Instead of boring you to death with words, in this article I will try to enlighten you with a few carefully selected graphics. So let’s get to it.
Expecting April Showers?
The S&P 500 soared 10.6% in the first quarter. After such a rip-roaring start to the year, we absolutely, positively must be overdue for a pullback. Right? Not so much. At least, not according to 100 years' worth of stock market data.
April actually ranks as the best month for stocks. As Bespoke Investment Group writes, "Over the last 100 years, the Dow has averaged a gain of 1.29% in April with positive returns 57% of the time. Over the last 50 years, the Dow has averaged a gain of 2.21% in April with positive returns 64% of the time. Finally, over the last 20 years, the Dow has averaged an April gain of 2.71%," with positive gains 70% of the time.
So don't whip out the umbrellas just yet.
Get Your Cheap Real Estate Here
In yesterday's column, I kindly pointed out to one reader that he has his real estate stats all mixed up. We're nowhere near another bubble in prices. That's not to say real estate everywhere is a "buy." Even the village idiot knows real estate is local, meaning that conditions can vary greatly between various states and cities. So where can the best bargains be found? Survey says: Dallas.
Based on the median home price to median income ratio, the home of Mark Cuban's Mavericks tops ZipRealty's list of the 10 most affordable housing markets. It's no surprise the epicenter of wealth nowadays -- Washington, D.C. -- boasts the least affordable real estate. In our nation's capital, the median home price to median income ratio checks in at a staggering 16.78.
Don't Bank on a Recession (Part 2)
Last week, I calmed your fears about another recession in the United States. This week, I'm confronting any fears you might have about a worldwide slowdown. Guess what? They're completely unfounded, too.
Case in point: The latest global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) -- which measures the health of the manufacturing sector -- inched up to 51.2 from 50.9 in February. If you're not an economist, fear not. David Hensley over at JPMorgan was kind enough to put the reading into layman's terms. He says the current levels are "consistent with moderate, stable growth in global production." In other words, the global economy is growing, not contracting. Whether or not the growth is the result of a massive, coordinated, unprecedented and, ultimately, doomed policy of non-stop money printing on the part of the world's central banks remains a debate for another day.