Tips on Hiring a Party Entertainer

If you are thinking about hiring a party entertainer then there are some things that you should keep in mind. The right entertainment can be the perfect complement to a party. A clown for a children’s birthday party or a string quartet for a black tie party can really set the mood. Whatever kind of party or entertainment you have in mind, the basics of what to do and what to ask are the same. Here are some tips for hiring entertainment for your party.The first place to look for party entertainment is to ask around for a great recommendation. If your child comes home from a birthday party and raved about the magician, then get the name from the host. Also ask the host what they thought of the entertainer. Take a note of the bad recommendations too.Make an appointment with the entertainer to discuss your party and get to know them. Have a list of questions including cost, services offered, and how much experience they have. Get a list of references from them. This is a great time to see what type of person they are and whether or not you click with them. Ask if you can view them performing at an upcoming event.Take some time to call their references. Ask them how the performance was and what their guests thought. You should also check with the Better Business Bureau too.Sign a contract with the entertainer that is very detailed. Make sure that the compensation agreed upon is listed as well as what services the performer is providing and for how long. The contract should also list the time, place, and date for the performance. This is also a great time to add a clause for a no show or cancellations. Hiring a party entertainer should be a breeze with these tips. It will definitely add an extra element to your party.

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Lessons From a Tide Brand Manager – Brand Building

Procter & Gamble has had the reputation as the premier brand builder over the years. Their methods have been copied by many companies, not only in consumer packaged goods, but across a wide variety of industries. The company has a full dedication to providing its consumers with brands and not just products. What does that mean? It means that they are committed to establishing their products and their performance as promising something specific to consumers and then delivering on that promise. Consumers get a product that not only works and works better than most, but also the confidence that the product will do exactly what is claimed.There are a number of significant lessons that have been learned over the course of a 23 year career at Procter & Gamble like I had. This is part of a series of articles which will share some of those lessons.Here are some thoughts about brand building:A great brand can be in any industry.
As I said above, it isn’t just consumer packaged goods brands like Tide, Olay, Pampers and Crest that have recognized the value of brand building instead of product selling. Some categories may lend themselves to branding better than others, but almost any product offers an opportunity to create a frame of mind that’s unique. Nike, for example, is leveraging the emotional connection that people have with sports and fitness. In the technology industry, most people do not know what Intel processors do or why they are superior to their competition. All they know is that they want to own a computer with “Intel inside.” And are willing to pay more for it.A great brand understands what and who it is.
To build a great brand you have to understand who you are. Go to consumers and find out what they like or dislike about the brand and what they associate as the very core of the brand concept. That gets you started. To keep a brand alive over the long haul, to keep it vital, you’ve got to do something new and reenergize it. It has to be related to the brand’s core position. Many mistakes are made by trying to make the brand something that it is not and more importantly, what customers do not believe it is.A great brand is relevant.
Knowing oneself leads to establishing relevance. It meets what people want and performs the way people expect. The delivery of the message may change to stay current but the basic promise stays unchanged and relevant. Consumers are looking for something that has lasting value. There’s a quest for quality, not quantity.A great brand changes the game for the entire category.
Procter & Gamble brands have dramatically changed their categories – Tide in fabric care, Crest in dental care, Olay in beauty care, Pampers in baby care. Other brands like Disney, Apple, Nike, and Starbucks have made it an explicit goal to be the protagonists for each of their entire categories. Disney is the protagonist for fun family entertainment and family values. Apple wasn’t just a protagonist for the computer revolution but a protagonist for the individual becoming more productive, informed, and contemporary. They have changed information flow with the IPhone and IPad. A great brand raises the bar — it adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience.A great brand capitalizes on emotions.
The common ground among companies that have built great brands is not just performance. Emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions. Not many people discuss the benefits of the high performance Mercedes engines. But they do picture themselves sitting behind the wheel of this luxury automobile. A brand reaches out with that kind of powerful connecting experience. It’s an emotional connection point that transcends the product. And transcending the product is the brand.A great brand has design consistency.
Fashion brands may be the most obvious example. Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, for example. have a consistent look and feel and a high level of design integrity. They refuse to follow any fashion trend that doesn’t fit their vision. They’re able to pull it off from one season to the next. Strong brands like Levi’s, Gap, Disney and Procter & Gamble consumer brands have a design that supports the brand image in the minds of the customer.A great brand operates for the long term.
Many of Procter & Gamble brands are close to a century old and in the case of Ivory soap, one hundred and fifty years old. These brands are based on solid value propositions. Conversely, in the past two decades, many companies stopped building strong brands. As a result, there were a lot of products with very little differentiation. All the consumers saw was who had the lowest price. Many of these products are off the shelves and many companies are out of business.There is a key lesson from Procter & Gamble who have a stable of billion, yes billion dollar world wide brands. In an age of accelerating product proliferation, enormous customer choice, and growing clutter and clamor in the marketplace, a great brand is a necessity, not a luxury. If you take a long-term approach, a great brand can travel worldwide, transcend cultural barriers, speak to multiple consumer segments simultaneously, create economies of scale, and earn higher margins over the long term.ThanksJohn

Why Online Education Is More Convenient Than Traditional Learning

Anyone who is born after the 1990′s will take the internet for granted. The 24/7 access to all the knowledge of absolutely every type of information is a blessing. Definitely, the invention of the internet and its rapid evolution in our daily lives has also exposed us to malicious virus, spam emails, pop-up ads and a number of different ways to waste our time. But generally, internet has been regarded as one of the most impactful and positive innovations in the current history. The internet has not only reshaped the society, but also reshaped humanity.It is sad, but our culture has always struggled to reconcile our previous practices with the current technologies. Businesses and corporations are learning the importance of big data and IT departments. Universities are also keeping up their pace with growing demand for research, IT and computer courses. And with the evolution leading towards connected and busy – but inspiring lives on a restricted budget we have urbanized the most competent tools to maximize both money and time. Online education is the newest trend for distance learning and gaining popularity among people who want to get schooled but on their own terms.Why Is Online Education More Convenient Than Traditional Learning?Online education is becoming more popular and is gaining an edge over the traditional education. Following are some of the reasons why:1. Choice Of Schools, Courses And Programs – The benefit enjoyed by the distance learner of shorthand in the 18th century still get to be enjoyed by the online learners. One of the best benefits of online education is your geographic location doesn’t matter at all. Online learners have the advantage to learn which ever course they like from any university.2. Flexibility – This is another advantage that students get in distance learning, from email assignment to photograph recording. You can mold your class schedule and make it fit in your life. Complete the assignments when you have free time and availability. This is especially good for those people who lead a busy life and honestly speaking, nowadays everyone lead a busy life.3. Learning Pace – Online learning allows students to learn everything at their pace, they have the advantage to repeat the same material again for proper understanding rather than speeding up. This is a plus point as you can access the material 24 hours a day and take as much time as you need in reviewing it. If you want to cover it all in a week you can do it easily and if you want to take the time you can cover it in a month, all is fine.4. Lower Stress – We are not saying that online courses are easy or don’t need any hard work. But provided with the flexibility of time, one doesn’t need to get up 7 am in the morning to take classes after staying up all night long completing the barely edited assignment. With the proper timetable setting you can afford to get time to complete what you need to do and when you want to do it.5. Participation – Students in an online class are required to interact with one another through some forum. But in traditional classroom not all students get a chance to speak, whereas in online forums every single student stands their own ground and puts in their point or opinion. This is beneficial for those individuals who are not that confident or are quieter in traditional classes.6. Independence – Since you have to make your own schedule and you can decide yourself when to complete your assignments and submit them. You get a complete independence in your study, plus you won’t be having a negative impact on those students who sadly don’t really care to be there.7. Monetary Savings – College costs are increasing day by day and the price of online courses is just a fraction of that amount. Students now understanding that high prices, don’t mean quality education and an affordable online course can also offer great benefits. Plus online courses don’t bring on additional costs like hostel accommodation and transportation.8. Transfer Of Credits – For college students who need to take summer classes but live far away or have summer jobs, taking online courses is the best solution for them. They can take online classes from a credible college and then transfer the credits to their primary college. This is helpful as students will be able to get college credits while they can enjoy their vacation or fulfill their responsibilities.9. Career Advancement – Additionally taking online courses means you can easily complete entire degrees, do your part-time job or even take care of kids and family. This academic work will also explain any gaps in the resume. Also, additional courses in your resume will show potential employers that you are an ambitious person and want to stay updated with new information and your ready to take new challenges.10. Avoid Commuting – During severe weather conditions colleges or universities may cancel classes. If they don’t cancel the class, then you run the risk of getting hurt if driving in bad weather. In online courses, students don’t get to miss their classes no matter how severe the weather is. With access to discussion boards, chat sessions, reading material and watching lectures, students can access their online course at any time. Many students also find online learning better as compared to traditional learning because it cuts down fuel costs.In the nutshell, more and more colleges and universities are offering online courses either with their traditional curriculum or exclusive courses. And the assistance of online learning keeps on increasing in terms of quality and number. So the question is, whether online education is good enough for you? A study was released in 2010 by the US Department of Education concluding that students who gain education through online learning perform better on an average, as compared to the students who learn the same course from traditional classes. So you got all the facts in front of you and it’s your decision to select the best option for yourself.

Social Networking and Viral Marketing Blend Together to Create Viral Social Networking

Social networking becomes “viral” by blending the traditional social networking process with aspects of viral marketing such as word-of-mouth (WOM) communications. This blending creates a powerful and influential business promotional tool that increases online sales and Website traffic. Here are several highlights from the comprehensive research that was conducted to validate or contradict my theory regarding the effects.I first scoured dozens of top-quality academic research journals. These journals publish the work of the best and brightest academic minds all over the world. I found several sources that demonstrated how a company’s activity within social networking sites, including viral marketing aspects like WOM communications, could help a company build an “online brand community” when a product for sale is the centerpiece of the strategy activity. I also dug into the research studies to see if I could determine whether or not a brand community could facilitate a consumer’s decision-making process (product adoption), which is clearly the end goal.Incidentally, this intensive research also helped me uncover a number of linkages that later formed the foundation for the three Cs in viral social networking: conversation, community, and commerce.Social networking sites serve as arenas for consumers to share their reviews and preferences about products or services. When consumers share these reviews, the exchange of information becomes WOM communications, because a product or service is the centerpiece of the message. WOM is a form of viral marketing.Another study also determined the effectiveness of WOM’s role in the flow of information as well as the flow of influence. This makes WOM communications an attractive part of the marketing mix, because as an unpaid endorsement for products or services, WOM can be the most believable form of advertising. Brand communities are composed of people who possess a social identification with others who share their interest in a particular brand. In addition, brand communities are non-geographic, meaning they can exist anywhere including on the Internet. This gives a businessperson the ability to these tools to create a powerful and influential online brand community for their business.Based on the data, it seemed reasonable to conclude that if brand communities are composed of people sharing common interests just like social networks, viral marketing activities like WOM communications are prominent within social networks, and brand communities can exist entirely online, then social networking sites have the potential to serve as the platform to develop an online brand community.I also found existing research that suggested marketers could leverage the power of interpersonal relationships found between members of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote a product or service. The concept assumes that the electronic peer-to-peer communications such as WOM are an effective means to transform communication networks into influence networks. These could be used to capture recipients’ attention, trigger interest, and eventually lead to sales.However, the effort needed to build an online brand community via social networking activities would only be valuable if the community positively affects the sales process. Therefore, I felt it was necessary to quantifiably measure the effectiveness of a brand community’s ability to increase online sales. Or does an online brand community simply bring people together who have a common interest in a particular product or service? Unfortunately, none of the existing studies specifically tested this impact.This is what motivated me to invest my money and test my theory and collect my own data. The results were impressive because the effects of viral social networking are profound. Viral social networking has the ability to increase traffic to a business Website by 23 percent as well as increase the online conversion rate from the typical 2 to 4 percent, up to 22 percent. That represents a 780 percent increase in conversion rate!

Coming Up Empty In Education Reform

The recent forays into public education reform from the No Child Left Behind Act, the Core Curriculum mandate, and standardize tests have all placed public education on notice that once again our policy decision makers have continued their assault on education. All they have done has resulted in a educational system that continues to fail our youth. From the mainstream Republican stance of what they have done in issuing these mandates they literally shoved down the public’s throats misguided attempts at education reform. This is nothing more than political expediency. What has been occurring with all these mandates is a continuation of glossing over the real underlying problems facing education in this country. If education was run like a business there would be far more accountability and structure in our public schools today. But, like everything else our most stupendous governmental officials have done is thrown tax dollars down the toilet. Meanwhile our youth are far worse off today in educational standards compared to the rest of the world.Someone once said just recently that teachers alone cannot change conditions in our schools. The only way to gain back the supremacy we had in educational standards that prevailed in the 1950′s and early 1960′s will take nothing short of a revolution. When we take a good hard look at the landscape of America today we find that the US is indeed fractured. In one hand we have the wealthiest few who control the all too powerful politicians, Those self serving bureaucrats continue to overlook the obvious distress that the majority of Americas are wallowing in. Then there is the majority of the population, those multitudes wallowing in desperation hoping that somehow someday soon things will get better. Meanwhile our youth, the future generations of Americans continue to suffer the consequences of failed educational mandates and initiatives by a political system that by its own nature fails to grasp what really is needed to reverse the effects of years of meddling in educational policies that worked for decades prior to the late 1960′s.The one key component in education reform where students in all grade levels are able to succeed is always overlooked by our illustrious bureaucrats. When we really take a close look into America today we find their are so many children just like Bob and Jane Smith. Brother and sister both are sixth graders at Roosevelt Elementary. Typical children, but what their teachers didn’t know until latter their parents lost their home when Mr. Smith got laid off and the bank foreclosed. For over a year the Smiths have had to live in a two bedroom apartment in a not so nice area. And, with only one income, a minimum wage job at Walmart many a night Bob and Jane don’t get enough to eat let alone the proper vitamins and nutrition they both need during the day. When we really stop to think what is actually occurring all across the country today it is unconscionable to think that over one third of the countries school age children are literally starving. The fact of the matter is nutrition really does play the most vital role in a child’s growth and development. But, what is so disconcerting is the fact that those policy makers fail to take into account that food, nutrition, vitamins and minerals are essential for not only physical development and health but are necessary for mental growth and mental health in every human being.When schools today are judged solely on test scores the prevailing contention is that poverty should never be an excuse for poor academic achievement still remains the stance of policy makers. And, as long as test scores are at par our policy makers continue to be unconcerned if the pantries are bare, the parents jobless or worse yet in jail and the gap between the rich and poor is more appalling than it’s been since 1929. We now have a whole society of mounting inequality, where the wealthiest few totally ignore, are too blind to see and just plain oblivious to the harsh reality facing countless millions of children each and every day.Food insecurity of our nations youth continues to undermine this nations ability to compete in an ever increasing global economy. But, it is not the only factor the has diminished this nations education prominence. When the Common Core Curriculum was implemented in so many states it dismantled many of the founding building blocks in elementary and secondary education that stood as the standard for over 100 years. This, regardless of all the new technology integrated into school systems still will have an adverse effect on generations of our youth. Take for example cursive writing. It is now obsolete in the minds of so many school boards. Their rational is why spend time learning penmanship where today all you need is a computer keyboard. The time spent on penmanship now can be used for more useful subjects that are more relevant to today. As many of us remember it was a right of passage for generations learning how to write. Signing your name is just one of the most useful tools we use today as adults.This is only the tip of the iceberg in education reform that is already taking it’s toll on our nations youth. When one walks into any public school in Anytown USA many a baby boomer is quite shocked to see what is actually going on in our schools. All one has to do is read the latest paper to find that another school age student was bullied actually to death. Never before has this country been inundated with so many social crisis that allows public schools to be a haven for so much bulling. A moral crisis has taken over in so many parts of the country. It really does underscore that our public education reforms for the past twenty years and counting has only systematically rendered our public school system at the bottom of the heap in regards to other developed countries around the world.In education especially for elementary and secondary age youth it is vital that physical education be as important as math or science. A prime example is a private school in the state of New York that mandates the first 3 hours of every day to rigorous physical activity. In doing so these students, every one of them has excelled exceptionally in core curriculum studies such as science and math. The benefits of physical exercise whether it is competitive sports or not clearly shows a vast improvement in academics. To have school systems retard or eliminate all together physical education clearly puts our nations youth not only at health risks but undermines our nations future stability and security. Many a time it is budgetary constraints that play an external factor in the elimination of Physical Ed. But, the reality is the hard cold fact that our nations youth obesity rates are among the highest in the world and consequently all the health risks related to our obesity rates do cost a hell of allot more than if we mandated Physical Ed. to begin with.With the advent of so much technology especially the hand held personal computer has really taken it’s tool on the way our youth today are being educated. Gone in so many elementary schools across the country are the days when students were required stand at the old chalk board and work out math or other subject problems. Where the interaction of fellow students and teachers was actually encouraged. What we are witnessing today is the only interaction occurring is on a very interpersonal one. One can understand the importance of self confidence when students first over come the fear of standing in front of their contemporaries by trying to solve a problem at the chalkboard. That is not the case any longer.Today, too many of our youth are being classified with ADT otherwise known a Attention Deficit Disorder. Probable cause, diet, genetics, and many consider their environment also contributes to its cause. What ever the cause too many of our youth are all lumped into this category and too many are prescribed prescription drugs like Ritalin. These drugs do nothing to cure or direct that hyperactivity into positive constructive endeavors. From a personal point of view took place over fifty five years ago when my father took control and put me on a path that transformed my life. Back in the Fifties ADT wasn’t a known diagnosis all my father knew I was a very hyper active kid, always getting into trouble. Sometimes I get caught and boy that was when corporal punishment came with a hard spank on the bottom. But, most time I managed to escape unscathed. My parents knew I was the fastest kid on the block. Nobody could catch me. It was one afternoon thought that changed all that when my father came home from work. That one afternoon while watching cartoons on our small TV was when my father pulled me aside and said “I have a present for us.” He then proceeded to hand me a small wrapped box. After tearing open the box to my dismay was a small stop watch. It was from that moment on I knew my life was going in a new direction. From that afternoon on my father took me to the old high school track field where I was coached running 440′s, half miles, and the mile. At first I loathed going but the gradual success at track and cross-country I not only succeeded in school but got into a major university.A life long pursuit of fitness and a desire to succeed resulted because of my fathers influence, help and encouragement. Today most of our youth aren’t as fortunate as I was. It is a sad commentary for our times that too many elementary age children come from single parent homes. A whole spectrum of factors are involved now that weren’t back in the 1950′s. What is happening today there really is a sense of foreboding tension, a silent force that is ripping across our moral fiber, a sagging truth of unprecedented demise of morality, liberty, and justice. The world we once new in our youth is no more. We now are faced with the consequences of our actions and of our inactions of what we have done in the name of social liberalization in public education all across the country.There is another factor in what has happened in our school systems over the years. It was on a recent visit to one of Tampa Bay’s public schools just to see first hand what it is like to be a student today. First impressions they say are worth a thousand words. Well, in this case that first impression I was totally unprepared for what my eyes were actually seeing. Gaining entry was no small task. Nowadays one has to press a buzzer and state name and reason for your visit. It would help to call before hand to make things go allot smoother. Fortunately, this visit upon entering there were no metal detectors that from my understanding are the norm in so many other schools all through-out the country. Now, as I approach the main hallway being escorted by a teacher or teachers aid through the maze of scantly clad young girls and droopy baggy panted boys cell phones a buzzing I couldn’t tell the difference between the students or my escort they all dressed very sloppily. It is a known fact that today over 40% of students do themselves a very huge disservice by cheating on their exams when they have access to personal cell phones in class. If they do it in secondary or even in elementary levels just think of the percentage of students that cheat in college. A very disturbing fact that has a very disastrous effect in business and our whole economy suffers because of it.Finally made it to the main office where on a small table in the corner were a stack of papers outlining necessary items each student was supposed to have in their possession. Stuffed into every bodies backpack were items such as a calculator. Oh, that really amazes me. So much for the arithmetic tables one is supposed to memorize. Next comes the hand sanitizer for our disease conscious society. Heaven forbid we forget to use soap and water. Maybe with all the budget cuts especially in our public schools soap is a luxury that now is unaffordable. With all the backpacks packed with those so-called essentials as well as the actual course books I have a feeling that this generation is going to have an awful lot of back problems as they get older. Maybe, because again of all the cut backs in the one program that will help more than any others is physical education. Now, one of the first programs to go under the ax when budgets are trimmed. As in so many instances today. One of the most disturbing trends today in our public schools there really are too many administrators. But, we got to cut physical education, arts, music appreciation and all the other so called no essential programs that would otherwise contribute to an overall educational experience.Now, when one steps into a school it is more apparent than ever when we walk away with the realization that somehow our own society itself is to blame for this nations failings in public education. Silly me, to want our youth to have more respect for themselves as well as others. Two of the four principals this nation was built upon Education and Morality both go hand in hand. The morality today, well there practically isn’t any. Sure there are remnants where the morality of generations past hold true but, for the most part is sadly lacking by the majority of students in practically every public school system in the country.The decorum that is displayed by so many sets the tone for failing or not. Amoral societies too often fall where as a society who embraces and practices basic moral values rises and flourishes. Maybe, with all the political rhetoric about creating another great society we would really look at why our society’s moral values have all but disappeared. This is where and why our school systems have to reform and reestablish codes of etiquette and dress in every school. This would go a long way in bringing back moral values in our youth as well as the professionalism that our teachers must display.When we look at other top flight educational systems through-out the world like Japan and Sweden professionalism and morality displayed keep those countries on the cutting edge of education and consequently their whole economy flourishes as a result. Just look at the period from 1952 – 1968. The United States economy reached heights never before or since attained. When morality along with education improve so does any economy. That is how to rebuild our nation.Not only has our whole educational system been reprogrammed to do more harm than good our youth today are being continually subjected to the cultural stimulus that have had profound effects not positively mind you but have basically encouraged more of a amoral culture. The continuing escalation of youth violence whether it involves gangs, other issues that could stem from the lack of parental influence, or just the way our society has changed in the last few decades all have influenced a generation of youth and their interpretation of the freedom of speech. The United States Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech. This right comes with a responsibility. What we say does have a direct affect on the actions of others. A case in point; The Federal Communications Standard for appropriate expression on TV, radio, recordings, Magazines etc. Now studies and statistics show that there is a direct correlation with the escalation of youth violence with the relaxing of acceptable standards by public forms of communication.Our youth are very impressionable and are not fully capable mentally of handling the responsibility of today’s freedom of expression. A good example is noted in the book ” Lord of the Flies.” Education is the best approach but along with education has to come with it’s own natural maturity that comes through the aging process from infancy through young adult. Each phase of aging comes with it’s own physical, mental, and emotional progressions. If we skip from adolescence to young adult with-out going through the natural aging progressions these individuals will not be equipped in all aspects to handle the responsibilities that are imposed on the life cycle they are thrust into.The youth of today are continually being exposed to ideas, situations, and material items they are not yet equipped mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially to effectively uses. This causes great harm not only to themselves but to society as well. What needs to be done is to reestablish the standards of conduct and speech that were enforced back in the middle of the 20th century. The rebuilding of ethical standards is essential for the continuation of our society. What happens when a society reverts to rampant disregard for themselves and others is a destruction of freedom everywhere.When we talk of education reform we do have a responsibility to our youth to entrust in them the ideals and principals along with the moral ethics that were the basis on which our whole society was founded on over 200 years ago. Integrated with the technology coinciding with a lifestyle that encourages a passion for the arts, athletics, and academics is essential for a balanced society to flourish and prosper. That is education reform. To accomplish this it takes a whole conceptual approach. From financial security we come away with food security, With food security of our nations youth equals more economic opportunity for our future. And, the only way to achieve this is through passage and implementation of National Economic Reforms Ten Articles of Confederation.

S&P 500 Rallies As U.S. Dollar Pulls Back Towards Weekly Lows

Key Insights
The strong pullback in the U.S. dollar provided significant support to stocks.
Treasury yields have pulled back after touching new highs, which served as an additional positive catalyst for S&P 500.
A move above 3730 will push S&P 500 towards the resistance level at 3760.
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Pfizer Rallies After Announcing A Huge Price Hike For Its COVID-19 Vaccines
S&P 500 is currently trying to settle above 3730 as traders’ appetite for risk is growing. The U.S. dollar has recently gained strong downside momentum as the BoJ intervened to stop the rally in USD/JPY. Weaker U.S. dollar is bullish for stocks as it increases profits of multinational companies and makes U.S. equities cheaper for foreign investors.

The leading oil services company Schlumberger is up by 9% after beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Schlumberger’s peers Baker Hughes and Halliburton have also enjoyed strong support today.

Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna gained strong upside momentum after Pfizer announced that it will raise the price of its coronavirus vaccine to $110 – $130 per shot.

Biggest losers today include Verizon and Twitter. Verizon is down by 5% despite beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Subscriber numbers missed estimates, and traders pushed the stock to multi-year lows.

Twitter stock moved towards the $50 level as the U.S. may conduct a security review of Musk’s purchase of the company.

From a big picture point of view, today’s rebound is broad, and most market segments are moving higher. Treasury yields have started to move lower after testing new highs, providing additional support to S&P 500. It looks that some traders are ready to bet that Fed will be less hawkish than previously expected.

S&P 500 Tests Resistance At 3730

S&P 500 has recently managed to get above the 20 EMA and is trying to settle above the resistance at 3730. RSI is in the moderate territory, and there is plenty of room to gain additional upside momentum in case the right catalysts emerge.

If S&P 500 manages to settle above 3730, it will head towards the next resistance level at 3760. A successful test of this level will push S&P 500 towards the next resistance at October highs at 3805. The 50 EMA is located in the nearby, so S&P 500 will likely face strong resistance above the 3800 level.

On the support side, the previous resistance at 3700 will likely serve as the first support level for S&P 500. In case S&P 500 declines below this level, it will move towards the next support level at 3675. A move below 3675 will push S&P 500 towards the support at 3640.

SPDN: An Inexpensive Way To Profit When The S&P 500 Falls

Summary
SPDN is not the largest or oldest way to short the S&P 500, but it’s a solid choice.
This ETF uses a variety of financial instruments to target a return opposite that of the S&P 500 Index.
SPDN’s 0.49% Expense Ratio is nearly half that of the larger, longer-tenured -1x Inverse S&P 500 ETF.
Details aside, the potential continuation of the equity bear market makes single-inverse ETFs an investment segment investor should be familiar with.
We rate SPDN a Strong Buy because we believe the risks of a continued bear market greatly outweigh the possibility of a quick return to a bull market.
Put a gear stick into R position, (Reverse).
Birdlkportfolio

By Rob Isbitts

Summary
The S&P 500 is in a bear market, and we don’t see a quick-fix. Many investors assume the only way to navigate a potentially long-term bear market is to hide in cash, day-trade or “just hang in there” while the bear takes their retirement nest egg.

The Direxion Daily S&P 500® Bear 1X ETF (NYSEARCA:SPDN) is one of a class of single-inverse ETFs that allow investors to profit from down moves in the stock market.

SPDN is an unleveraged, liquid, low-cost way to either try to hedge an equity portfolio, profit from a decline in the S&P 500, or both. We rate it a Strong Buy, given our concern about the intermediate-term outlook for the global equity market.

Strategy
SPDN keeps it simple. If the S&P 500 goes up by X%, it should go down by X%. The opposite is also expected.

Proprietary ETF Grades
Offense/Defense: Defense

Segment: Inverse Equity

Sub-Segment: Inverse S&P 500

Correlation (vs. S&P 500): Very High (inverse)

Expected Volatility (vs. S&P 500): Similar (but opposite)

Holding Analysis
SPDN does not rely on shorting individual stocks in the S&P 500. Instead, the managers typically use a combination of futures, swaps and other derivative instruments to create a portfolio that consistently aims to deliver the opposite of what the S&P 500 does.

Strengths
SPDN is a fairly “no-frills” way to do what many investors probably wished they could do during the first 9 months of 2022 and in past bear markets: find something that goes up when the “market” goes down. After all, bonds are not the answer they used to be, commodities like gold have, shall we say, lost their luster. And moving to cash creates the issue of making two correct timing decisions, when to get in and when to get out. SPDN and its single-inverse ETF brethren offer a liquid tool to use in a variety of ways, depending on what a particular investor wants to achieve.

Weaknesses
The weakness of any inverse ETF is that it does the opposite of what the market does, when the market goes up. So, even in bear markets when the broader market trend is down, sharp bear market rallies (or any rallies for that matter) in the S&P 500 will cause SPDN to drop as much as the market goes up.

Opportunities
While inverse ETFs have a reputation in some circles as nothing more than day-trading vehicles, our own experience with them is, pardon the pun, exactly the opposite! We encourage investors to try to better-understand single inverse ETFs like SPDN. While traders tend to gravitate to leveraged inverse ETFs (which actually are day-trading tools), we believe that in an extended bear market, SPDN and its ilk could be a game-saver for many portfolios.

Threats
SPDN and most other single inverse ETFs are vulnerable to a sustained rise in the price of the index it aims to deliver the inverse of. But that threat of loss in a rising market means that when an investor considers SPDN, they should also have a game plan for how and when they will deploy this unique portfolio weapon.

Proprietary Technical Ratings
Short-Term Rating (next 3 months): Strong Buy

Long-Term Rating (next 12 months): Buy

Conclusions
ETF Quality Opinion
SPDN does what it aims to do, and has done so for over 6 years now. For a while, it was largely-ignored, given the existence of a similar ETF that has been around much longer. But the more tenured SPDN has become, the more attractive it looks as an alternative.

ETF Investment Opinion

SPDN is rated Strong Buy because the S&P 500 continues to look as vulnerable to further decline. And, while the market bottomed in mid-June, rallied, then waffled since that time, our proprietary macro market indicators all point to much greater risk of a major decline from this level than a fast return to bull market glory. Thus, SPDN is at best a way to exploit and attack the bear, and at worst a hedge on an otherwise equity-laden portfolio.

S&P 500 Biotech Giant Vertex Leads 5 Stocks Showing Strength

Your stocks to watch for the week ahead are Cheniere Energy (LNG), S&P 500 biotech giant Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), Cardinal Health (CAH), Steel Dynamics (STLD) and Genuine Parts (GPC).

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While the market remains in correction, with analysts and investors wary of an economic downturn, these five stocks are worth adding to watchlists. S&P 500 medical giants Vertex and Cardinal Health have been holding up, as health-care related plays tend to do well in down markets.

Steel Dynamics and Genuine Parts are both coming off strong earnings as both the steel and auto parts industries report optimistic outlooks. Meanwhile, Cheniere Energy saw sales boom in the second quarter as demand in Europe for natural gas continues to grow.

Major indexes have been making rally attempts with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 testing weekly support on Friday. With market uncertainty, investors should be ready for follow-through day breakouts and keep an eye on these stocks.

Cheniere Energy, Cardinal Health and VRTX stock are all on IBD Leaderboard.

Cheniere Energy Stock
LNG shares rose 1.1% to 175.79 during Friday’s market trading. On the week, the stock advanced 3.1%, not from highs, bouncing from its 21-day and 10-week lines earlier in the week.

Cheniere Energy has been consolidating since mid-September, but needs another week to forge a proper base, with a potential 182.72 buy point formed on Aug. 10.

Houston-based Cheniere Energy was IBD Stock Of The Day on Thursday, as the largest U.S. producer of liquefied natural gas eyes strong demand in Europe.

Even though natural gas prices are plunging in the U.S. and Europe, investors still see strong LNG demand for Cheniere and others.

The U.K. government confirmed last week that it is in talks for an LNG purchase agreement with a number of companies, including Cheniere.

In the first half of 2021, less than 40% of Cheniere’s cargoes of LNG landed in Europe. That jumped to more than 70% through this year’s second quarter, even as the company ramped up new export capacity. The urgency of Europe’s natural gas shortage only intensified last month. That is when an explosion disabled the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia that had once supplied 40% of the European Union’s natural gas.

In Q2, sales increased 165% to $8 billion and LNG earned $2.90 per share, up from a net loss of $1.30 per share in Q2 2021. The company will report Q3 earnings Nov. 3, with investors seeing booming profits for the next few quarters.

Cheniere Energy has a Composite Rating of 84. It has a 98 Relative Strength Rating, an exclusive IBD Stock Checkup gauge for share price movement with a 1 to 99 score. The rating shows how a stock’s performance over the last 52 weeks holds up against all the other stocks in IBD’s database. The EPS rating is 41.

Vertex Stock
VRTX stock jumped 3.4% to 300 on Friday, rebounding from a test of its 50-day moving average. Shares climbed 2.2% for the week. Vertex stock has formed a tight flat base with an official buy point of 306.05, according to MarketSmith analysis.

The stock has remained consistent over recent weeks, while the relative strength line has trended higher. The RS line tracks a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500 index.

Vertex Q3 earnings are on due Oct. 27. Analysts see EPS edging up 1% to $3.61 per share with sales increasing 16% to $2.2 billion, according to FactSet.

The Boston-based global biotech company dominates the cystic fibrosis treatment market. Vertex also has other products in late-stage clinical development that target sickle cell disease, Type 1 diabetes and certain genetically caused kidney diseases. That includes a gene-editing partnership with Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP).

In early August, Vertex reported better-than-expected second-quarter results and raised full-year sales targets.

S&P 500 stock Vertex ranks second in the Medical-Biomed/Biotech industry group. VRTX has a 99 Composite Rating. Its Relative Strength Rating is 94 and its EPS Rating is 99.

CRISPR Stocks: Will Concerns Over Risk Inhibit Gene-Editing Cures?

Cardinal Health Stock
CAH stock advanced 3.2% to 73.03 Friday, clearing a 71.22 buy point from a shallow cup-with-handle base and hitting a record high. But volume was light on the breakout. CAH stock leapt 7.3% for the week.

Cardinal Health stock’s relative strength line has also been trending up for months.

The cup-with-handle base is part of a base-on-base pattern, forming just above a cup base cleared on Aug. 11.

Cardinal Health, based in Dublin, Ohio, offers a wide assortment of health care services and medical supplies to hospitals, labs, pharmacies and long-term care facilities. The company reports that it serves around 90% of hospitals and 60,000 pharmacies in the U.S.

S&P 500 stock Cardinal Health will report Q1 2023 earnings on Nov. 4. Analysts forecast earnings falling 26% to 96 cents per share. Sales are expected to increase 10% to $48.3 billion, according to FactSet.

Cardinal Health stock ranks first in the Medical-Wholesale Drug/Supplies industry group, ahead of McKesson (MCK), which is also showing positive action. CAH stock has a 94 Composite Rating out of 99. It has a 97 Relative Strength Rating and an EPS rating of 73.

Steel Dynamics Stock
STLD shares shot up 8.5% to 92.92 on Friday and soared 19% on the week, coming off a Steel Dynamics earnings beat Wednesday night.

Shares blasted above an 88.72 consolidation buy point Friday after clearing a trendline Thursday. STLD stock is 17% above its 50-day line, definitely extended from that key average.

Steel Dynamics’ latest consolidation could be seen as part of a larger base going back six months.

Steel Dynamics topped Q3 earnings views with EPS rising 10% to $5.46 while revenue grew 11% to $5.65 billion. The steel producer’s outlook is optimistic despite weaker flat rolled steel pricing. STLD reports its order activity and backlogs remain solid.

The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company is among the largest producers of carbon steel products in the U.S. It engages in metal recycling operations along with steel fabrication and produces myriad steel products.

How Millett Grew Steel Dynamics From A Three Employee Business

STLD stock ranks first in the Steel-Producers industry group. STLD stock has a 96 Composite Rating out of 99. It has a 90 Relative Strength Rating, an exclusive IBD Stock Checkup gauge for share-price movement that tops at 99. The rating shows how a stock’s performance over the last 52 weeks holds up against all the other stocks in IBD’s database. The EPS rating is 98.

Genuine Parts Stock
GPC stock gained 2.8% to 162.35 Friday after the company topped earnings views with its Q3 results on Thursday. For the week GPC advanced 5.1% as the stock held its 50-day line and is in a flat base.

GPC has an official 165.09 flat-base buy point after a three-week rally, according to MarketSmith analysis.

The relative strength line for Genuine Parts stock has rallied sharply to highs over the past several months.

On Thursday, the Atlanta-based auto parts company raised its full-year guidance on growth across its automotive and industrial sales.

Genuine Parts earnings per share advanced 19% to $2.23 and revenue grew 18% to $5.675 billion in Q3. GPC’s full-year guidance is now calling for EPS of $8.05-$8.15, up from $7.80-$7.95. The company now forecasts revenue growth of 15%-16%, up from the earlier 12%-14%.

During the Covid pandemic, supply chain constraints caused a major upheaval in the auto industry, sending prices for new and used cars to record levels. This has made consumers more likely to hang on to their existing vehicles for longer, driving mileage higher and boosting demand for auto replacement parts.

Fellow auto stocks O’Reilly Auto Parts (ORLY) and AutoZone (AZO) have also rallied near buy points amid the struggling market. O’Reilly reports on Oct. 26.

IBD ranks Genuine Parts first in the Retail/Wholesale-Auto Parts industry group. GPC stock has a 96 Composite Rating. Its Relative Strength Rating is 94 and it has an EPS Rating of 89.

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.