1. TOUGH OCTOBER – The S&P 500 lost 6.8% in October 2018 (total return), its worst month in more than 7 years (since a September 2011 loss of 7.0%) and its worst October since the index fell 16.8% in October 2008 at the beginning of the global real estate crisis. 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. SIMILAR ATTITUDE – As October 2018 began, the S&P 500 was up +10.6% YTD (total return) and 31.1% of investors were “bearish” on stocks for the upcoming 6 months. As October 2018 ended, the S&P 500 was up +3.0% YTD (total return) and 34.5% of investors were “bearish” on stocks for the upcoming 6 months (source: American Association of Individual Investors).
  3. ALMOST – At its 2641 close on Monday 10/29/18, the S&P 500 was down 9.9% from its 9/20/18 all-time closing high of 2931. The drop was just short of the index’s 6th “10% or more” correction during its current 9 ½ year bull run. The 5 previous “corrections” occurred in July 2010 (down 16.0%), October 2011 (down 19.4%), August 2015 (down 12.4%), February 2016 (down 13.3%) and February 2018 (down 10.2%) (source: BTN Research).
  4. BEAR – Before the current S&P 500 bull market, the next most recent bull ran 5 years from 10/09/02 to 10/09/07. From its 10/09/07 peak, the index did not drop 20% until 7/09/08 or 9 months later (source: BTN Research).
  5. WORTH TWICE AS MUCH – 2 stocks within the S&P 500 doubled in value in 2014, then 2 different stocks doubled in 2015, then 2 more different stocks doubled in 2016 and then 3 more different stocks doubled in 2017, i.e., stock price change of at least +100% not counting the impact of dividends. No individual stock within the index has doubled YTD through 10/31/18 (source: BTN Research).
  6. LONG TIME WITHOUT WORK – 22.5% of unemployed Americans have been out-of-work for at least 27 weeks as of 10/31/18, i.e., jobless for more than 6 months. 42.6% of unemployed Americans had been out-of-work for at least 27 weeks as of 10/31/11 or 7 years ago (source: Department of Labor).
  7. OWNERS AND RENTERS – The 111.7 million households that existed in the United States on 9/30/08 were split 68/32 between 75.9 million owners and 35.8 million renters. The 121.4 million households in the United States on 9/30/18 were split 64/36 between 78.1 million owners and 43.3 million renters (source: Census Bureau).
  8. SHIFTING THE RISK – Between 1975 and 2014, the number of defined benefit pension plans in the private sector fell by 57% while the number of defined contribution plans increased by +208% (source: DOL).
  9. NOT A PENNY – 39% of Millennials have accumulated no funds for their eventual retirement. Millennials were born between 1981-97 and are age 21-37 in 2018 (source: Personal Capital).
  10. PAID LEAVE – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has proposed legislation that would allow parents of a newborn to take 2 months off from work while collecting Social Security benefits in exchange for delaying their eventual Social Security retirement benefits by 6 months (source: Congress).
  11. WAITING FOR THE RIGHT MATE – For Americans who got married in 2017 for the first time, the median age for men was 29.5 years old and the median age for women was 27.4 years old (source: Census Bureau).
  12. MID-TERMS – Democrats lost 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats in the November 2010 elections, i.e., 2 years into the Obama administration’s first term in the White House (source: Congress).
  13. QUALIFYING FOR MEDICAID – Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010, 32 states have expanded their Medicaid programs, i.e., they have raised the “upper-income threshold” for Medicaid eligibility. Americans in 4 additional states (Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Utah) will vote on 11/06/18 to determine if their states will also expand Medicaid coverage (source: Medicaid).
  14. CLOSING SHOP – The University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management will close its full-time MBA program in May 2019 after 57 years of operation. At its peak, Iowa’s full-time MBA program had an annual enrollment of 240 students. The final 2-year class has just 35 students (source: University of Iowa).
  15. RED SOX WIN – The Los Angeles Dodgers blew a 4-0 lead in game # 4 of the World Series as the Boston Red Sox rallied to win the game 9-6. The Dodgers had not blown a “4-run or more” lead and lose a game all season, the only team in MLB this year to have avoided blowing a 4-run lead. Ironically, the Red Sox lost just 1 game this year where they had at least a 4-run lead – its Opening Day loss to Tampa Bay on 3/29/18 (source: MLB).

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.