National Economy

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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Fed Raises Rates

September 26, 2018, by John Norris

This afternoon, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy making arm of the Federal Reserve, raised the overnight lending target 0.25% (25 basis points) from 2.00% to 2.25%. This was as expected, as the futures market had been giving it a 100% probability for some time now. The only real question was: will the Fed give us any idea about the next move(s)? As is usually the case, it did and it didn’t....

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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 August 24. 2018? A Peach?

August 24, 2018, by John Norris

During an interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt this week, President Trump had this to say: “If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking, you would see…you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.” This is an amazing thing for the President of the United States to say, for a lot of reasons. However, is it true? Hmm. Do...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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