U.S. household net worth rises to $109 trillion ahead of stock rout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. households added nearly $2.1 trillion to their wealth in the three months through September, a sign that gains in stock markets were probably supporting consumer spending before a recent market downturn, Federal Reserve data showed on Thursday.

U.S. household wealth totaled $109 trillion in the third quarter, the report showed. Much of the gain derived from increases in corporate equity prices, the Fed said.

Since September, however, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has dropped nearly 10 percent, with investors worried about a global economic growth slowdown, a U.S.-China trade war and the prospect of more rate increases from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

In the July-September period, U.S. household debt rose at a 3.4 percent annual rate, up from a 2.9 percent growth rate in the second quarter of the year.

The value of corporate equities held directly and indirectly by households rose by $1.2 trillion during the third quarter, while the value of real estate rose by $245 billion, the central bank said.

The Fed is expected to raise borrowing costs later this month in what would be the fourth quarter percentage point increase this year.

Reporting by Andrea Ricci; Editing by Andrea Ricci