Common Cents Archive

Historical Common Cents for November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018, by John Norris

For good reason, it seems the Chinese ‘trade war’ and the Federal Reserve have dominated the post-election business headlines. They should have all along, but politics are far more interesting than monetary policy or international trade negotiations for/to most people. I am the outlier. Recently, I either wrote here in this newsletter or mentioned on our podcast (Trading Perspectives) the Chinese don’t adhere to US election cycles. They don’t care too much about arbitrary quarterly...

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Common Cents for November 9, 2018

November 9, 2018, by John Norris

It would seem I have no shortage of topics on which to pontificate, if not bloviate, this week, What, with the elections, FOMC meeting, and a whole litany of other attention-grabbing headlines? Certainly, there is ample fodder to wax on finance, politics, society, how they are intertwined, and the impact on your pocketbook. Indeed. However, I am going to resist temptation, at least for about 800 words, to do what most other people are doing...

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Common Cents for November 2, 2018

November 1, 2018, by John Norris

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of John Norris, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Oakworth Capital Bank, its management, its ownership, or its associates. The $64,000 Question here at the end this week is: “who is going to win the midterm elections this upcoming Tuesday?” I am going to go out on a very short limb and say the media outlets will, as millions of us will tune into the...

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Common Cents for October 26, 2018 (When Will This Month End? Directions Please!)

October 26, 2018, by John Norris

A different week, the same old red ink. I can’t imagine I will be the only person happy to see October in the rear-view mirror. I mean, talk about everyone having a crisis of confidence at the same time. Holy smoke, gee whiz, or whatever ancient exclamation you want to throw at it. I only ask you keep it G or PG, and leave the swearing to the professionals. After all, this has been a...

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Common Cents on October 5, 2018

October 4, 2018, by John Norris

This week, a colleague asked me whether I thought the projected amount of additional Federal debt over the next decade would have a detrimental impact on interest rates. Another way of putting their question was/is: “we are already $20 trillion in the hole in Washington, and will be $30 trillion in the red in 10 years. Interest rates should go UP, right?” This makes perfect intuitive sense. After all, it would seem to be basic...

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A Short Amount of Common Cents on September 28, 2018

September 28, 2018, by John Norris

This week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy making body of the Federal Reserve, raised the overnight lending target 0.25% to 2.25%. This was so widely expected as to be a fait accompli. However, the statement, which the FOMC releases after every meeting, removed any mention of monetary policy being ‘accommodative.’ This was NOT expected, and had tongues wagging. Is the Fed signaling the beginning of the end of this tightening cycle?...

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Righteous Common Cents for September 21, 2018

September 21, 2018, by John Norris

Way back in 2000, and I can’t believe it has been 18 years, the movie ‘Meet the Parents’ hit the screens. I thought it was a real laugh riot at the time, and still think certain scenes are hilarious. If you have seen the movie, you may remember the following exchange between Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. If you haven’t, it is a conversation in the car between a young man (Greg) trying to impress...

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Common Cents (or lack thereof) for September 14, 2018

September 14, 2018, by John Norris

Some years ago, before smartphones and the ubiquity of social media, I wrote a pretty thorough complaint to the corporate headquarters of a large national restaurant chain. In it, I gave a detailed description of my impression of three separate units, and included: the time of my visits, the locations, the respective store numbers, my real name, an email address, and my telephone number. A representative of the company, not the franchisee, called me about...

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Common Cents for September 7, 2018

September 7, 2018, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Employment Situation report for August 2018. The sum of its parts was pretty mediocre. Yes, the economy supposedly created 201K net new jobs during the month, but the BLS revised the previous two months down by 50K. What’s more, the Household Survey, from which ‘we’ calculate the Unemployment Rate, was sort of a disaster. The Labor Force Participation and Employment to Population ratios both fell...

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Common Cents on August 31, 2018

August 31, 2018, by John Norris

I absolutely loathe the capital gains tax. It is one of the worst tax laws ‘we’ have, as it inhibits the free flow of capital throughout the financial system. Period, and end of discussion. You can make whatever impassioned argument you want in favor of it; you can produce complicated spreadsheets purporting to show the financial efficacy of the capital gains tax all you want, and I will not waver in my distaste for it....

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