Category: ECONOMY

Report: 70% of Americans say they are struggling financially

Many Americans remain in precarious financial shape even as the economy continues to grow, with 7 of 10 saying they struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability, such as paying bills or saving money.

The findings come from a survey of more than 5,400 Americans from the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit financial services consultancy. The project, which started a year ago, is aimed at assessing people’s financial health by asking about debt, savings, bills and wages, among other issues.

Despite solid U.S. economic growth this year, the share of Americans who are struggling financially remains statistically unchanged from a year ago, said Rob Levy, vice president of research and measurement with Financial Health Network.

The study adds to a body of research indicating that millions of American families have trouble making ends meet even a decade after the Great Recession and as unemployment has sunk to its lowest level in decades.

For instance, centrist think tank the Urban Institute has found that 4 in 10 Americans struggle to pay for basic needs such as groceries or housing. And a Zillow report released Thursday found that roughly a quarter of renters say that affording their payments is difficult or very difficult.

Not only the poor face financial pressure, the new study suggests. Almost 20% of people earning between $30,000 and $100,000 said they spent more than they earned — an increase of more than 4 percentage points from last year.

“That suggests there is a real squeeze being put on the middle class,” Levy said. “Income is not keeping pace with expenses.”

CONTINUE @ CBS

468%: Stocks 10-year run becomes best bull market ever…

The longest bull market in history is also the best ever.

The current market boom, which started March 9, 2009, has enjoyed a whopping 468% gain for the S&P 500 through the first day of November, making this record-long bull run also the best-performing one since World War II, according to The Leuthold Group. The S&P 500, which eked out a record closing high Thursday, has soared 472% in this epic run.

The bull market from 1949 to 1956 scored a 454% gain for the S&P 500, the second-biggest return in recent history, the firm said. The explosive bull run in the 1990s saw the S&P 500 rally 391%, while the bull market of 2002–2007 pulled off a 121% gain for the benchmark, according to The Leuthold Group.

More than 10 years off the financial crisis bottom, the market still hasn’t lost its momentum as it currently sits at its all-time high lifted by renewed hopes for a U.S.-China trade resolution. The S&P 500 tumbled to its financial crisis intraday low of 666 hit in March 2009 and roared back to around 3,094 on Wednesday.

“The most outstanding feature of this cycle since 2008 is always going to be fear,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, told CNBC. “I’ve referred to this cycle to some degree as a bearish bull market. It keeps the market from getting so far over its skis that it has to have a bear market.”

CONTINUE @ CNBC

Fiat Chrysler Is Trying To Stuff Dealer Channels With Over 40,000 Cars

As the global automobile market continues down the path of recession, it isn’t just tensions with consumers that are rising.

Fiat Chrysler is apparently at odds with many of its U.S. dealers after trying to get them to accept inventory of about 40,000 vehicles that they didn’t order, according to Bloomberg.

Four dealers came forward and said that the company has revived a “sales bank”, which is a decade old practice that is frowned upon by investors and analysts because it can muddy the waters of an automaker’s inventory figures. Dealers dislike it because it creates pressure to take delivery of vehicles they don’t want.

Chrysler had used sales banks in the two times it needed eventual rescues from the U.S. government – in 1980 and 2009.