Musings & Insights

Some Common Cents for February 10th, 2017

February 13, 2017, by John Norris

Yesterday, I was one of the speakers for what once was called ‘career day’ at my daughter’s high school. These days, the official name is Kaleidoscope or something more catchy along those lines. Regardless, I talked about my job, gave some rudimentary advice, and, believe it or not, fielded a few questions. For my troubles, I got a hug, or three, and a loaf of really delicious banana nut bread. Truthfully, they didn’t have to...

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Some Common Cents for February 3rd, 2017

February 6, 2017, by John Norris

Ordinarily, the Employment Situation report is the biggest piece of news the first Friday of each month. Today, it isn’t, even though the Change in Nonfarm Payrolls was reasonable enough, some 226K net new jobs. So, something else, something big, must have happened, and it did. This morning, President Trump signed an executive order basically reviewing the Dodd-Frank financial system regulatory legislation. Ostensibly, and on its face, this is the proverbial first step in rolling...

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Some Common Cents for January 27th, 2017

January 30, 2017, by John Norris

This morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first stab at 4Q 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Since the BEA estimated the economy grew at a 3.5% annual rate for 3Q 2016, no one was expecting a huge number (or shouldn’t have). However, the 1.9% figure the BEA gave us was less than the so-called ‘consensus’ estimate of 2.2%, but it wasn’t surprising. In fact, it was the somewhat gaudy 3Q estimate I...

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Column: Will Bitcoin craze last?

January 19, 2017, by John Norris

Whenever I write anything about Bitcoin, I receive a number of emails from, um, well-wishers calling me any number of colorful names, to put it politely. It seems people have really strong opinions about their cryptocurrencies. Anyone who isn’t completely onboard with them is a Luddite, or worse, as I found out in no uncertain terms. I have a friend who knows my general opinion on Bitcoin, and he has been quick to tell me...

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Some Common Cents for December 16th, 2016

December 19, 2016, by John Norris

My wife had her office Christmas party last night, and came home with an Amazon Echo Dot she received as a gift from one of her co-workers. I was a little torn on this, as I had planned on getting her one, although largely just for the speaker aspect. So, I decided to proceed forth, and see what I could now buy to make the most of the thing. You know, wall adapters, and things...

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Some Common Cents for December 9th, 2016

December 12, 2016, by John Norris

If every year in the future flies by as quickly as 2016 has for me, I am going to go buy a burial plot and cheap suit for Christmas. Outside of 2008, it has been one of the craziest years I can remember in my career. I suppose I can blame a somewhat bizarre Presidential campaign for part of it. The mealy mouthed Federal Reserve also gets some blame. Finally, I have two teenagers, and...

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Some Common Cents for December 2nd, 2016

December 5, 2016, by John Norris

I am not sure it is because I have been doing this for as long as I have or because it really is the case, but the data is starting to look the same to me. I say this, because after reading this morning’s Employment Situation report for November, I had to wonder: is that all you got? It was as if the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had somehow ‘phoned it in.’ In fact,...

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Some Common Cents for November 4th, 2016

November 7, 2016, by John Norris

This week, a client told me my recent newsletters have taken the tone of a frustrated poet. I laughed and told them there was an element of truth to that. After all, the markets seem to be paying attention to only two things at present: 1) the Federal Reserve, and; 2) the Presidential election. How much more insight can any one individual provide over the reams of paper commentators, including yours truly, have already devoted...

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Some Common Cents for October 28th, 2016

October 31, 2016, by John Norris

Years ago, I was a pretty big Jimmy Buffet fan. I went to concerts, I bought albums, and I knew every word on “Songs You Know By Heart.” While I am no longer a pseudo-Parrothead, that album is still a pretty good choice for a sunset happy hour during warm weather months, if not the best. For my money, its only real competition is the Bob Marley & The Wailers compilation “Legend.” One afternoon during...

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Some Common Cents for October 21st, 2016

October 24, 2016, by John Norris

This past Sunday, my wife and I drank coffee and watched the morning news programs. At some point, the noise from the TV, histrionics actually, became ambient. To be sure, I am certain the commentators thought they were being terribly insightful, but I didn’t think so. It was so much Newspeak, a la 1984, to me, and I ultimately tuned it out. Perhaps there was something subliminal happening, because a feeling on unease came over...

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