Wednesday’s Quick Stats

2012 August 21
by SJ Leeds

Here are some interesting stats that I came across today…

1. Bank deposits rose 3.33% (to $8.8 trillion) in the two months ending July 31.  Business lending rose only .7% to $7.11 trillion.  The gap represents the idea that banks are taking in deposits and buying bonds.  Banks own $1.84 trillion of Treasuries and agencies.


2. The $1.75 trillion gap (as of Aug. 8) is 17X the $100 billion average gap in the decade before the credit markets seized up.  The gap is growing at the fastest rate in two years.


3. The Fed owns $1.66 trillion of Treasuries and China owns $1.16 trillion.


4. The five biggest Wall Street banks (JPM, BAC, C, GS, MS) had combined revenue of $161 billion, down 4.5% from 2011.  It’s the lowest since the $135 billion in 2008.  They attribute this to low interest rates, decreased trading and less M&A.


5. The yield on top-rated 10-year benchmark municipals was 1.861 percent on Aug. 20.  That’s 15% lower than a year ago.


6. Moody’s identified 71 municipal defaults between 1970 and 2011.  The Fed counted 2,521.  (Just a slight difference.)  The Fed includes defaults on unrated debt and industrial development bonds (which governments issue on behalf of private companies).


7. The muni market is $3.7 trillion.


8. According to a Bloomberg survey, 45% of households think the economy is headed in the wrong direction.  This is up from 36% in July.  It’s the highest number since November.


9. Federal spending is 24% of GDP and tax revenue is 15%.  Normally, revenue is 18% and spending is closer to 21%.  But, we have high unemployment and more safety net programs.


10. The CBO projects a $1.2 trillion deficit in 2012.  Between 2013 and 2022, the CBO projects a $10.7 trillion deficit.  Publicly held debt is expected to reach 93% of GDP by 2022.


11. Gas futures are up 19% in the past two months.  Retail gas prices are up 7.2% over the same period.  Retail prices lag futures prices by several weeks.


12. Gas futures are near three month highs ($3.03 / gallon).  Retail prices average $3.72 / gallon (an August record).


13. The number of Americans who were self-employed was up 414K to 22.1 million in 2010.  That was 14.4% of the civilian labor force – up 2% from 2002.


14. Self-employed people earned $43K in 2010.  This is $3,700 less than 2006.  In addition, the self-employed often are not contributing to retirement accounts and they may not have health insurance.


15. Vice President Joe Biden said this week while touring Virginia, “I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security.”  The scary thing is that this wasn’t even the dumbest thing he said in the past week.


16. Senate Majority Leader Reid said that he was willing to take a look at Social Security reforms “two decades from now” (when he will be approaching 92 years old).


17. Conservative-leaning groups dominated the top 15 Super PACs (which can take in an unlimited amount of cash from individuals and corporations).  The outraised liberal groups by a three-to-one margin.


18. Restore Our Future (which supports Gov. Romney) has raised $81.2 million.  This is almost four times the amount raised by Priorities USA (which supports President Obama).


19. Individually, President Obama has raised more than $300 million and Gov. Romney has raised $154 million.  Gov. Romney has been raising more than President Obama in recent months.


20. Spending on all federal races this year (President and Congress) is expected to reach $6 billion.  This is nearly 20% higher than four years ago.  Approximately $1 billion will come from the Super PACs.


21. The US military has reached 2,000 deaths in Afghanistan.  It took nine years to reach 1,000.  The second thousand came in 27 months.  Nine out of ten were enlisted.  The average age was 26 and the Marines were a disproportionate amount of the casualties.

22. Here’s a bold prediction…Nomura strategist Bob Janjuah says the S&P 500 is likely to fall 20 – 25% over the next three months.  He thinks this will be bullish for Treasuries.


23. John Bogle (Vanguard’s founder) thinks stocks will return 7% (per year) for the next ten years.  That’s based on earnings growth of 5% and dividend yield of 2% (and no change in multiple).


24. Goldman Sachs says that only 11% of hedge funds beat the S&P 500 through August 3rd.  Of course, we don’t know the level of risk that they incurred (you can’t just compare returns).


25. Nike is about to release the $315 LeBron James shoe.  (It’s good for leaving your home state where everyone loves you.)  It has motion sensors that measure how high you jump.  For all of you who are around my age, here’s a point of reference: the Converse Chuck Taylor model will set you back $50.  If that’s too steep for you, you’ll get the same effect by taping two pieces of cardboard to your feet.


Have a great week.

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