Musings & Insights

Common Cents & Hyperinflation on May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019, by John Norris

This week, Wednesday night actually, my college-aged daughter asked me a number of questions on the passing scene. What did I feel about this or that? What was my opinion on thus and so? That sort of thing. Not surprisingly, she was a little more idealistic than I on some issues, but we mostly agreed and mostly in part. Laughingly, she has a lot more time to get her head screwed on straight than I...

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Common Cents & The Ballpark on May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019, by John Norris

This week, I met with some clients who asked me about inflation, namely why there isn’t any. They weren’t complaining, not in the least. They were curious: how was the Federal Reserve able to pump trillions of dollars into the financial system and keep the overnight lending target rate below 3% for over a decade without prices spiraling out of control? My response took about 20 minutes, seriously. First, I told them inflation is where...

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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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Common Cents & Uber on May 10, 2019

May 10, 2019, by John Norris

This morning, the rideshare company Uber had its Initial Public Offering (IPO), which had been a long time in the making. Despite not having turned a profit, ever, the details of the IPO valued the company north of $80 billion. Clearly, you could argue, this is a mind-boggling sum for losing money, and, surely, we must have fallen through the looking glass, as it were and as one does. Leading up to the IPO ‘Democratic’...

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Common Cents & Fedspeak on May 3, 2019

May 3, 2019, by John Norris

This morning, I met with some clients, and discussed the primary difference between the 4th Quarter of 2018 and what we have enjoyed thus far in 2019. This is the markets’ expectation(s) for the price of money in the United States moving forward. Brexit? That is still out there, somewhere, even if this slow burn isn’t making many headlines in the States any longer. Trade war with the Chinese? It seems we might be closer...

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Common Cents & Soapboxes on April 26, 2019

April 26, 2019, by John Norris

This morning, I made a presentation on the economy to The Alabama Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, at the behest of a friend of mine. I basically lifted my core remarks straight off the pages of our 1Q 2019 Economic Overview slide deck. It was straight down the middle and what you might kind of expect from an economic talk. That is until the end, when I sort of got up on a soapbox. You...

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John Norris talks to CNN about Stock Market Fear

April 15, 2019, by Lindsey Owens Krausen

“We're telling people that this feels nice, but enjoy it while it lasts. We could have periods this year that could be gut-wrenching,” OCB Chief Economist John Norris tells CNN reporter Paul LaMonica. Read the full article here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/09/investing/stock-market-fear/index.html  

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Common Cents & Zipping the Lip on April 12, 2019

April 12, 2019, by John Norris

This week, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos wrote the following in his annual letter to shareholders:   “Last year, we raised our minimum wage to $15-an-hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees across the U.S. This wage hike benefitted more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who worked at Amazon sites across the country last holiday. We strongly believe that this will benefit our business as we invest in...

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1st Quarter Economic Update for 2019

April 11, 2019, by John Norris

In last quarter’s newsletter, I closed this section with the following: “although the markets will likely be more volatile than most of us would like in 2019, the worst of the market panic is likely behind us for now." I only got that partially correct. Yes, the worst of the market panic ended up being behind us during the 1st Quarter of 2019. However, there hasn’t been a lot of volatility thus far this calendar...

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Dear John

April 10, 2019, by Lindsey Owens Krausen

Chief Economist, John Norris, answers the most commonly asked questions. Dear John, You all recently did a podcast about Artificial Intelligence (AI), and stated it was the reason why Washington has gotten interested in things like a Universal Basic Income and Modern Monetary Theory. While I am not sure about all the ins and outs of those theories, what is the likelihood robots will eventually replace humans in the workforce? First things first: thank you...

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