Common Cents Archive

Some Common Cents for May 17th 2013

May 20, 2013, by John Norris

If you were to ask the proverbial man on the street what the biggest problem facing the global economy was, you would probably get a confused expression and some form of admission of ignorance. If you were to ask a roomful of people who care about such things, more than a few would mention something about “global indebtedness.” In fact, I would be willing to bet a plug nickel such a response would be the...

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Some Common Cents for May 3rd 2013

May 6, 2013, by John Norris

  Do you ever hear what you want to hear, and little else? Are you a glass is half-full or half-empty type of person? Do you find silver linings in dark clouds, or the other way around?   Let me answer these questions for you with: “it depends on the situation, of course!” After all, few of us are either overly pessimistic or optimistic all of the time. In fact, we tend to send such...

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Some Common Cents for April 26, 2013

April 30, 2013, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced US GDP grew at a 2.5% annualized rate during the 1st Quarter of 2013. Such a number is the economic equivalent of, say, a grilled cheese sandwich. Yeah, I will eat one if you give it to me; I might even make one myself. However, there are plenty of other things I would rather have. Sometimes the headline number doesn’t tell the whole story; it can...

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Some Common Cents for April 19th 2013

April 26, 2013, by John Norris

Disclosure: Oakworth Capital Bank owns Apple Inc. in client accounts. One of the more perplexing questions we get is: what is going on with Apple? Unless you have been in a cave, you know the stock has taken it on the chin, and then some, over the last 6 months or so. This as the company has produced decent results, and increased its hoard of cash. Looking at the balance sheet and income statements, you...

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Some Common Cents for April 12, 2013

April 17, 2013, by Shelley deClerk

Last night, I made a presentation, ostensibly about economics. By the end of my allotted time, however, I had delved off into conjuncture and personal opinion which bordered on histrionics. What I said wasn’t wrong; it was anyone’s best guess, and it just so happened to be mine. Lets face it: if I could look into the future with crystal clarity, I probably wouldn’t have made that speech last night, you know? However, I was...

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Some Common Cents for April 5, 2013

April 10, 2013, by Shelley deClerk

This morning, we raised some cash in our clients’ accounts. I sent an email to all of them explaining what we did, and the basic thought process behind the decision. Simply put, we had intended to decrease our equity allocation, an overweight, at some point this Spring; we just weren’t completely sure of the exact timing. While I would have liked to have waited until May to make the initial trades, this morning’s Employment Situation...

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Happy Birthday to Oakworth! Celebrating 5 Years This Week!

April 4, 2013, by John Norris

What is your competitive advantage? What sets you or your firm apart from the rest of the maddening crowd? How do you add value? Do you even know how you do or if you do? The Official Tourism Resource of the State of Mississippi (Mississippi) has recently been running an advertising campaign advising people to “find your true South.”  Since regionalism and regional pride is probably strongest in the Deep South, this undoubtedly sounded like...

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Some Common Cents for March 15, 2013

March 26, 2013, by John Norris

What is the value of a quality education? There are any number of statistics and theories on the subject. College graduates make ‘this much more’ than people who don’t finish college, on average, that sort of thing. In 1993, according to the Census Bureau, the United States exported $424.382 billion worth of goods excluding foods, feeds, and beverages before any adjustments. On average, the US had 22.219 million workers employed in ‘goods production’ that calendar...

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Some Common Cents for March 8th 2013

March 14, 2013, by Shelley deClerk

Employment Friday is a time for reflection: just where are we, and just how far do we need to go? The answers are seldom what you want to hear. This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced the US economy added 236K new jobs last month. This was more than expected, and should have been very good news. Even more, the Unemployment Rate fell to 7.7%, the lowest level in some 4 years! Still,...

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Some Common Cents for March 1 2013

March 11, 2013, by Shelley deClerk

Alas, the poor American middle class, I knew him Horatio. Just what is the proverbial middle class? Statisticians like to assign dollar amounts to define just who fits into this august category. Individuals almost always classify themselves as some measure of “middle class,” regardless of household income. That is why we have the phrases “upper middle class” and “lower middle class.” But do you want to know the real definition? One which isn’t as arbitrary...

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