Economically Speaking

Common Cents on August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018, by John Norris

Would you believe, as I type here on August 17th, the S&P 500 index is positive for the month? With all the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth about Turkey, China, and even Elon Musk’s ill-advised tweets, you would think the US markets would be falling off a cliff, but they aren’t. No, international markets are, more specifically emerging markets. Although I have been in the investment industry for quite a while now, I...

Read More : Common Cents on August 17, 2018 - Full Article

Common Lira on August 10, 2018

August 10, 2018, by John Norris

Today, the markets are all aflutter over tensions between the US and Turkey. Various peccadilloes over the last several years have grown into some pretty major problems. So much so, and you can decide for yourself where to cast blame, the Administration declared some pretty stiff trade tariffs on Turkish metals. Frankly, you could have seen this coming with your eyes closed. Interestingly enough, I have read some analysis on how Washington’s ham-fisted approach with...

Read More : Common Lira on August 10, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents on August 3, 2018

August 3, 2018, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Employment Situation report for July. The economy created 157K net, new payroll jobs during the month and the Unemployment Rate fell to 3.9%. In so many words, it was a pretty dull report. There wasn’t anything particularly bearish or bullish in the release, even if plenty of seemingly intelligent people will spend hours overanalyzing and commenting on it. Yep, as Forrest Gump might say: “That’s...

Read More : Common Cents on August 3, 2018 - Full Article

2nd Quarter Economic Update

July 31, 2018, by John Norris

As a general rule, I liked roller coasters when I was a kid. The Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Over Georgia was a favorite, as were just about any other traditional wooden ones. If you aren’t familiar with the one in Atlanta, think of the Cyclone at Coney Island or the Yankee Cannonball at Canobie Lake Park. Closer to home, the Rampage at Alabama Splash Adventure in Bessemer is a surprisingly good ride....

Read More : 2nd Quarter Economic Update - Full Article

It Might Be Common Cents – You Decide On July 27, 2018

July 27, 2018, by John Norris

Something kind strange happened this morning. After 8.5 years of economic expansion and almost 3 years into a Fed tightening cycle, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released the best quarterly GDP (Gross Domestic Product for those keeping score at home) report in recent memory. To be sure, ‘you’ have to go back to 2Q and 3Q 2014 to find comparable quarterly results, and I might still argue this was a better report. The only...

Read More : It Might Be Common Cents – You Decide On July 27, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents for July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018, by John Norris

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about Canada legalizing marijuana at its Federal level. Ultimately, the discussion got around to whether the stuff would ever be legal in Alabama. My thoughts were/are simply this: “at some point, it will be impossible for our state to effectively enforce its cannabis laws, and it will become legal as a matter of course if not a matter of law.” My buddy looked at me as...

Read More : Common Cents for July 6, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents for June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018, by John Norris

This past Wednesday night, I made a presentation down in Mobile. During the Q&A, one person asked whether the growing economy has already made back the money the Federal government ‘lost’ due to the “tax cuts.” The pure black & white, straight accounting answer, the one the opposition will use during the mid-term elections, is quite simply: no. There will be no getting around the issue, and plenty of GOP candidates will hem, haw, and...

Read More : Common Cents for June 29, 2018 - Full Article

Is It Common Cents on June 15, 2018? We Will See.

June 15, 2018, by John Norris

This morning, the Administration imposed a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of goods from China. To put that number into better perspective, in 2016, the US imported roughly $463 billion (excluding services) from the Chinese. So, the Administration put a 25% tariff on about 11% of US imports from that country. In terms of pure dollars and cents, this imbroglio is the proverbial mouse that roared. Then again, trade deficits are sort of like...

Read More : Is It Common Cents on June 15, 2018? We Will See. - Full Article

Common Cents for May 25, 2018

May 25, 2018, by John Norris

Back in early 2003, the finance committee of the City of Birmingham summoned me to explain the negative performance for 2002 in the account it had entrusted to my then employer’s care. To be sure, given the roughly 60% weight to stocks, it would have been a real magic trick to have generated a positive return in that portfolio for the year. What’s more, we had done much better than most, much, although I completely...

Read More : Common Cents for May 25, 2018 - Full Article

Some Quick & Easy Common Cents for May 18th

May 18, 2018, by John Norris

There is an old expression: “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” We all know this, and have all forgotten it at least once in our lives. Something for nothing (or with very little effort) is powerful catnip indeed, even if we all know there really aren’t many good substitutes for hard work, preparation, and a willingness to fail. This is what makes the recent economic data somewhat concerning to me....

Read More : Some Quick & Easy Common Cents for May 18th - Full Article