1. YEAR-TO-DATE – With 2 days remaining in April, the YTD total return of the S&P 500 is a gain of +18.0%, well ahead of the index’s +3.7% average return for the first 4-months over the last 25 years (1994-2018). 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. HIGHEST CLOSE EVER – The S&P 500 achieved an all-time closing high last Friday 4/26/19 when it finished the trading day at 2940, the index’s 209th record close during the ongoing bull market that began on 3/10/09. The S&P 500 was launched on 3/04/57 or 62 years ago. (source: BTN Research)
  3. SINCE CHRISTMAS EVE – The low close in calendar year 2018 for the S&P 500 (2351) took place on 12/24/18. Since then, the index has gained +25.9% (total return) in just over 4 months to close at 2940 as of the close of trading on Friday 4/26/19. (source: BTN Research)
  4. ALMOST HALF – 44% of the individual stocks within the S&P 500 are up at least +20% YTD through last Friday 4/26/19. (source: BTN Research)
  5. IN THE YEAR 2034 – Social Security trustees announced on 4/22/19 that the trust fund backing the payment of Social Security benefits (OASI retirement benefits) would be zero in 2034. A zero “trust fund” does not mean the payment of Social Security benefits would also go to zero, but rather would drop to 77% of their originally promised levels through the year 2095. When the trustees released their report in 2009 (i.e., 10 years ago), the Social Security Trust Fund was projected to be depleted in 2039. (source: Social Security Trustees 2019 Report)
  6. HIGHER HERE THAN THERE – The US economy is projected to grow +2.2% in 2019, nearly a percentage point higher than the +1.3% projected growth rate for the collective economies of the 19-nations that make up the Eurozone. (source: International Monetary Fund)
  7. HALF AS MUCH – Inflation, as measured by the “consumer price index” (CPI) was up +2.2% annually for the last 25 years, (i.e., 1994-2018). Inflation was up +4.3% annually over the 50 years before that, (i.e., 1944-1993). The CPI is a measure of inflation compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Studies. (source: Department of Labor)
  8. TWICE AS LONG – On Wednesday 5/01/19, the USA will begin its 119th month of an economic expansion, (i.e., the nation has been expanding since July 2009). The average length of all 33 expansions in the country since 1854 (not counting the current expansion) is 58 months. (source: National Bureau of Economic Research)
  9. IT TAKES TIME – The last economic expansion in the USA (before the current ongoing expansion) ended in December 2007, (i.e., a recession began in January 2008). The announcement confirming the end of the expansion was made on 12/01/08 or a year after the expansion ended. (source: Business Cycle Dating Committee)
  10. NEW JOB SKILLS NEEDED – Employers in 12 different industries worldwide anticipate that the split between “work performed by humans” vs. “work performed by machines” will shift from 71/29 in 2018 to 58/42 within just 3 years. The 12 industries include automotive, aviation, energy, financial services, infrastructure, oil & gas, and professional services. (source: World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report 2018)
  11. WHAT A SURPRISE – A divorced person who was married for at least 10 years is eligible to collect a Social Security survivor benefit when their ex-spouse dies, even if the ex-spouse had remarried. Please consult a Social Security expert for details. (source: Social Security Administration)
  12. ONE OUT OF FOUR – 24% of the 535 members of Congress today are women, including 25 (out of 100) senators and 102 (out of 435) House members. (source: Congress)
  13. AGAIN – The US government has incurred a $691 billion deficit halfway through fiscal year 2019, (i.e., as of 3/31/19), well on its way to an 18th consecutive year resulting in a budget deficit. (source: Treasury Department)
  14. STUDENT LOANS – Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed on 4/22/19 that households making less than $100,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI) would be able to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt. The ability to eliminate student loan debt would phase out pro-ratably through a household AGI of $250,000, e.g., a household making$130,000 could wipe out $40,000 of student loan debt. (source: ElizabethWarren.com)
  15. NO GUARANTEE – The 6 highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL in 2018 – Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Matt Ryan (Atlanta), Kirk Cousins (Minnesota), Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco), Matthew Stafford (Detroit) and Derek Carr (Oakland) – did not make the post-season playoffs last season. (source: NFL)

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 © 2019 Michael A. Higley. All rights reserved.