Common Cents Archive

Common Cents & Hyperinflation on May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019, by John Norris

This week, Wednesday night actually, my college-aged daughter asked me a number of questions on the passing scene. What did I feel about this or that? What was my opinion on thus and so? That sort of thing. Not surprisingly, she was a little more idealistic than I on some issues, but we mostly agreed and mostly in part. Laughingly, she has a lot more time to get her head screwed on straight than I...

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Episode 39 of Trading Perspectives

May 20, 2019, by Sara McPherson

Technology and Ticket Sales Ticket prices for the PGA Championship Tour were down this year and turn style attendance is proving to be on a downhill trend.  Even college athletics, the MLB and the NFL are reporting fewer people in attendance. What impact will this have on local economies?  This week, John and Sam talk about how technology is effecting the world of sports and how salaries for professional athletes can continue to go up...

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Common Cents & The Ballpark on May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019, by John Norris

This week, I met with some clients who asked me about inflation, namely why there isn’t any. They weren’t complaining, not in the least. They were curious: how was the Federal Reserve able to pump trillions of dollars into the financial system and keep the overnight lending target rate below 3% for over a decade without prices spiraling out of control? My response took about 20 minutes, seriously. First, I told them inflation is where...

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Losing Face & Trade Negotiations on May 13, 2019

May 13, 2019, by John Norris

In graduate school, I did a case study for a marketing class on selling farm equipment in China. If I remember correctly, which I believe I do, I ultimately recommended conducting a massive charm offense on the necessary cadres, at all levels, and selling our products at their variable costs until ‘we’ had achieved some solid footing or market share. The class was not amused. What about overhead? What about profit margins? What about this...

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Common Cents & Uber on May 10, 2019

May 10, 2019, by John Norris

This morning, the rideshare company Uber had its Initial Public Offering (IPO), which had been a long time in the making. Despite not having turned a profit, ever, the details of the IPO valued the company north of $80 billion. Clearly, you could argue, this is a mind-boggling sum for losing money, and, surely, we must have fallen through the looking glass, as it were and as one does. Leading up to the IPO ‘Democratic’...

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Common Cents & Fedspeak on May 3, 2019

May 3, 2019, by John Norris

This morning, I met with some clients, and discussed the primary difference between the 4th Quarter of 2018 and what we have enjoyed thus far in 2019. This is the markets’ expectation(s) for the price of money in the United States moving forward. Brexit? That is still out there, somewhere, even if this slow burn isn’t making many headlines in the States any longer. Trade war with the Chinese? It seems we might be closer...

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Common Cents & Soapboxes on April 26, 2019

April 26, 2019, by John Norris

This morning, I made a presentation on the economy to The Alabama Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, at the behest of a friend of mine. I basically lifted my core remarks straight off the pages of our 1Q 2019 Economic Overview slide deck. It was straight down the middle and what you might kind of expect from an economic talk. That is until the end, when I sort of got up on a soapbox. You...

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Common Cents & Zipping the Lip on April 12, 2019

April 12, 2019, by John Norris

This week, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos wrote the following in his annual letter to shareholders:   “Last year, we raised our minimum wage to $15-an-hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees across the U.S. This wage hike benefitted more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who worked at Amazon sites across the country last holiday. We strongly believe that this will benefit our business as we invest in...

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Common Cents & Revolution on April 5, 2019

April 5, 2019, by John Norris

Way back in the 1990s, when I was first studying for the appropriate (now) FINRA exams, I noticed something about the MSRB (Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board) rules, and others, as they pertained to the advisor/client relationships: if there is a gray area on anything, and I mean everything, the financial advisor gets the short-end of the stick. Period. So much so, I didn’t even bother reading a lot of the questions on the actual tests,...

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Common Cents & Krystal Burgers for March 22, 2019

March 19, 2019, by John Norris

Someone once asked me the difference between an economist at a university and one at an investment firm. Okay, I lie. A lot of people have asked me that over the years, as it is confusing. After all, you have one group of economists, like those at the Federal Reserve, looking at dot patterns, setting monetary policy, and devising complicated theories. On the flipside, you have folks, like yours truly, who discuss or analyze economic...

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