National Economy

Some Common Cents for August 23 2013

August 28, 2013, by Shelley deClerk

Being a competitive bunch, we have turned it into an “Alabama vs. Auburn” contest, where Tide fans put their offerings in a red box, and Tiger fans put theirs in an orange and blue one. There is a week to go, and it is way too early to declare a winner. Now, I love food drives like this, and particularly like to win them. So much so, I took my kids to the Wal-Mart on...

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Detroit’s tough choices affect nation

August 15, 2013, by John Norris

Detroit declared bankruptcy a couple of weeks ago, and the headlines were lousy with it. Although this is a major problem, it now seems to have been relegated to the back pages. What is your take on what Detroit means for the rest of the country?  The only people surprised by Detroit’s bankruptcy were city employees and pensioners, and they shouldn't have been. This has been a slow motion train wreck for a very long...

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Some Common Cents for July 12th 2013

July 15, 2013, by John Norris

The movie “World War Z” is currently in the theaters, and has done quite well, better than many had thought it would. This is a good thing, as the movie will undoubtedly push people to the truly excellent novel by Max Brooks, the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Brancroft. Now, I had never been a fan of the zombie genre in the past, at all. Period. However, I do like a good dystopian, post-Apocalyptic yarn,...

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Some Common Cents for July 5th 2013

July 11, 2013, by John Norris

This morning’s Employment Situation report was better than most people anticipated. The economy created some 195K new payrolls during June, and all seems well with the world. Why in the heck would anyone look a gift horse in the mouth, or complain about the free beer being too cold? I suppose it is just in my nature. Simply put, the data was a little too good, given the overall level of economic activity we have seen recently. After all, we...

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As we walk through fields of Gold…

May 24, 2013, by John Norris

Gold prices have fallen more than 15 percent since the start of the year, and roughly 25 percent since last summer. Is the bloom finally off the rose, or will gold eventually rebound? There are a lot of smart people in the investment industry, and many of them will tell you gold is a hedge against inflation. After all, you will want some of the shiny stuff when all heck breaks loose, and you have...

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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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Collecting online sales tax may benefit communities

April 30, 2013, by John Norris

The Congress is considering legislation imposing local sales taxes on online purchases. Since this is effectively money out of consumers’ pockets, how will this impact the economy?      The impact on the economy should be minimal, as it is unlikely online retailers will be able to blithely pass through the entire amount of the tax. In other words, online retailers will likely have to drop their prices or cut what they charge for shipping and handling....

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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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Strong start to 2013 or Simply a Lackluster end to 2012?

March 11, 2013, by Shelley deClerk

Q: Last week you wrote about whether we are in a recession, and were noncommittal. However, the stock market is up and the economic data has been pretty good recently. With all the other bad news out there, why has the U.S. started the year on such strong footing? A: Why has 2013 started off as good as it has? Well, it is still early, but the easy answer is: because the last half of...

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