For Sale…1 Stock Exchange,gently used, sold as-is, $8.2 billion OBO

December 28, 2012, by Shelley deClerk

This week, the New York Stock Exchange announced it had agreed to be purchased by a firm named Intercontinental Exchange. Does this mean anything? Will this have any impact on the stock markets? Since Intercontinental Exchange has its headquarters in Atlanta, the New York Stock Exchange became a Southern company this week. In so many ways, that is simply beyond awesome. OK, maybe Atlanta isn’t the most Southern city, but I imagine it is a...

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Common Cents for December 21st 2012

, by Shelley deClerk

As we approach the end of the 2012, I thought it might be entertaining to take a look back on the year, and maybe make a few predictions about 2013. Obviously, if I could look into the future with crystal clarity, you wouldn't be reading this sentence right now, as I wouldn't have written it. So, take everything below with at least a grain of salt. Thank you for reading Common Cents in 2012, and here is to a...

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Keeping the Public In the Dark

December 20, 2012, by Shelley deClerk

Our elected politicians are currently sparring over tax rates and spending cuts to avoid something popularly called “the fiscal cliff,” as we head into 2013. If the two sides can’t reach a conclusion, all the so-called Bush tax cuts expire, as does the Administration’s payroll tax break. Further, the Congress will have to start cutting spending, or at least cut the growth of deficit spending moving forward. When combined, the US economy is presumably facing...

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Taxes are a necessity for our schools…here’s some number crunching

December 19, 2012, by John Norris

Obviously, the end of the year is fast approaching, and Washington still hasn't hashed out a tax policy yet. What is the likelihood the increase in taxes will drive the economy into recession? We tend to get blinded by the word taxes. While no one likes paying them, there are taxes, and then there are taxes, if you catch my drift. Basically, not all of them are bad, because, we, as citizens, get something tangible for them....

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Common Cents for December 14th 2012

December 17, 2012, by Shelley deClerk

We don’t own a lot of actively managed equity mutual funds at Oakworth. While the statistics suggest active managers, as a lot, have a difficult time beating a passive index like the S&P 500 over time, one of my biggest concerns is the mindset of the portfolio managers. That might sound crazy, so let me explain. Managing an individual client’s money and managing a mutual fund are two different things. While short-term performance is an...

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Common Cents for December 7th 2012

December 10, 2012, by John Norris

All the debate over the fiscal cliff has masked some real problems in our nation’s economy. We are so focused on short-term economic growth, you could argue we are failing to see the forest for the trees. Will either political party’s taxing & spending proposals really permanently drive the US economy back into the Middle Ages, or even worse, the 1970’s? Not hardly likely. Tax rates alone won’t do that, nor will spending cuts. However,...

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December 6, 2012, by John Norris

Should Washington focus more on raising taxes or cutting spending to deal with the deficit? Washington will not be able to balance its budget by cutting spending alone. It will not be able to do so by simply raising taxes on the highest income earners in the country. Further, it won’t be able to get its books in order by a combination of the two. Unfortunately, that is what it seems heck bent on doing....

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Common Cents for November 30, 2012

, by John Norris

Yesterday, I read an article on CNNMoney.com by a certain Emily Jane Fox. The headline caught my eye: “McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King Workers Protest in NYC.” I love reading about a good protest as much as the next person, if for no other reason than to wonder at the thought process behind it. Not surprisingly, it seems fast food workers want to make more money in New York. But, who doesn’t want to make more...

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Common Cents for November 23, 2012

, by John Norris

One of the bigger business headlines this week has been the liquidation of Hostess Brands, Inc., the company which heretofore made Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread, a host of other snack cakes and breads. As you can imagine, there was some measure of discomfort about the iconic Twinkie brand, a symbol of all that is both right and wrong in the United States, vanishing. What is the world coming to these days? Can the US...

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