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March 6, 2017

It has been just 6 weeks since Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the # 45 President of the United States.  Stock investors, buoyed by Washington talk of lower corporate taxes and a cutback of regulatory speed bumps, have pushed equities upward for each of those 6 weeks.  The bull market for the S&P 500 reaches a milestone this Thursday (3/09/17), attaining 8-years in duration.  The index has gained a remarkable +317% (total return) over its bull market run.  That’s equal to an average gain of +19.5% per year or almost double the +10.2% annual gain that the index has achieved over the last 50 years, i.e., 1967-2016 (source: BTN Research).

President Trump received high marks for his Tuesday 2/28/17 prime-time address to a joint session of Congress.  His bipartisan tone was welcomed news for a country that has been frustrated for some time in a Congress and a White House that stopped working together.  President Trump outlined a legislative agenda that contained an extensive infrastructure program, reform of the country’s health care system, and immigration reform that could include a path for undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes to achieve legal status.  The “elephant” in the room that was not discussed: how the United States is going to pay for the president’s new spending ideas (source: BTN Research).

Congress faces 2 looming deadlines: a 3/15/17 date to raise the nation’s “debt ceiling,” and a 4/28/17 date to finally pass fiscal year 2017 spending plans, an odd requirement considering that the current fiscal year is already 5 months old (source: Congress).


Notable Numbers

DOWN JUST A FEW DAYS – The S&P 500 was up +5.9% YTD (total return) through Tuesday 2/28/17.  The stock index had just 4 down trading days in February 2017, the fewest number of down days for the S&P 500 in any single month since May 1990 or nearly 27 years ago (source: BTN Research).

A VERY LONG TIME – The USA has kept records on economic expansions and contractions since 1854.  The current expansion, which began in July 2009, is in its 93rd month.  It is the 3rd longest expansion in history, trailing only expansions that ran from 1991-2001 and from 1961-69 (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).

JUST WHAT YOU THOUGHT – 69% of 2,088 adults surveyed in December 2016 believe their “financial life” is “what they expected” or “better than expected,” i.e., 31% of adults believe the quality of their “financial life” is worse than what they had expected (source: National Endowment for Financial Education).

HELP – 118,463 Americans are listed on the national transplant waiting list.  22 Americans die each day before receiving the life-saving transplant that they require (source: Department of HHS).

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