Americans' wealth last summer suffered its biggest quarterly loss in more than two years as stocks, pension funds and home values lost value.
Stock-market declines, in particular, have held back Americans' quest to recover losses from the 2008 financial meltdown. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index tumbled about 14 percent in the July-September period, ending a streak of four quarterly increases. The decline was driven by worries about Europe's debt crisis and the U.S. economy.
Home prices remain under pressure, diminishing home equity. Home equity is the biggest source of wealth for most Americans. Last quarter, home values slipped 0.6 percent. Total values fell to $16.1trillion, down from nearly $21trillion in 2007, before the recession began.