Musings & Insights

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...

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Oakworth Capital Bank Promotes Bill Pitts to Market Leader for Central Alabama Region

February 7, 2018, by Lindsey Owens Krausen

Oakworth Capital Bank has announced that William “Bill” Pitts will assume the position of Market Leader for the Central Alabama region, which includes Birmingham and the surrounding areas.  Since joining Oakworth, Mr. Pitts has contributed significantly to expand Oakworth’s market share for banking and wealth management, and continues to be recognized as an industry and civic leader within the community.  Mr. Pitts joined Oakworth in October of 2015 after 30 years in the financial industry. ...

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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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A Little Common Cents This Late in the Year?

December 29, 2017, by John Norris

Section I Here it is, the last business day of the year 2017. Outside my window, it is seasonably chilly without a cloud in the sky. Traffic on the highway, which I can just make out, is a little lighter than it ordinarily is at this time of day. The trees have all lost their leaves, and I struggling to make sense of this past year. For some reason, the first few lines of William...

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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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A Little Common Cents for December 15, 2018….a very little

December 15, 2017, by John Norris

Outside of politics, the big headline for week was the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting on Wednesday. This is the monetary policy making body of the Federal Reserve. In a move which surprised no one, the FOMC raised the overnight lending target rate between member banks from 1.25% to 1.50%. On Tuesday, the futures market put this at a 100% probability. The big question is: just how aggressive with the Fed be in raising...

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John Norris: Does corporate America really need a tax cut?

December 13, 2017, by John Norris

I have read numerous articles which asked the following question in a number of different ways: Does corporate America really need a tax cut? After all, big business pays a lot of people the big bucks to find loopholes and ways around paying its fair share, right? Apparently, these are the same companies which give their top executives eye popping salaries, with all kinds of perks on top of sweetheart fringe benefits. To be sure, there...

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