This from GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s annual letter to shareholders…really good stuff:

February 29, 2016, by John Norris

To sustain this performance, we will have to win in challenging global markets. Some say we are in an “,” but I don’t really know what that means. I learn more from what I see in individual markets and hear from customers. Commodity prices are down significantly, primarily driven by oversupply. Resource industries and regions are restructuring. The dollar has strengthened, probably for an extended period of time. This puts pressure on American exporters. At...

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Some Common Cents for February 26th 2016

February 26, 2016, by John Norris

When I became the de facto ‘chief economist’ at my previous employer in, what, 2001, I assumed the responsibility of making any number of public presentations about the economy and markets. Since I don’t mind speaking in front of a crowd and most of my then co-workers did, this was no skin off my back. 15 years later, I will tell the 1st Quarter and the 4th Quarter are the busiest for talks, by far....

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Quickest way to poverty? Being single

February 23, 2016, by John Norris

Recently, I attended a reception celebrating the opening of our office off Taylor Road. More than a fistful of people commented on my columns to the Montgomery Advertiser, and there was roughly an even split between those who think I am either too negative or too positive. The most flattering remarks came from a former high school teacher, who told me she occasionally used my column in her economics classes to help teach basic principles....

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Some Common Cents for February 19th 2016

February 19, 2016, by John Norris

I got a number of emails in response to last week’s newsletter, and let me say one thing: I am not advocating the US Treasury blithely print a bunch of additional money. No; the point was the quickest cure for deflation and a cripplingly strong currency is to simply make more of it, and pronto. Quantitative easing and deficit spending are as slow as molasses by comparison. Then, I would like to add: what a...

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Markets’ perception worse than reality

February 16, 2016, by John Norris

Recently, I sent a message to clients where I wrote: “While I have seen some turbulent times in my career, I am having a hard time recalling a period when all news is bad news to the degree it has been recently. I won’t sugarcoat the situation; it is easier to make the worst case scenario than the best case scenario, however, this usually is the case. Even so, there seems to be a real...

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Some Common Cents for February 12th 2016

February 12, 2016, by John Norris

Although China has been in the headlines, it seems people the most worried about future US economic growth are increasingly focused on two things: 1) the strength of the dollar relative to other major trading currencies, and; 2) low energy prices. Apparently, folks no longer believe we can simply import and consume our way to prosperity. Further, low energy prices are causing all kinds of havoc for any number of people (and countries) who have...

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Alabama’s economy hard to gauge

February 9, 2016, by John Norris

I get a fair number of requests to address groups whenever the economy seems shaky or the markets fall apart. I am ordinarily happy to do this, and have turned down only a fistful of invites in my career. As I have said numerous times: “the thought of public speaking is terrifying to so many people, I could probably recite the dern telephone book, and still get pats on the back for a job well...

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Rate increases affecting US dollar, company profits

February 3, 2016, by John Norris

This week, Apple announced its operating results for the last three months of 2015. The company made more profit than ever in an official calendar quarter, but the markets didn’t like the announcement. Overall revenue growth was mediocre, and the company anticipates it will slow more than originally thought in 2016. (Read the full article as previously published in the Montgomery Advertiser Sunday Feb 1st …)

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