Broker Check

Mike's Weekly Economic Updates

| June 04, 2019
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  1. HOT AND COLD - The best performing individual stock in the S&P 500 index during the first 5 months of 2019 (i.e., January-May) gained +88%.  The worst performing individual stock in the S&P 500 during the first 5 months of 2019 lost 41%.  ).  


  1. FIVE MONTHS - The S&P 500 was down 6.4% (total return) in May 2019, its first down month of the year.  The index is still up +10.7% YTD (total return) through last Friday 5/31/19 (source: BTN Research). 


  1. JUST THREE - The top company in the Fortune 500, an annual evaluation based upon total revenues for the previous calendar year, has been held by just 3 different companies over the 64 years that the magazine has published the rankings (source: Fortune).


  1. TEN YEARS - June 2019 is the 120th consecutive month of an economic expansion for the United States, tying the record set between March 1991 and March 2001.  The nation has maintained records on the country’s business cycles, i.e., expansions and contractions, since 1854 (source: National Bureau of Economic Research). 


  1. DECLINING RATE - Of individual tax returns filed in calendar year 2010, 1.11% were audited or 1 out of every 91 returns.  Since then, the audit rate has fallen for 7 consecutive years to 0.59% for individual tax returns filed in calendar year 2017, equal to 1 out of every 169 returns (source: IRS Data Book). 


  1. THIS IS THE MONTH - The month of June has had the greatest number of existing homes sold during each of the last 5 calendar years (2014-2018).  570,000 existing homes were sold in June 2018, an average of 19,000 a day nationwide (source: National Association of Realtors). 


  1. DEBT-FREE - 40% of US homeowners own their home free and clear of any mortgage debt or home equity loan.  Of the 60% of homeowners with an outstanding debt balance, the median debt total is $126,000 (source: American Housing Survey).  


  1. REALLY BIG COUNTRY - The United States covers 997 billion acres in the 48 contiguous states, including state and federally owned land.  There are 122.3 million households in the country, including homeowners and renters.  If divided equally, each household would own 16.3 acres of land (source: BTN Research). 


  1. ARE YOU BETTER ON YOUR OWN? - The average American worker who retires next year (in 2020) will have paid $135,000 in Social Security taxes during his/her working lifetime, less than the $193,000 in Social Security retirement benefits that he/she is projected to receive (source: Urban Institute). 


  1. NEW LAW - The House passed 417-3 the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019” (aka the SECURE Act) on Thursday 5/23/19, legislation that contains multiple provisions to help workers save for retirement.  E.g., the bill increases the required minimum distribution age from 70 ½ to 72.  The Senate is considering similar but different legislation, a situation that would require a “conference committee” of House and Senate members to reconcile differences between the chambers’ final bills (source: Congress).  


Have a great week!

Michael J. Levine, CLU, ChFC

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