1. HOT AND COLD – The best performing individual stock in the S&P 500 index during the first 5 months of 2018 (i.e., January-May) gained +83%. The worst performing individual stock in the S&P 500 during the first 5 months of 2018 lost 44%. 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. NO NEW RECORD – The S&P 500 last achieved an all-time closing high on 1/26/18 or 87 trading days ago. That’s the longest stretch without a new closing high for the index since it went 286 trading days with no record closes between 5/21/15 and 7/11/16 (source: BTN Research).
  3. 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 63 years that the magazine has published the rankings (source: Fortune).
  4. LOOKING, NOT FINDING – 7 out of 8 small businesses (88%) in the United States reported in early May 2018 that they were having “difficulties finding qualified candidates” for job openings (source: National Federation of Independent Businesses).
  5. DOUBLED – The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at 2.83% on 5/31/18, up 0.42 percentage points since 12/31/17 and more than double the 1.36% record low yield achieved on 7/08/16 (source: Treasury Department).
  6. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – On 11/30/16 with the price of oil at $49.44 a barrel, the 14-members of OPEC agreed to slash production by 1.2 million barrels a day, along with additional cuts of 600,000 barrels a day from non-OPEC member countries (including Russia) – a combined reduction of 1.8 million barrels of oil a day. OPEC and Russian oil officials will discuss adding back 1 million barrels a day of production when they meet on 6/22/18. The price of oil closed at $65.81 a barrel on Friday 6/01/18 (source: BTN Research).'
  7. WOULD IT WORK IN SEATTLE? – California is the first state in the nation to require solar panels with new home construction beginning in the year 2020. A 5/09/18 vote by the California Energy Commission will add an estimated $9,500 to the cost of a new home. Solar power generated just 1.3% of electricity in the United States in 2017 (source: U.S. Energy Information Administration).
  8. STRONG BANKS – No US banks failed during the first 5 months of 2018 (January-May), the first time that has occurred since 2006. Ultimately, there were no bank failures in 2006, the last calendar year when that happened. Since 2007, 531 banks have failed, an average of 48 per year over the last 11 years (source: FDIC).
  9. THEY REALLY OWE NOTHING – An estimated 45% of the 176.1 million tax returns projected to be filed next year for tax year 2018 will legally pay zero federal income tax (source: Tax Policy Center).
  10. ONE TO THREE – The White House released a 10-year budget forecast on 2/12/18 predicting a $363 billion deficit for fiscal year 2028. The Congressional Budget Office released on 5/24/18 an analysis of the White House budget forecast that recast the fiscal year 2028 deficit to $1.087 trillion. Thus, the Trump White House is predicting a $1 billion deficit per day in 2028 while the CBO forecasts a $3 billion deficit per day (source: CBO).
  11. JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER TRAVEL – The Euro was worth $1.1685 as of 5/31/18, down from $1.2012 as of 12/31/17, i.e., Euro down and US dollar up. A stronger greenback means Americans will pay less to travel in Europethis summer (source: BTN Research).
  12. RAPID GROWTH – China’s economy has grown tenfold since 2001, rising from $1.3 trillion (stated in terms of US dollars) to $13 trillion today (source: China NBS Data).
  13. BABIES – Germany’s fertility rate in 2016, i.e., the average number of births per woman, reached its highest level since 1973. The increase in births is attributed in part to the country’s “parental benefit” that pays each parent of a newborn 65% of their salary for 7 months from a job that remains open for their return to work (source: Eurostat).
  14. WAIT OR TAKE EARLY? – 21% of retirees currently receiving monthly Social Security retirement benefits did not begin taking that monthly benefit until at least age 66. 45% of retirees began taking their Social Security retirement benefit at age 62 (source: Employee Benefit Research Institute).
  15. MUSCLE CAR – The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 pace car used in the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 that was held on Sunday 5/27/18 had 755 horsepower (source: Indianapolis 500).

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.