Americans' Wealth Fell in Spring as Stocks Tanked

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans' wealth shrank in the spring for the first time since early 2009 as financial turmoil eroded stock portfolios.

The Federal Reserve says household net worth fell 2.7 percent -- or $1.5 trillion -- in the April-to-June quarter. The decline left Americans' net worth at $53.5 trillion.

Shriveled stock portfolios were the biggest force dragging down wealth. Wall Street was shaken by fears over Europe's debt crisis. Since then, stocks have recovered most of their losses from the April-June quarter.

Net worth is the value of assets such as homes, checking accounts and investments, minus debts like mortgages and credit cards.

Before last quarter's decline, net worth had been growing slowly for four straight quarters. Americans' net worth would have to rise an additional 23 percent to revisit its re-recession peak of $65.8 trillion.