Thanks to rising home prices, the wealth of U.S. households rose 1 percent in the first quarter of 2016, to $88.1 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. The hike comes even as stock and mutual fund portfolios shrank $160 billion, but home values rose $498 billion, Fox News is reporting. The Federal Reserve report takes into account home values, stocks and other assets minus mortgages, credit card debt and other borrowing. The report shows that the increase in wealth is more widespread than it has been in recent years. After the Great Recession, stocks began rebounding in 2009, but the wealthiest one-tenth of Americans own 80 percent of shares. Home ownership, however, is the primary source of middle-class wealth. In addition, greater household wealth should boost consumer spending and the economy. Americans tend to spend more when they feel wealthier.
Janus Jumps on Thematic Investing Bandwagon
Janus Capital Group launched four ETFs Thursday that invest in companies that may benefit from demographic and consumer shifts. The Long-Term Care ETF (Nasdaq: OLD) invests in companies that own or operate senior living facilities, specialty hospitals, providing nursing services and biotech companies for age-related illnesses. The Health and Fitness ETF (Nasdaq: FITS) looks for companies in nutrition, sports apparel and fitness technology and equipment as well as those in the health club sector. The Organics ETF (Nasdaq: ORG) seeks companies that service, produce, distribute, market or sell organic food, beverages, cosmetics, supplements or packaging. The Obesity ETF (Nasdaq: SLIM) invests in companies that provide treatment and care for obesity and obesity-related disease. "Changes in demographics and lifestyle are altering the investment landscape," said Nick Cherney, senior vice president and head of exchange traded products for Janus, in a statement.
Bloomberg Warns Against Nepotism
Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently had some interesting advice for small business owners: don’t hire family. According to The Daily Mail, while speaking at the graduation ceremony for the 20th class of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Business program on Tuesday, Bloomberg said, “I will not let my daughters work for my company.” He added, “Don’t hire your relative, don’t hire your friend, unless you absolutely have to because you can’t treat those people fairly.” What sort of person should small businesses hire? Don’t worry, Bloomberg says: “Somebody, no matter how bad things are, looks on the bright side, takes the bull by the horns, puts in the sweat capital, and that’s where the results are.”