U.S. Small Business Earnings At Record Levels

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According to the results of a recent survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a lobbying organization that represents small business owners nationwide, small business earnings are at record levels and optimism is also at very high levels. NFIB’s chief economist attributes improving consumer spending, the new tax law and lower regulatory barriers … Continued

Killing the Golden Goose?

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Seattle is proposing to levy a tax on local employers that make $20 million or more in taxable gross receipts.  Amazon has announced that it is pausing further construction planning of a building to be built in downtown Seattle and is reconsidering plans to occupy a building that is already built, potentially jeopardizing 7,000 new … Continued

Labor-Force Participation, Revisited

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We have previously discussed the importance of labor-force participation (see blog from 09 Jan 2018).  The recently reported February jobs report was probably about as good as it gets. Nonfarm payrolls grew by 313,000, the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%, wages grew by a too modest 0.1% and, most important, the labor-force participation rate … Continued

Uncertainty

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Uncertainty describes a situation without a straight forward description involving ambiguous and/or unknown information. Markets don’t like uncertainty. Markets tend to over react in the near term, as traders attempt to get ahead of any suggestion of a possible change in sentiment. Recently, markets reacted sharply to an announcement relating to the possibility of new … Continued

A Win for Investors

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Several months ago Facebook announced a plan to create a new, third class of nonvoting shares, designed to further strengthen Mark Zuckerberg’s voting control.  According to the latest proxy information, he already holds approximately 60% of the voting power in a two class stock structure. A trial for a class action law suit, seeking to … Continued

Dow One Million?

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Warren Buffett, speaking at an event to mark the 100th anniversary of Forbes magazine, suggested that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) would be “over 1 million” in 100 years. One million may look like a big number, and it is, but it only assumes a compound average annual return of approximately 4%.  Considering that … Continued

Tulips and Bitcoins

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Paul Vigna, in a recent Wall Street Journal article, pointed out that “digital currency fans are partying like its 1999.” Perhaps Mr. Vigna may want to look further back than 1999, to 1637.  That is when, according to Wikipedia, during a period in the Dutch Golden Age, the contract prices for a single tulip bulb … Continued

Understanding Quarterly Progress

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Investors typically look at quarterly and annual reported operating results on a year-over-year basis.  In other words, what was the percentage change compared to the prior year period. It is important to also consider sequential change.  That is, what was the change compared to the previous quarter.  Obviously this is not particularly helpful in looking … Continued

Penny Wise Pound Foolish

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On Sunday evening, April 9, United Continental caused a passenger to be forcibly removed from a flight between Chicago O’Hare and Louisville, KY. By acting in what appears to have been in full adherence to the appropriate rules, United Continental may have saved some money and transported a flight crew to Louisville in order to … Continued

Nuggets from The Oracle of Omaha

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Warren Buffett sent his letter to shareholders over the weekend.  While there are so many factors that make him possibly the greatest investor, his ability to communicate with the masses has to be near the top of the list.  While not everyone wants to read the entire 28 page letter (although I would recommend it), … Continued

Brexit, Exit Update

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With the resolution of the appropriate, legal path for the implementation of Brexit, the British House of Commons began debating the issue on January 31.  It is currently expected that a final bill will be approved by early March, after which, negotiations with the European Union (EU) can commence.  This process may take some time. … Continued