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Clearly, Not Everyone Is Getting Rich Off The Stock Market

Well, the NY Fed was out today with its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for Q4 2017. Clearly, Americans are in a lot of debt. Take a look.

Just a couple of quick hits from the report. Total U.S. household debt rose $193 billion in the 4th quarter, to a new all-time peak of $13.15 trillion. That's 17.9% above the most recent trough in Q2 2013. Broken down by segment, what do you suppose was the largest gain in percentage terms? Credit cards, with a 3.2% increase. In the picture above, the widening gap represented by the red arrows reflects the fact that non-housing debt is rising at a faster pace than housing debt.

Here's what's troubling about that. Below is a picture of the stock market, as represented by the S&P 500 index, over that same period; from the most recent credit trough in Q2 2013 to the end of 2017.

And thus, the title of this article. Over that period, the S&P 500 index rose by 75%; from roughly 1,600 to 2,800. Apparently, however, the r…

Added A Little General Electric To The ETF Monkey Core Monthly Dividend Portfolio

In February, 2017, I wrote an article for Seeking Alpha entitled A Dividend Portfolio Built From The World's Best Dividend ETFs. I later expanded on the work I did in a second article, entitled 20 Top Stocks For A Monthly Dividend Portfolio. In this article, I expanded the original portfolio of 12 stocks to 20, with the specific goal of adding companies that, together, generated at least some level of income for the portfolio each and every month.

At the end of that second article, I revealed that I had "put my money where my mouth is," selling all my holdings in 4 dividend-focused ETFs and replacing them with the 20 stocks listed in the article, as well as two "bonus" stocks. I implemented all of this on July 20, 2017.

This morning, I added a few additional shares of General Electric (GE) to the portfolio.

My original position was purchased at $26.77 per share. Since that time, the share price has continued to decline, allowing me to pick up a small additional amount for $25.28 this morning. This price is basically right at GE's 52-week low.

One small factor that added to my confidence was a report released yesterday featuring the fact that new CEO John Flannery bought $2.7 million in GE stock this week.

Certainly, GE has underperformed the market for some time. In 2015, GE moved aggressively to divest themselves of GE Capital. This subsidiary had comprised a significant piece of GE's overall earnings for many years. At the same time, it had proven extremely volatile. With the move, GE is now refocused on the core industrial business that made them the stuff of legends.

Given the roughly 5.6% price decline since my original purchase, I decided to add a little more to what I hope to be a very long-term holding. Finally, with an annual dividend of $ .96, GE shares will pay me a 3.8% dividend while I wait for capital appreciation from the current share price.


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