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Millions Miss Out as Stocks Soar

The stock market continued a remarkable four-year run with the Dow Jones Index leaping over 15,000 for the first time on Tuesday. The Dow has gained 130 percent since March, 2009. But the recovery has come at a time when millions of households pulled their savings from stocks. A new Gallup poll finds despite the record highs in the past month, stock ownership among US adults is at its lowest level since 1998, essentially unchanged from a year ago. Just over half of Americans, 52 percent, now say they personally, or jointly with a spouse, own stock outright or as part of a mutual fund or self-directed retirement account. This compares with 65 percent who owned stocks in 2007, before the major sell-off was triggered by the financial crisis and recession. A resurgent housing market, rising home values and steady job gains are helping more homeowners stay on top of their mortgage payments. TransUnion says the percentage of mortgage holders at least two months behind on their payments fell on an annual basis by 21 percent in the first quarter. Credit reporting agency puts the mortgage delinquency rate at 4.56 percent. But that’s still well above the historical average before the housing bust.

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