1. TIES THE RECORD – The S&P 500 gained +5.7% (total return) in January 2018, the index’s 15th consecutive “up” month. A 15-month streak has been achieved only one other time in the all-time history of the S&P 500, a record originally set between March 1958 and May 1959. 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. UPS AND DOWNS – The S&P 500 has gained +10.1% per year (total return) over the last 50 years (1968-2017) despite suffering through 7 bear markets of at least a 20% decline each time (source: BTN Research).
  3. BIG MONTH – 75% of the individual stocks in the S&P 500 were up in January 2018, including 17% of the index (85 stocks) that were up at least +10% and 2% (8 stocks) that gained at least +20% (source: BTN Research).
  4. QUITE A PERFORMANCE – During the 4 years that Janet Yellen served as Fed Chair (i.e., 2/03/14 to 2/02/18), the S&P 500 gained +72.4% on a total return basis (an average of +14.6% per year) and achieved 156 record closing highs or 1 every 6.5 trading days (source: BTN Research).
  5. REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS – If you turned age 70 ½ sometime in 2017, then you must begin taking annual withdrawals from your IRA accounts no later than 4/01/18. If you delay your 1st withdrawal until 4/01/18, you must also take a 2nd distribution by 12/31/18 (source: Internal Revenue Service).
  6. ROLL TIDE – States routinely provide tax breaks to lure companies to build new facilities within their borders. The top 7 companies (based upon the size of the incentives) that have received economic subsidies from the state of Alabama are all foreign-based businesses with headquarters in China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, France and Luxembourg. 3 of the 7 companies are in the automobile industry (source: The Brookings Institution).
  7. REFUGEES – The United States admitted 53,716 refugees into the country during fiscal year 2017 (i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/17), down from 84,994 refugees in fiscal year 2016. The top 3 countries from where the refugees originated last year are The Democratic Republic of the Congo (9,377), Iraq (6,886) and Syria (6,557) (source: Refugee Processing Center).
  8. LESS THAN THREE – If the 1/26/18 estimate of +2.3% growth in the size of the US economy for 2017 is not revised upward to at least +3%, it will be our 12th consecutive year of “sub +3%” growth, i.e., 2006-2017. The next longest streak of “sub +3%” growth was the 4 years from 1930-1933 (source: Commerce Department).
  9. WILL END SOMEDAY – If the expansion of the US economy (i.e., no recession), now in its 104th month, continues into May 2018, it will rank as the 2nd longest expansionary period for the country in our history. Contraction and expansions for the United States have been tracked since 1854, i.e., the last 163 years (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).
  10. BIGGEST GROUP – As of the end of 2017, there are more Millennials (83 million) in the United States than there are Baby Boomers (75 million). Millennials were born between 1981-97 and were age 20-36 in 2017, while the Baby Boomers were born between 1946-64 and were age 53-71 in 2017 (source: Census Bureau).
  11. HOUSEHOLD SPLIT – The 110.9 million households in the United States on 12/31/07 were split between 75.2 million owners and 35.7 million renters. The 120.2 million households in the United States on 12/31/17 were split between 77.2 million owners and 43.0 million renters (source: Census Bureau).
  12. BOTTOMED OUT? – At the end of 2004, the percentage of American households made up of homeowners (instead of renters) rose to 69.2% from 68.3% at the end of 2003. Since 12/31/04, the homeownership rate had fallen for 12 consecutive years, bottoming at 63.7% as of 12/31/16. That streak was broken in 2017 when the homeownership rate rose to 64.2% as of 12/31/17 (source: Census Bureau).
  13. SELLERS’ MARKET – The 1.48 million existing homes that were on the market for resale as of December 2017 is down 10% in the last year, down 19% in the last 5 years, and down 63% in the last 10 years (source: NAR).
  14. TWO-TO-ONE ADVANTAGE – There are 33 Republican governors today, 16 Democratic governors and just a single Independent governor (Bill Walker of Alaska) (source: source: Stateside).
  15. SUPER BET – Prior to the 2/04/18 Super Bowl # 52, the underdog in the big game had won just 16 of 51 games but had won 6 of the last 10 games. The Philadelphia Eagles were 4-point underdogs in yesterday’s football game vs. the New England Patriots (source: BTN Research).

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: The information contained in this material has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. Any mention of particular stocks or companies does not constitute and should not be considered an investment recommendation. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Any forward-looking statements presented in this material are inherently uncertain and cannot be relied upon as statements of actual performance.

Reproduction Prohibited without Express Permission – Copyright © 2018 Michael A. Higley. All rights reserved.