AP News

Ahead of the Bell: Net Worth


WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve report due Thursday will provide a glimpse of the state of Americans' financial health this past spring.

The quarterly report for the April-June period will measure household wealth, corporate cash and consumer debt. The Fed will issue the report at 12 noon EDT.

Household wealth, or "net worth," reflects the value of assets like homes, bank accounts and stocks, minus debts like mortgages and credit cards.

Stock prices sank last quarter on fears about Europe's debt crisis and a weaker U.S. economy. The decline eroded gains in household wealth during the January-March quarter. But stocks have been on a tear since the April-June quarter ended.

Some households have also benefited modestly from rising home prices, which are showing consistent gains for the first time since the housing bubble burst.

In the January-March period, household net worth rose 4.7 percent to $63 trillion. The main factor was a 12 percent jump in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which padded the wealth of Americans who own stocks. And home values increased 2.3 percent.

Household net worth bottomed during the Great Recession at roughly $49 trillion in the first quarter of 2009.


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