1. Bill Clinton out-earned the average S&P 500 CEO in 2011
, taking in a total of $13.4 million for giving 54 speeches last year, at an average of almost one-quarter of a million dollars per talk. The former president's 2011 earnings were slightly higher than the $12.94 million earned last year by the average CEO.
2. U.S. car sales
rose last month to a five-year high for the month of June, as total light vehicle sales increased by more than 22% compared to June of last year. The 14.08 million units sold (seasonally adjusted at an annual rate) last month was the highest sales level for the month of June since 15.77 million units were sold in June 2007. On a year-to-date basis, sales during the first six months of this year of 6.3 million vehicles are almost 15% above the same period last year.
This volume of activity for new car sales in June and sales YTD is certainly not consistent with an economy teetering on the edge of a recession. Update
: See chart below of the percentage change in car sales from the same month in the previous year.
3. June real estate reports are just starting to come in, and Nashville is reporting a 21% increase in June home sales
compared to last year, and a year-to-date increase of 24.5% compared to the first six months last year. The average price for a Nashville condo sold in June increased almost 7% over last year, while the average home prices rose by 3.2%.
4. A new report highlights a significant gender gap in reading in favor of girls for U.K. high school students. On standardized tests, only 59% of boys score at a passing level, compared to a pass rate of 73% for girls.
5. Barack Obama's re-election odds on Intrade have been rising for the last two weeks and have increased now to 56.3%, the highest level since May. Meanwhile, Romney's Intrade odds have been falling, and are now below 41% for the first time since May.