Stock market lifts US household wealth to $98.7 trillion

FILE- In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, a Nasdaq employee works at his computer at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York. On Thursday, March 8, the Federal Reserve reports on household wealth for the October-December quarter. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Richard Drew

WASHINGTON (AP) — A soaring U.S. stock market and healthy home price gains lifted Americans' net worth to $98.7 trillion in the final three months of last year, a gain that could lift household spending.

The Federal Reserve says the value of U.S. stock portfolios jumped $1.3 trillion in the October-December quarter compared with the previous three months. Home values, which make up the bulk of middle-class wealth, increased $500 billion.

The figures are at a record high, though they are not adjusted for inflation or population growth. They predate February's sharp gyrations in the stock market, though stock market indexes are still up about 2 percent this year.

The solid gain in wealth could make many Americans more confident and lead them to spend more, which typically fuels economic growth.

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