Lars Larson

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Lars Larson

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The end of the financial crisis is now 5-years in the rearview mirror as we celebrated the market bottom on the S&P 500 of 666 yesterday.  The S&P 500 closed at 1878 on Friday. (Fox Business News)

China says their exports plunged 18% last month while imports climbed 10%. That is worse than expected and sent the Chinese stock markets to 5-year lows. (CNBC)

In a sign that company’s maybe coming to the end of their ability to make the manufacturing process more efficient, productivity gains for 2013 were just 0.5% their lowest gains since 1993.  This may mean companies will have to expand factories and add jobs as the economy and demand grows. (Wall Street Journal)

US household net worth rose by almost $3 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2013 to a record $80.7 trillion.  That is an almost 4% gain from the previous quarter.  More jobs, rebounding home prices and a climbing stock market all contributed to the gain. (Bloomberg)

Borrowing money to buy stocks, known as margin debt, posted its seventh consecutive monthly record high in January, climbing to $452 billion.  Margin debt has more than doubled since the start of 2000.  Some think this is a bearish sign for the markets. (Reuters)

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