Ten Quick Stats
Here are a few stats that I came across. Some of them “came across me” as many of you sent me articles. I’m figuring that several of you decided to do my work for me after I made you feel bad (in yesterday’s blog) when I said that I had to get back to work.
1. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway terminated credit default swaps where he was insuring $8.25 billion of municipal debt. Even though municipal yields are low, the cost of insuring states from default is much higher than in 2007.
2. Apple is now the most valuable company of all time – with a market cap of $623.45 billion. Microsoft was worth $616.3 billion in 1999 (and still holds the record in real terms). MSFT now has a market cap of $257.7 billion.
3. The ECB denied rumors that they were going to set a cap on government bond yields in Spain, Italy and other countries. The ECB started buying bonds of Greece, Ireland and Portugal in May 2010. But, they have stayed out of the government bond market for 23 consecutive weeks.
4. The rumor was that spreads between these bonds and German bunds would be capped. Germany fears that investors would sell German bunds in order to push the weaker countries’ yields to the appropriate level.
5. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 9.7% since early June. Daily trading volumes are 6.8 billion shares per day, down from 7.8 billion in 2011. Nearly $70 billion has been withdrawn from long-term U.S. stock mutual funds.
6. California farmers are saying that there is a scarcity of labor. They say that there is a 20% drop in laborers this year. Obviously, this is raising the price of labor.
7. A study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy (using IRS data) showed that households earning between $50K and $75K give an average of 7.6% of their discretionary income to charity. People who make $100K or more give 4.2%. Red states give more than blue states (religious areas give more than non-religious).
8. A recent survey showed that 45.8% of the nation’s doctors already suffer a symptom of burnout. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are using this statistic to argue that it will only get worse (when the number of patients grows and the number of doctors is static). I didn’t see how this number has changed over time or what the burnout rate is for other professions.
9. Peter Schiff wrote a piece arguing that Rep. Ryan’s proposed budget is not outrageous or drastic. In fact, Schiff says that Rep. Ryan’s budget wouldn’t balance the budget for 27 years. He also says that there are some very aggressive assumptions built into the forecast including an unemployment rate of 4% by 2015 and 2.8% by 2021! (I haven’t reviewed Rep. Ryan’s budget or Schiff’s numbers. But, I’ve read this in other places and the bottom line is that this is a reflection of the situation we’re in – the demographics and the unfunded liabilities. It’s very unlikely that anyone is going to balance our budget without some really painful changes in the coming years or some really aggressive assumptions.)
10. Peter Thiel, a Facebook director, sold more than 20 million shares of FB last Thursday and Friday. (I’ve done similar transactions when Jenny and I have needed $400 million for the weekend.) He had previously sold 16 million shares at $38 in the IPO. He still owns 7 million shares.
Have a great week.
If you enjoy this blog, please forward it to others who may be interested.
If you want to receive these emails, here’s how:
1. click on this link (or type www.leedsonfinance.com into your browser)
2. toward the top right corner is a place to click on for email service — click and enter your email address
3. you will receive an email which will require you to click on a link to confirm that you want to be on the list
IMPORTANT: if you don’t receive the email in step 3 or you don’t click on the link, you won’t be on the list. Sometimes, people who use corporate emails get blocked (it’s probably 50% of the time). So if you don’t get the email, you know you need to use a personal email.