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Heat Waves, Broke Businesses, and Big Bets

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Behind The NumbersFebruary 20, 2024

January 2024: A Month of New Records

  1. Broke Businesses – 2023 was a hot year for bankruptcy filings, with 17,051 businesses and 416,607 individuals filing for bankruptcy in the 12-month period ending September 30, 2023. This follows 13,125 business and 370,685 non-business bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2022 (source: United States Courts).
  2. Not Out of the Woods Yet – January 2024 was a tough month for certain sectors, with six out of the eleven sectors posting negative returns for the 1-month period, including energy (-0.5%), industrial (-1.0%), utilities (-3.0%), materials (-3.9%), consumer discretionary (-4.4%), and real estate (-4.8%). Communication services (4.4%), financial (3.1%), health care (2.9%), technology (2.7%), and consumer staples (1.2%) all boasted positive January 2024 returns (source: Y Charts).
  3. Enter Entrepreneurs – The United States Census Bureau reported 5,481,437 new business formations in 2023, surpassing 2022’s level of 5,084,894, beating out the previous record of 5,408,029 in 2021 (source: United States Census Bureau).
  4. Not the Golden Child Anymore – The price of gold fell 2.1% in January 2024, ending the month at $2,053.30 per ounce, down from December 31, 2023’s price of $2,078.40. However, the price of gold is up from January 2023’s price of $1,923.90 (source: Y Charts).
  5. Trying to Find Power – Tesla Inc (TSLA) posted a 1-month price return of -24.6% in January. This follows a Delaware judge ruling that nixes Elon Musk’s $55 billion pay package, requiring repayment (source: Y Charts).
  6. Foot Off the Gas – Brent crude oil prices averaged $83 per barrel in 2023, a $18 decline from 2022’s average price of $101 per barrel. The average gas price in 2023 was $3.52, decreasing from 2022’s average price of $3.95 (source: U.S. Energy Information Administration).
  7. Filing Frenzy – The IRS processed 13.9 million federal income tax returns in January 2024, down from the 16.7 million processed in January 2023 (source: IRS).
  8. Behind Closed Doors – Former Heartland Tri-State Bank CEO Shan Hanes has been charged with embezzling $47.1 million in wire transfers to buy cryptocurrency. Heartland Tri-State Bank was closed by the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner on July 28, 2023 (source: Bloomberg).
  9. Summer Already? – January 2024 goes on record as the Earth’s warmest January to date, with a global average air temperature of 55.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This beats the 1991-2000 January average by 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit (source: Fox Weather).
  10. Betting Big – Sports bets placed in 2023 reached unprecedented highs, with November 2023 clocking $14,192,826,632 in wagered funds, generating $913,578,025 in revenue and $177,006,903 in tax income. From January 2023 to December 2023, $119,835,278,700 in wagers were made, creating $10,930,877,460 in revenue and $2,132,891,947 in tax income (source: Legal Sports Report).

This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation regarding any specific product or security. Past performance is not indicative of future results. You cannot invest directly in an index. All references to tax or legal matters are provided for informational purposes only. You should consult your legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. All investing is subject to risk, including possible loss of principal.

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