Five noteworthy figures from the previous week
The improvement in retail sales in March.
This was the first gain in four months, and it beat the 0.4% rise projected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Car and truck sales were up 2.0% last month, and consumer purchases at health and personal-care retailers advanced 1.4%, the best monthly showing since 2016.
Source: Bloomberg (1)
The length (in months) of the current U.S. economic expansion.
This stretch of economic growth is now tied for second on the list of expansions since the end of the Great Depression. The last 106-month period without an economic contraction occurred from 1961-69. At 120 months, the 1991-2001 expansion remains first.
Source: Washington Post (2)
What Wells Fargo just agreed to pay in fines to federal regulators.
The banking giant reached a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Friday, and it will pay the largest penalty so far levied by the CFPB as a result. The fine reflects the discovery that some Wells Fargo customers unknowingly paid for auto insurance coverage, while in the CFPB’s view, others “inappropriately” paid for extensions on mortgage rate lock-ins. Wells Fargo announced that it would refund these consumers last year.
Source: USA Today (3)
The percentage of investors who described their outlook as “bullish” last week.
This represents an 8-week peak for the AAII Sentiment Survey (conducted weekly on behalf of the American Association of Individual Investors). A week earlier, only 26.1% of those polled said that they held a bullish outlook, which AAII defines as believing stock prices will be higher six months in the future.
Source: MarketWatch (4)
How much the typical 65-year-old couple may pay for health care in retirement.
Each year, Fidelity Investments estimates future health care costs for new retirees. In its latest annual analysis, Fidelity assumes that one spouse or partner lives to age 87; the other, to age 89. The projected expense increased just 2% for 2018, marking the smallest year-over-year increase since 2014.
Source: CNNMoney (5)
1 – www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-16/u-s-retail-sales-rebound-in-sign-consumer-weakness-transitory [4/16/18]
2 – washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/04/18/the-u-s-is-on-track-for-the-longest-expansion-ever-but-its-coming-at-a-cost/ [4/18/18]
3 – tinyurl.com/y9kcecs4 [4/20/18]
4 – marketwatch.com/story/stock-optimism-hits-two-month-high-as-markets-recover-2018-04-19 [4/19/18]
5 – money.cnn.com/2018/04/19/retirement/health-care-retirement/index.html [4/19/18]
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