Surging stock market pushes U.S. household wealth to $93 trillion

WASHINGTON — The stock market’s rise to record levels fueled a big increase in U.S. household wealth in the final three months of last year, to almost $93 trillion.

The wealth gains could lead to more spending, lifting the economy, but the increases aren’t widely shared.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that Americans’ stock and mutual fund portfolios jumped $728 billion in value in the October-December quarter, while home values rose $557 billion.

Total household wealth, which includes checking and savings accounts and subtracts mortgages and other debt, jumped 2.3 percent to $92.8 trillion.

Debt owed by households was $28.1 trillion – which combines household debt, mortgages and credit card balances. By that measure, debt is slightly less than a third of overall wealth.

Still, not all Americans are reaping the gains. The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans own 80 percent of the stock market. And younger Americans are less likely to be homeowners than previous generations, as renting increased following the bursting of  the housing bubble.