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October 12, 2016

Hurricane Matthew, expected to be the strongest Caribbean storm is almost a decade, made US landfall Thursday night (10/06/16) and then moved slowly up the East Coast.  10 inches of rain and a 9-foot storm surge created record breaking flooding in 4 states.  Although the American death toll (at least 18) and initial damage estimates ($6 billion) were less than originally projected, the loss of life and property damage in Haiti was overwhelming.  The late season tropical storm was not anticipated to dramatically impact the infrastructure of the US oil industry, but the price of a barrel of crude did close above $50 last week for the first time since 6/23/16 (source: CoreLogic).

The government reported late last week that our nation’s unemployment rate at the end of September 2016 was 5.0%, that employers hired a net +156,000 new workers last month and that 7.939 million Americans are still jobless.  Exactly 1 year ago, the government reported that our nation’s unemployment rate at the end of September 2015 was 5.1%, that employers had hired a net +149,000 new workers and that 7.925 million Americans were jobless (source: Department of Labor).

The Treasury Department is scheduled to borrow $194 billion this week in short-term bills, intermediate-length notes and long-term bonds, the government’s largest weekly borrowing so far in 2016.  The national debt of the United States hit $19.7 trillion last week, an all-time record amount (source: Treasury Department).

Notable Numbers

WHEN THE FED TALKS – The daily market gain of the S&P 500 on the 54 “Fed decision days” since 1/01/10 (+0.2554%) is more than 5 times the size of the daily market gain of the index since 1/01/10 (+0.0471%).  This total return calculation covers trading of the stock index from 1/01/10 through Friday 10/07/16.  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).

FOREIGN-BORN – 16% of the American labor force was born outside of the United States (source: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine).

THE SAMEOne political party has controlled the White House, the Senate and the House in 20 of the last 60 years, i.e., 1957-2016.  E.g., Democrats controlled the White House (Obama), the Senate (58-40-2) and the House (257-178) in 2010, the last year that 1 party controlled all 3 entities (source: BTN Research).

GETTING BETTER WITH AGE – Just 56.5% of Americans at least age 18 voted in the 2012 presidential election.  For Americans aged 18-24, just 38.0% of them voted in the last presidential election.  For older Americans who were at least age 65, 69.7% voted 4 years ago (source: Census Bureau).

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