National Economy

Some Common Cents for October 6, 2017

October 6, 2017, by John Norris

I started in this industry working on a buy-side bond trading desk, as well as managing money market and municipal bond funds. My employer in Baltimore had some pretty strict credit standards, and, as a result, we were not big buyers of Puerto Rican debt. This was a little unusual in the industry since the stuff ALWAYS had insurance which meant, at the time, it carried a triple-A rating. Further, due to favorable treatment from...

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John Norris: Warren Buffett’s long-range Dow prediction is hogwash

September 25, 2017, by John Norris

[caption id="attachment_2759" align="alignleft" width="259"] (Photo Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)[/caption] Last week, famed investor Warren Buffett boldly predicted the Dow Industrials will be over 1 million in 100 years. On its face, that would seem to be a pretty robust outlook. Dow 1 Million? Wow. If only, huh? The problem with such seemingly outlandish statements is they are hogwash, and I mean complete and utter rubbish. So much so, I will go Buffett one step farther and...

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Some Common Cents on September 22, 2017

September 22, 2017, by John Norris

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy making body of the Federal Reserve, met this week, and very people were concerned about what it would decide to do with the overnight lending target rate between member banks. This would be highly unusual but for the fact EVERYONE wanted greater insight regarding the hotly anticipated “unwinding” of the quantitative easing the Fed did during the aftermath of the financial crisis. In case you missed,...

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John Norris: Which came first? The consumer or the product?

September 18, 2017, by John Norris

My daughter will periodically declare herself a vegetarian for a number of different reasons, none of them dietary in nature. This will last for a few days or until the next time we have spaghetti for dinner, whichever comes first. It seems her convictions are no match for a good Bolognese sauce. A couple of weekends ago, she came home from college and we all went for a hike at one of the parks here...

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Some Common Cents for September 1, 2017

September 1, 2017, by John Norris

Recently, someone said to me: “with everything that is going on in the world, I bet there is no shortage of things for you to write about.” To be sure, it seems as though we are tearing ourselves apart at the seams, with Mother Nature lending a helping hand. However, there is a difference between headline stories and what actually impacts how we live our lives and conduct business. There are times when living in...

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Some Common Cents For August 25, 2017

August 25, 2017, by John Norris

Earlier this week, someone forwarded to me a link to an old video clip of a debate, if that is the right word, between Milton Friedman and Phil Donahue. The issue at hand was greed. Donahue’s argument was the, presumed, inherent greed within capitalism leads to an unfair distribution of resources. Depending on how you view the world, Friedman’s response was either completely misguided or analogous to the virtuous killing of a mosquito with a...

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Some Common Cents for August 11th, 2017

August 11, 2017, by John Norris

During a conference call on Monday, I told our wealth management associates the markets were/are as boring as I had/have seen them in my career. A steady diet of modest economic growth and acceptable, if unremarkable, earnings will do that. Further, there is really nothing on the foreseeable horizon to suggest any significant change. Yesterday, the stock markets sold off, and a number of people have asked me whether this is the start of something...

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Some Common Cents for July 14th, 2017

July 14, 2017, by John Norris

The other night, I dreamt a massive meteor hit the earth. Since I typically dream in comedy and am not prone to worrying during waking hours, this was both a departure from the norm and somewhat disconcerting. After all, not much good will come out of a cube with 1 mile edges hurtling into the earth from deep space at what could only be described as a very rapid rate of speed. Perhaps my dream...

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Some Common Cents for July 7th, 2017

July 10, 2017, by John Norris

I have recently written about the potential for some form of consolidated government in the Birmingham metropolitan area. For those not in the know, many, if not most, of our suburbs have incorporated themselves over the last 70+ years. The endgame has been a relatively diminished ‘center city’ surrounded by fully functioning municipalities with their own unique identities. Tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands, in the metro area might not even...

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Some Common Cents for June 30th, 2017

June 30, 2017, by John Norris

I am able to track how many people who directly receive Common Cents actually go to the trouble to open it. Last week, I apparently touched on a subject of particular interest, because the number of ‘click throughs’ was significantly higher than it has been in, quite literally, months. If you didn’t read it, it was about the discussion surrounding a consolidated form of local government for the Birmingham metropolitan area (MSA). More specifically, the debate...

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