over the previous 8 years, i.e., 2012-2019 (source: Pew Research Center).
  1. TAXES - Congress will debate 3 major tax hikes designed to offset the cost of the proposed $3.5 trillion social infrastructure bill: 1) a corporate income tax increase (to raise $1 trillion over 10 years), 2) a corporate tax on overseas income (to raise $550 billion), and 3) a higher capital gains tax (to raise $322 billion) (source: CNBC).
  1. IN TROUBLE - At least 500 US corporations have filed for bankruptcy protection per year since 2015, including 630 in 2020. 242 corporations filed for bankruptcy in the 1st half of 2021 (source: S&P Global Mkt Intelligence).
  1. NATIONWIDE AVERAGE - The value of a single-family home in the United States increased by an average of +17.4% over the 12 months from 6/30/20 to 6/30/21 (source: Federal Housing Finance Agency).
  1. GETTING WORSE - The projected 75-year shortfall in the Social Security Trust fund has tripled in the last 10 years. The 2011 Trustees Report forecasted a $6.5 trillion present value shortfall between payroll taxes anticipated to be collected and projected benefits to be paid out over the next 75 years.  The 2021 report, released 8/31/21, now projects the present value shortfall to be $19.8 trillion (source: 2021 Trustees Report).
  1. MOVED MONEY AROUND - The Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund was projected to be depleted by the 4Q of 2016 per a 7/22/15 trustee report. This forced Congress to allocate more of the 12.4% combined payroll taxes collected from employers and employees for 3 years (2016-17-18) to the DI fund.  The extra funds have pushed the DI Trust Fund’s exhaustion date to 2057 or 36 years out (source: Social Security Trustees 2021 Report).
  1. MEDICARE - Per an 8/31/21 report, the trust fund supporting Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is projected to be depleted by 2026. The long-term (75-year) present value shortfall in the trust fund could be corrected by an immediate 0.77 percentage point increase in combined Medicare payroll taxes (from its current 2.90% to 3.67%) or an immediate 16% reduction in Medicare expenditures (source: Medicare Trustees 2021 Report).
  1. DOLLARS IN, DOLLARS OUT - At the end of 2020, Medicare was covering 62.6 million Americans (19% of our population). The program was cash negative in 2020, taking in $900 billion of income (including $5 billion of interest income) while paying out $926 billion in benefits (source: Medicare).
  1. NOT SLOWING DOWN - 51 million Americans became infected with the COVID-19 virus in August 2020. 4.35 million Americans became infected with the COVID-19 virus in August 2021 (source: NBC News).
  1. TOP TWO FOR FASHION IMPORTS - For the 12 months ending 7/31/21, China was the supplier of 23.3% of the USA’s “apparel” imports, while Vietnam had an 18.9% market share (source: Commerce Department).
  1. IN TIME FOR FOOTBALL - 23 states offer legalized sports betting today, with another 9 states having passed legislation allowing betting but they have yet to make the gambling operational (source: Amer. Gaming Assoc.).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: September 6th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. THROUGH AUGUST - The S&P 500 was up +21.6% YTD (total return) through 8/31/21. The S&P 500 has gained an average of +10.9% per year (total return) over the last 50 years (i.e., 1971-2020).  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. AN AVERAGE, NOT A FORECAST - September has been the worst performer for the S&P 500 over the last 30 years, i.e., 1991-2020, down 0.2% on average (total return). The month of August is ranked 11th of 12 months over the last 30 years but recorded a S&P 500 gain of +3.0% (total return) last month (source: BTN Research).
  1. MOSTLY UP - If the S&P 500 is able to maintain a positive total return for all of 2021 (the index is up +22.0% YTD as of 9/03/21), it will be the index’s 17th positive annual return in the last 19 years (source: BTN Research).  
  1. IN THE YEAR 2033 - Social Security trustees announced on 8/31/21 that the trust fund backing the payment of Social Security benefits (OASI retirement benefits) would be zero in 2033. A zero “trust fund” does not mean the payment of Social Security benefits would also go to zero, but rather would drop to 76% of their originally promised levels through the year 2095.  When the trustees released their report in 2010 (i.e., 11 years ago), the Social Security Trust Fund was projected to be depleted in 2040 (source: Social Security Trustees 2021 Report).
  1. LONG-TERM ISSUE - The estimated Social Security shortfall today (i.e., a present value number) between the future taxes anticipated being collected and the future benefits expected to be paid out over the next 75 years is $19.8 trillion. The entire $19.8 trillion deficit could be eliminated by an immediate 3.36 percentage point increase in the combined Social Security payroll tax rate (from 12.40% to 15.76%) or an immediate 21% reduction in benefits that are paid out to current and future beneficiaries (source: Social Security Trustees 2021 Report).
  1. CHEAP MONEY - The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at 1.303% on 8/31/21, up from 0.913% as of 12/31/20. The all-time low close for the 10-year note is 0.501% set on 3/09/20 (source: Treasury Department).
  1. COLA - The annual Social Security “cost-of-living adjustment” has been at least +4% twice in the last 30 years, a level likely to be surpassed when the 2022 adjustment is announced in October 2021 (source: Social Security).
  1. THEN AND NOW - The maximum Social Security benefit paid to a worker retiring at full retirement age in 2011 was $2,366 per month. That 2011 worker is now receiving $2,785 per month in 2021, an increase of +1.64% per year over the last 10 years (source: Social Security).
  1. LENDERS WANT TO LEND - 29% of “large” US banks have loosened the lending requirements they utilize to approve loans to corporations and to individuals during the 2nd Q of 2021. “Large” banks are defined as having total domestic assets of at least $50 billion (source: Federal Reserve Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices).
  1. WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM? - The government’s “mid-session review” of our fiscal year 2021 finances, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/21, projects a fiscal year deficit of $3.115 trillion, just under our nation’s record deficit of $3.129 trillion recorded last year in fiscal year 2020. Our “deficit-as-a-percentage” of gross domestic product (GDP) is forecasted to be 13.9% in fiscal year 2021, down from 14.9% in fiscal year 2020, but still the 2 highest “percent of GDP” results recorded since 1945 (source: Office of Management and Budget).
  1. DEBT LIMIT - The Treasury Department reset our nation’s debt ceiling limit 5 weeks ago on Sunday 8/01/21 to our government’s outstanding debt as of that date, i.e., $28.428 trillion. Since 8/01/21, the government has taken “extraordinary measures” to borrow funds without “breaching” the new debt ceiling.  The government will “run out of cash” in the next 2 months unless the debt ceiling is raised again (source: Congressional Budget Office).
  1. HALF THE COUNTRIES - 98 countries, equal to 50% of the 195 countries in the world, have agreed to accept refugees from Afghanistan (source: State Department).
  1. MORE WILL FOLLOW - The Bahamas became the 1st nation to issue its official currency in digital form in 2020, i.e., a legally backed digital token developed by a central bank (source: Central Bank of The Bahamas).
  1. MASSIVE LOSSESHurricane Katrina (2005) caused $81 billion of damages (in 2005 dollars), comparable (in nominal terms) to the estimated $80 billion of damages caused by Hurricane Ida (source: Hurricanescience.org).
  1. SO MUCH MONEY - Professional golf’s FedExCup finished with the top 30 golfers competing last weekend in Atlanta in the Tour Championship. The tournament winner took home $15 million for the year-long competition, 8th place won $1.1 million, and the golfer who finished last (30th) still made $395,000 (source: PGA).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: August 30th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. BULL RACES ON - From its 3/23/20 closing price through the end of trading last Friday 8/27/21, the S&P 500 has gained +106.3% (total return) and set 72 all-time closing highs. 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. CONSECUTIVE BEARS - Over the last 75 years, the shortest time period between the end of one bear market for stocks and the beginning of another bear market for stocks is 26 months. The S&P 500 fell 22% during a bear market that ended on 10/07/66.  The next bear market for the stock market, an 18-month long tumble of 36% began its downward slide on 11/29/68.  The latest bear market for stocks, a decline of 34% over just 33 days, ended on 3/23/20 or 17 months ago (source: BTN Research).
  1. BRAND NEW HOMES - The median sales price of a new home sold in the USA in June 2021 was $390,500, an all-time record high both on a nominal basis and on an inflation-adjusted basis. The old nominal record was $374,400 in April 2021.  The old inflation-adjusted record was $345,800 in May 2017, equal to $383,898 in today’s dollars (source: Census Bureau).
  1. RED TAPE - Congress approved $46.55 billion in rental aid via 2 bills in 12/2020 and 3/2021. As of 8/25/21, just $5.1 billion has been disbursed to renters or 11% of the total (source: Emergency Rental Assistance Program).
  1. GOOD LUCK - A renter household that qualifies for rental aid assistance (see prior bullet) receives 12 months of rent and utility assistance, extended to 18 months for the most vulnerable households (source: ERAP).
  1. DON’T EXPECT ME TO PAY - Just 3% of all hospital costs in America in 2019 were paid “out-of-pocketby consumers. Various government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, paid 50% of all hospital costs, another 37% was paid by insurance companies, and the remaining 10% was paid by other third parties including employers that maintain self-insured plans (source: American Enterprise Institute).
  1. MORE PEOPLE ARE ELIGIBLE - The American Rescue Plan Act (HR # 1319), signed into law on 3/11/21, expanded the number of Americans eligible for federal subsidies for health insurance obtained through the Affordable Care Act to anyone who would otherwise be forced to pay more than 8.5% of their income for “benchmark” coverage. Previously, anyone with income above 400% of the “federal poverty level” would be ineligible for subsidies.  400% of the “federal poverty level” is equal to $106,000 of income for a family of 4 in 2021 (source: American Rescue Plan Act).
  1. IN A WEEK - An estimated 7.5 million out-of-work Americans will stop receiving federal unemployment insurance benefits a week from today (Monday 9/06/21). The group will lose the $300 of weekly benefits that they have been receiving since late December 2020 (source: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance).
  1. BIG VOLUME, LOW COST - Unbranded generic drugs represent 84% of the drugs sold in the United States (by volume) but represent only 12% of US spending on drugs (source: RAND Corporation).
  1. COVID NUMBERS – On 8/24/21, the United States reached 38 million in confirmed cases (38,057,336) of the coronavirus (11.44% of the US population) and 633,455 deaths, a mortality rate of 1.67% if you contract the virus, i.e., 1 out of every 9 Americans has contracted the virus and 1 out of every 60 Americans who has contracted COVID-19 has died from it since the inception of the virus in January 2020 (source: NBC News).
  1. THE FIRST ONE - The CDC has changed the date of the first US death from COVID-19 from 2/06/20 to as early as 1/11/20. The CDC now believes 6 COVID-related deaths occurred before 2/06/20 (source: CDC).
  1. ONE MONTH - Before the pandemic, the largest monthly deficit in US history, i.e., “spending” in excess of “receipts,” was $234 billion in February 2019. Since the pandemic began in January 2020, the largest monthly deficit in US history has now increased to $864 billion in June 2020 (source: Treasury Department).
  1. MINERALS - A team of American geologists discovered in 2010 what was described as “nearly $1 trillion” of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including copper, gold, cobalt and lithium (source: New York Times).
  1. WILL WE HAVE A THIRD? - Only 2 governors in US history have been successfully recalled – Lynn Frazier (North Dakota) in 1921 (100 years ago) and Gray Davis (California) in 2003 (source: BTN Research).
  1. GO CYCLONES! - The highest ranked college football team in the AP (writers) 2021 preseason poll that has never won the national championship is Iowa State, ranked 7th in the initial 2021 poll (source: AP).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: August 23rd, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. WELL ABOVE AVERAGE - The S&P 500 is up +19.4% YTD (total return) through the close of trading last Friday 8/20/21. 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 proportionate to its market value (source: S&P Dow Jones Indices).
  1. FED - The Fed’s Board of Governors is a 7-member group that has 1 vacancy today. Of the 6 current members, the roles of 3 members are up for reappointment over the next 5 ½ monthsRandy Quarles (his role as Vice Chair of Supervision ends on 10/13/21), Richard Clarida (his term as a Fed governor ends on 1/31/22) and Jay Powell (his term as Fed chair ends on 2/05/22) each have looming end dates (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. SMARTER IN ARKANSAS - The only state retirement system to use a “discount rate” of at least 8% today with its retirement funds is Arkansas, i.e., the “discount rate” is aka the “assumed rate of return” that is expected to be achieved by the pension plan. The lowest “discount rate” in the nation today is 5.25%, used by the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS).  A lower “discount rate” is a conservative strategy, forcing the plan to systematically invest higher annual contributions (source: Nat’l Association of State Retirement Administrators).
  1. MONTHLY BENEFIT - 54 million Americans receive monthly Social Security retirement benefits, including retired workers, dependents of retired workers, and survivors of deceased workers. 42 million Americans receive monthly assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka “food stamps” (source: SNAP).
  1. AVERAGE PER MONTH - The average Social Security retirement benefit is $1,503 per month. The average “food stamp” benefit (SNAP) is $157 per month per person (source: BTN Research).
  1. JUST SPEND THE MONEY - The Treasury Department distributed $15 billion in July 2021 and has distributed another $15 billion this month (through Friday 8/13/21) per the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) that was part of the “American Rescue Plan Act” that was signed into law by President Joe Biden on 3/11/21. The payments are currently scheduled to continue through the end of 2021 (source: American Rescue Plan Act).
  1. NOT A LOT ARE USING IT - As of Sunday 8/08/21, 8 million home mortgages are using the forbearance protection made available to them through the 3/27/20 CARES Act, or just 3.26% of the 56.1 million home mortgages that exist nationwide (source: Mortgage Bankers Association).
  1. SKIP THE PUMP - There are 43,600 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the USA. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate allocates $7.5 billion for additional charging stations (source: DOE).
  1. SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION - The Chinese port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, the 3rd busiest port in the world, was forced to partially shut down on 8/11/21 as a result of a coronavirus outbreak. By Wednesday 8/18/21, the 8th shutdown day, 80 ships containing a total of 393,650 20-foot containers were sitting idle in the water waiting for the port to reopen (source: VesselsValue).
  1. AFGHANISTAN - The United States spent $2.26 trillion during its 20-year presence in Afghanistan in fighting the Taliban, rebuilding the Afghan government and training the Afghan military (source: Brown University).
  1. NEED A LOT OF RAIN - The government announced on 8/16/21 reductions to the allocation of water taken from Lake Mead (beginning in January 2022) for the states of Arizona and Nevada, along with cutbacks to Mexico. Arizona’s decrease is equal to 18% of what they currently receive from Lake Mead or 8% of the state’s total water usage.  California will not see any water reduction at this time (source: Bureau of Reclamation).
  1. BOOM TOWN - Phoenix was the 99th largest US city in 1950 (106,818 people). Phoenix is the 5th largest US city today (1.61 million people), per the 2020 US census (source: Census Bureau).
  1. BACK TO WORK - The House returns from recess today (Monday 8/23/21), a break that began on Friday 7/30/21. The Senate is not expected back in Washington for another 3 weeks until 9/13/21 (source: Congress).
  1. BURN BABY BURN - Metabolism peaks in humans at age 1 and then declines through age 20. From age 20 to age 60, metabolism is relatively stable, before beginning another annual decline at age 60 (source: American Association for the Advancement of Science).
  1. IT’S JUST BOBO AND TYLER - In the live-ball era of Major League Baseball, i.e., in the 102 years since 1919, there have been just 2 pitchers who threw a no-hitter in their first career start – Bobo Holloman on 5/06/1953 and Tyler Gilbert of the Arizona Diamondbacks 68 years later on Saturday 8/14/2021 (source: MLB).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: August 16th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. AT LEAST TEN - The S&P 500 is up +20.0% YTD (total return) through the close of trading last Friday 8/13/21. The index has produced a “double-digit” total return gain in 7 of the last 10 years (2011-2020).  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. LAWMAKERS - Senate Democrats introduced a 92-page budget blueprint on 8/09/21, the first step in its plan to pass a $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” bill that would likely need to use the “reconciliation” process in order to pass. If successful, the bill would not require any support from the 50 Republicans in the Senate.  By rules of the Senate, only bills that change “spending or revenues” can use the “reconciliation” option.  Democrats used “reconciliation” to pass the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan Act” (HR # 1319) on 3/11/21 (source: Congress).
  1. UNDER THE PILLOW - From 1/01/20 (before the pandemic) to 5/27/20, the size of the money market fund industry in the USA (both taxable and tax-free) had grown from $3.6 trillion to $4.8 trillion. From 5/27/20 to last Wednesday 8/11/21, the size of the money market fund industry had declined $278 billion from $4.8 trillion to $4.5 trillion (source: Investment Company Institute).
  1. A LOT OF HELP WANTED - American employers had 10.1 million job openings as of 6/30/21, an all-time record for an employment statistic that has been tracked by our government since December 2000. Domestic employers had 6.9 million job openings as of 2/29/20 at the beginning of the global pandemic (source: Department of Labor).
  1. WILL IT BE ABOVE AVERAGE? - The average change that American homeowners are anticipating in the value of their primary residences over the upcoming 12-months is a gain of +5.1%, more than the actual gain of +4.1% per year that has been achieved over the last 20-years through 4/30/21 (source: July 2021 Survey of Consumer Expectations Housing Survey, Federal Housing Finance Agency).
  1. EXPENSIVE STATES - The top 3 US states for “total debt balance per capita,” i.e., per person, as of 6/30/21 were California, New Jersey and Arizona (source: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel).
  1. WORLD’S BIGGEST - The size of the US economy was $22.7 trillion as of 6/30/21. 10 years ago (6/30/11), the size of the US economy was $15.6 trillion.  20 years ago (6/30/01), the size of the US economy was $10.6 trillion.  30 years ago (6/30/91), the size of the US economy was $6.1 trillion (source: Bureau of Economic Analysis).
  1. OPTIONS? - 39% of US small businesses say they experienced domestic supplier disruptions during July 2021, impacting their ability to provide goods and services to their customers (source: Census Bureau).
  1. DID SHE CHANGE HER MIND? - On 10/30/18, Janet Yellen said the rising national debt was “unsustainable” and that “if I had a magic wand, I would raise taxes and cut retirement spending.” On 10/30/18, our national debt was $21.7 trillion, and Yellen was 9 months removed from the end of her 4-year stint as the chair of the Federal Reserve.  The national debt has now reached $28.5 trillion as of last week.  As of Monday 1/25/21, Yellen became our nation’s Treasury Secretary (source: 2018 Charles Schwab Impact Conference).
  1. CALM BEFORE THE STORM? – Banks repossessed 230,305 homes in calendar year 2018. Banks repossessed 143,955 homes in calendar year 2019.  Banks repossessed 50,238 homes in calendar year 2020.  Through 7/31/21, banks had repossessed just 12,148 homes YTD (source: Attom Data Solutions).
  1. MOVE HERE - 44 US cities are currently offering cash incentives to attract workers to move to their cities, including Augusta, ME ($15,660), Stillwater, OK ($7,500) and French Lick, IN ($5,000) (source: MakeMyMove.com).
  1. AT THE PUMP - The national average price of gasoline was $3.19 a gallon as of 8/13/21, up from $2.25 as of 12/31/20. The last year that ended with gas at $3 a gallon or above was 2013 or 8 years ago (source: AAA).
  1. MOST SUSCEPTIBLE - As of 8/11/21, 79% of American COVID-19 deaths occurred to individuals at least age 65, while less than 2% of the victims were under the age of 40 (source: CDC).
  1. ON FIRE - 6 of the 7 largest wildfires in the history of California have occurred since August 2020, including the ongoing Dixie Fire which began in July 2021. The Dixie Fire is already the 2nd largest in the state’s history, having burned more than 510,000 acres (source: Cal Fire).
  1. ONE DAY - New York Met baseball player Pete Alonso won $1 million for winning the 2021 Home Run Derby on 7/12/21 in Denver. Alonso will earn $676,775 playing for the Mets for the 2021 regular season (source: MLB).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by:Lisa Navarro | Posted on: August 9th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. COUNTING ALL OF THEM - After peaking at $36.1 trillion on 2/19/20, the total market capitalization of all US equities fell $12.7 trillion to $23.4 trillion as of 3/23/20 but has since added back $24.3 trillion to close last Friday 8/06/21 at $47.7 trillion (source: Wilshire).
  1. MAJORITY OF DOMESTIC STOCKS - As of 7/31/21, the market capitalization of the S&P 500 was $39.2 trillion, 83% of the value of the entire US stock market ($47.2 trillion). That means $5 out of every $6 of value in the US stock market as of 7/31/21 was invested in a company that is part of the S&P 500 index.  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: S&P).
  1. THEY MAY NEVER STOP - The Federal Reserve has been buying $120 billion of federal debt per month since mid-March 2020, resulting in our nation’s central bank buying 76% of all the federal debt that has been issued during the pandemic (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. BEING CAUTIOUS - The personal savings rate in the US was a record 33.8% in April 2020 as Americans reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The personal savings rate in the US was 9.4% in June 2021.  Before the pandemic, the personal savings rate was above 10% during just 1 month since 1993.  The personal savings rate is defined as “savings” (i.e., after-tax income less consumption spending) divided by after-tax income (source: Department of Commerce).
  1. HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS - The number of American workers in “leisure and hospitality” was 16.3 million as of 2/29/20, dropped to 8.6 million as of 4/30/20, and now has rebounded to 15.8 million as of 7/31/21 (source: Department of Labor).
  1. LOSING GROUND - Wages and salaries of all “civilian workers,” defined as workers in the private sector along with workers for state and local governments (but not federal government workers), increased by +3.2% on a year-over-year basis as of 6/30/21. Inflation, as measured by the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI), was up +5.4% over the same 12-month period (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  1. BETTER THIS YEAR - Approximately 1 out of every 7 “recent graduates” from college (13.6%) was unemployed in June 2020. Just 1 out of every 16 “recent graduates” from college (6.2%) was unemployed in June 2021 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. NEED HELP - 43% of Americans under age 35 receive financial help from their parents or other family members when they purchase a home, e.g., money used for a down payment (source: Legal & General).
  1. HOME BUILDING - 563,400 single family homes began construction during the first half of 2021, the largest “January-to-June” total in the US since the first half of 2007 or 14 years earlier (source: Census Bureau).
  1. BIGGEST PIECE - 70% of total household debt nationwide is mortgage debt as of 6/30/21, i.e., $10.44 trillion of mortgage debt out of $14.96 trillion of total household debt (source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
  1. PARTLY EXTENDED - The first eviction moratorium due to the pandemic was issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on 3/18/20 for 60 days, i.e., to 5/17/20. Believing that renters needed additional financial help, the original moratorium was extended 7 times, ultimately pushing the deadline to 7/31/21.  An 11th hour effort by the White House on Tuesday 8/03/21 extended the deadline an 8th time (to 10/03/21), however the extension is limited to just those areas in the US where COVID infections have continued to rise (source: HUD).
  1. MEDICAID - Expanding Medicaid at the state level has been an option available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since 2014. Only 12 states have not accepted the offer, believing that expanding Medicaid will cause a state to eventually take on additional cost burdens (source: The Commonwealth Fund).
  1. STATE POLITICS - There is a State Senate and a State House in 49 of the 50 states (Nebraska has a single house). Out of the 99 state legislative chambers, Republicans control 61 of the 99 (source: Ballotpedia.org).
  1. DEATHS - The first American death from the COVID-19 pandemic occurred on 2/06/20. As of 9am ET on 8/06/21, i.e., 18 months later, 619,158 Americans had died from the pandemic, an average of 7,938 deaths per week3,273 Americans died of COVID-19 in the last week (source: NBC News, Meet the Press: First Read).
  1. WOW - When Ryan Crouser, Joe Kovacs and Tomas Walsh finished 1-2-3 in shot put, it was the 1st time in history in any individual event that the same athletes won the same medals in consecutive Olympics (source: Olympics).

- Broker/Dealer Use Only, Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission - Copyright © 2021 Michael A. Higley.  All rights reserved.  Email mick.higley@mahbtn.com for subscription information.

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