Economically Speaking

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses

March 25, 2020, by Sara McPherson

  Source: The US Department of Labor, March 24, 2020 WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the...

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The Coronavirus & Long Term Investing

March 6, 2020, by Sara McPherson

David McGrath Associate Managing Director, Wealth Management   As the reaction to the coronavirus starts to have an impact on consumer and business spending, the expectation of 2020 S&P 500 earnings are falling, and no one has a good handle on exactly what the impact will be. “I don’t know” is not an answer the equity markets like to hear, but that is the best answer at the moment. Hence, the dramatic volatility of the...

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The Economy Keeps Creating Jobs

February 7, 2020, by John Norris

In response to a rumor about his death, Mark Twain was supposed to have said: "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." In fact, the actual quote was: "The report of my death was an exaggeration. Either are pretty witty and fairly apropos when describing or discussing the US economy. Despite any number of "bricks in the wall of worry," we just keep chugging along. This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released 'The Employment Situation...

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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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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...

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A Quick Note About the Recent Sell Off

February 6, 2018, by John Norris

Is it time to panic? Unless you really don't digest any financial news, you know the stock market has been taken a beating over the last several trading sessions, a bad one. The last hour or so of trading yesterday was about as painful as it gets, almost begging the question: is this 2008 all over again? As I type this, I would answer that question pretty emphatically no. However, that doesn't mean the markets...

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Common Cents on an Ugly Day in the Markets – Groundhog Day 2018

February 2, 2018, by John Norris

Section I This morning, a client asked me whether I was nervous about the markets, particularly after the way they have behaved over the last week. He pointed out, correctly at the time, stocks were taking it on the chin here on Groundhog Day after a better than expected Employment Situation report. After all, this all but ensures the Federal Reserve will raise the overnight lending target at next month’s FOMC meeting, right? As the...

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This is Common Cents for January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Today, I went to a lunch presentation on Alabama’s economy. Years ago, I was somewhat involved in the sponsoring group, and I have decided to start going again, at least occasionally. Laughingly, there are only so many economic presentations I can sit through in a given year. In case you were wondering, that is more paradoxical or oxymoronic than it is ironic. Just saying. I will cut to the quick: the presenter, who...

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Common Cents for January 5, 2018

January 5, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Everyone knows the old adage: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” This was particularly true in the markets this week, as stocks just kept on climbing after we changed the calendar on the wall. 2017? 2018? What difference does a man-made concept like a calendar mean when there is money to be made? To be sure, there is nothing in the recent economic data to suggest anything other than...

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Some Last Minute Advice Before the End of 2017

December 27, 2017, by John Norris

Over the past week, even on Christmas Day, I have been inundated with emails detailing things people should do before the end of the year in light of the recent tax legislation. Many of the so-called recommendations would take a few weeks to hammer out with an attorney, if not months, and time is of the essence. But, you know, some of that stuff sure sounded great….really clever. However, there are still a few last...

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