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The bottom line

Consumers continue to cut debt; February a good month for retailers; Sony closes New Jersey CD plant; Investors celebrate bull market; Wealthy in name, poor in spirit

Consumers continue to cut debt
U.S. households have cut their debt burden to the lowest point in six years. At $13.4 trillion, total consumer debt, including mortgages and credit cards, is equal to 116 percent of disposable income—well off the peak of 130 percent attained in 2007—and is the lowest proportion since the last quarter of 2004.
The Wall Street Journal

February a good month for retailers
American retailers in February enjoyed the largest increase in sales in four months, posting a strong 1.0 percent gain on top of a revised 0.7 percent gain in January.
BizJournals.com

Sony closes New Jersey CD plant
On March 31, the last CD will roll off the assembly line at Sony’s plant in Pitman, N.J., leaving the international music giant with just a single U.S. CD-pressing plant, in Indiana. CD sales have fallen by half since they peaked in 2000.
NPR.org

Investors celebrate bull market
Stock investors last week celebrated the second anniversary of one of the swiftest, strongest bull markets in history. Since the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index hit a cyclical low on March 9, 2009, the market value of all shares in the index has more than doubled, to $12.06 trillion from $5.9 trillion.
Los Angeles Times

Wealthy in name, poor in spirit
Four in 10 American millionaires do not feel wealthy, according to a survey of more than 1,000 “million­aire households” by Fidelity Investments. To feel wealthy, the survey found, millionaires require $7.5 million in investable assets. The median U.S. household income in 2009, the latest year for which data are available, was $49,777.
NPR.org

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