Strong stock market lifts US wealth to $96.9 trillion

WASHINGTON - Surging stock prices and steady increases in home values powered American household wealth to $96.9 trillion this fall, though the gains likely aren't widely shared.

The Federal Reserve says that U.S. net worth rose $1.7 trillion in the July-September quarter, extending a steady upward march in American wealth after the Great Recession eliminated about one-sixth of it in 2008 and 2009.

The value of Americans' stock portfolios rose $1.1 trillion and real estate values climbed $400 billion. Total household wealth includes checking and savings accounts, and subtracts mortgages and other debt.

The figures come as Congress is considering a tax cut plan that would reduce taxes on corporations and mostly benefit wealthy taxpayers.

The Fed's data show that U.S. corporations currently have a hefty $2.4 trillion in cash.

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