Household Wealth Hits Peak
Rebounding home prices and the rising stock market helped boost household wealth by more than $1.3 trillion in the second quarter, according to reports from the Federal Reserve. The gain marked the seventh consecutive quarterly increase and pushed household net worth – the value of homes, stocks and other assets minus liabilities – to $74.8 trillion, an all-time high. According to the Wall Street Journal, households have made back about 80 percent of what they lost during the bust. Despite the growth in net worth, consumers are still reluctant to spend, which is key for economic growth.
Barclays to Shut Wealth Management Services in 130 Countries
Barclays PLC will stop offering wealth management services in about 130 countries by 2016, as reported by Reuters. Barclays employs about 8,000 staff and there is unlikely to be a significant change because some jobs will go to the new less complex structure. Profitability in Barclays wealth business continues to lag its competitors. The division posted a ROE of 2.5 percent for the first half of the year. The new structure will cover 70 markets, which it estimates covers 86 percent of the global wealth market. It will move clients with 100,000 to 500,000 pounds to a Private Clients center that offers a “lighter touch”.
Wal-mart Cuts Orders Due to Excess Inventory
Wal-mart is cutting orders it places with its suppliers this quarter and next to address rising inventory, according to Bloomberg. U.S. inventory growth outstripped sales gains in the second quarter than at the retailer’s competitors. Consumers have been spending less freely and the company has been forfeiting some sales because it doesn’t have enough workers to keep shelves adequately stocked. Wal-mart shares fell 1.5 percent to close at $74.65 on Wednesday.
JP Morgan May Settle for $11 Billion
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a potential settlement with federal regulators may cost JP Morgan $11 billion, after Attorney General Eric Holder rejected the bank’s offer to end all criminal and civil charges for $3 billion. Even if a deal is reached, those familiar with the matter warn that it may not resolve potential criminal charges stemming from the mortgage-backed securities probe. JP Morgan wants any potential settlement to make it clear that the probes are finished and there won’t be any further liability on the mortgage-backed securities probe. JP Morgan was forced to acquire Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual during the crisis and those firms, along with JP Morgan, held many of the securities that collapsed in value during the market crash. An $11 billion payment would be the largest single-company settlement the Justice Department has ever reached.
High School Test Scores Remain Flat
Average scores on the nation’s most widely used college entrance exams remained flat this past year, according to USA Today. The non-profit College Board says just 43 percent of SAT takers in the 2013 class earned a score that indicates they will succeed in the first year of college. That percentage has remained virtually unchanged in the past five years. Last month, an annual report for non-profit ACT found that just 26 percent of 2013 graduates met college readiness benchmarks. That is up from 25 percent a year ago. Reports for both test indicated that low-income and minority students are less likely to be ready for college; however, the percentage of black and Hispanic SAT takers who achieved college readiness scores increased.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.