National Economy

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

A Small (and Short) Amount of Common Cents for May 4, 2018

May 4, 2018, by John Norris

This past Monday afternoon, I told a group of Oakworth associates the major stories this week would be the FOMC meeting/statement on Wednesday and today’s Employment Situation report. Although neither so-called big event was terribly surprising, sometimes simply ‘getting it over with,’ whatever it may be, is more important than anything else. As I type here on Friday, May 04, 2018, much is as it was and has been for a while. The Fed will...

Read More : A Small (and Short) Amount of Common Cents for May 4, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents for Friday the 13th (April 2018)

April 13, 2018, by John Norris

Yesterday, a co-worker told me they really like my weekly newsletter. They complimented me on my alleged ability to make boring economic commentary slightly less boring (at least I think they meant it as a compliment). However, they also told me the following: “I don’t read it every week like I did in the past…it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with how I now consume news. I like to listen...

Read More : Common Cents for Friday the 13th (April 2018) - Full Article

Common Cents for April 6th, 2018

April 6, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Although the stock market has been a veritable roller coaster ride this week, interest rates and gold really haven’t done much of anything substantial. Oh sure, a few basis points here and a couple of dollars there, but nothing I would call out of the ordinary. This is significant, because if hell really were coming to dinner like a lot of people think, so-called safety assets would be performing a lot differently. Two...

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

Common Cents for March 30, 2018 (I hope it is Common Sense)

March 26, 2018, by John Norris

During the Q & A session of my public speaking engagements, I have been known to be the one asking the questions. There is one in particular I like: “what was the primary cause of the financial meltdown in 2008?” As you might imagine, I hear/get all kinds of responses, usually of the low-hanging fruit variety: predatory lending practices, Wall Street greed, Main Street stupidity, the ratings organizations not doing their jobs, Fannie Mae and...

Read More : Common Cents for March 30, 2018 (I hope it is Common Sense) - Full Article

Common Cents for March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Does anyone really like surprises? By that, I mean are there really people who want to wake up without any clue as to what the day might bring? The source of their next meal? Where they will sleep in the evening? With whom they will interact? The environment in which they will live? Is anyone so spontaneous, living so in the moment, they eschew all form of structure? To the point where any...

Read More : Common Cents for March 16, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents for March 9, 2018

March 9, 2018, by John Norris

Section I According to the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business datasets, the number of publicly traded companies in the US has been falling like a stone, from a high of 7,439 in 1996 to 3,616 in 2017. Obviously, this has had some kind of an impact on the markets and benchmark index construction. But how much? Is it good or bad? What does it mean to the health of the US financial system?...

Read More : Common Cents for March 9, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents March 2nd, 2018

March 2, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Yesterday, President Trump flummoxed the markets by announcing a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% one on aluminum. This morning, bright and early, the President was already hard at work on his Twitter account with the following: “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100...

Read More : Common Cents March 2nd, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents for February 23, 2018

February 23, 2018, by John Norris

Section I Recently, the markets have been all aflutter about the potential for inflation. While we all know the definition of inflation, what does it mean? For me, my baseline is the double-digits of the Carter Administration years. However, I will be 50 in a few months, and am older than the vast majority of the folks physically sitting at trading desks/stations around the world who move the real money on the matter. To them,...

Read More : Common Cents for February 23, 2018 - Full Article

Common Cents for February 9, 2018

February 9, 2018, by John Norris

Section I We have all heard the old adage “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket,” and instinctively know what it means. In the investment industry, we have a fancy name for this particular old saw: diversification. You buy a few shares of this, a couple more of that, and a fistful of ‘those over there’ to hopefully ensure you have something going up when the markets rally AND that not everything ends...

Read More : Common Cents for February 9, 2018 - Full Article