Creating Your Branding Game Plan

What is your branding game plan?Not the branding media schedule – that is just part of it – but rather, your overarching strategic decision-making game plan on all of your branding initiatives? Most advertising managers have a page or two media plan that an agency has produced that shows how their advertising dollars will be spent. The game plan I am referring to is the overall philosophy and management tool that keeps every aspect of their branding on track.The game plan acts as a compendium of sorts – a concise, yet comprehensive strategy of how the brand is executed in the marketplace. It covers all touch points of the brand and the “rules” for its implementation. Rather than leave this to chance, your game plan crafts a branding decision-tree that allows the manager to ensure that every branding decision is accretive to the overall brand experience, not detracting.The game plan is a document that should be created to assist in communicating the advertising and media plan. It serves as a guide for the internal teams at the organization including the company managers and franchisees as well as providing crystal-clear direction to the agency. The compendium provides further explanation of the overall process for how the advertising plan is created in addition to how it will be managed. These strategic decisions should be reviewed on an annual basis to determine the entire branding program.Below are the key elements to include in your branding game plan:Market Research & Demographics: Based on the market research conducted at your company, the targeted audience of your brand communications should be reached based on demographics, program selection and scheduling guidelines. Demographics should cut across the following attributes and all brand activities should be vetted against these targets:Age Range
Male/Female Ratio
Total Annual Income
Employment Ratio
Marital Status
EthnicityProgram selection refers to the review of a programs content to ensure that it’s consistent with the advertiser’s desired brand image and its demographics. Scheduling guidelines assist on steering the programming placement, frequency and delivery of media.Flights, Weights And Spots: Next, determine the game plan for when and how to communicate your brand. Flighting refers to scheduling periods of activity and inactivity on a TV and/or radio schedule. A period of activity is called a flight and a period of inactivity is called a hiatus. Flighting is typically used to cover a long period of time, such as a year, within a limited advertising budget that does not allow advertising for 52 weeks. TV weight refers to the number of target rating points (TRP’s) scheduled in a flight. TRP’s are the standard unit of TV measure. Quantitatively, a TRP is equal to one percent of the target universe. Radio is a better medium than TV for building frequency. However, the fragmented nature of the radio market and the consumers’ listening patterns limit the cumulative reach that radio can deliver as a medium. Unit length refers to the duration of a commercial spot/radio broadcast.Day Parts: Based on the demographics of the targeted audience, the brand manager needs to determine the optimal day parts of the messaging. Day parts deliver different audience compositions (e.g. daytime delivers a high percentage of women). There is also a correlation between a spots audience delivery and its relative cost. Primetime delivers a large, broad audience and is, therefore, the most expensive day part.Electronic Media: Now, you need to execute the brand communication and there are numerous options from which to choose. Television delivers the highest reach of any medium. The sight, sound and motion of television allow the advertiser to communicate a message in a highly memorable way and to shape a visual into a recognizable image for their brands. Spot television offers the flexibility to target a specific local market aimed at the desired customer base in a programming environment consistent with the advertiser’s brand image. Spot air time for cable television is often much more expensive than broadcasting on a cost-per-thousand basis and does not have as large a reach. Cable television is limited because it only reaches paid subscribers. Spot radio is competitively purchased from local stations and can be easily targeted by market and demographics. Radio commercials are relatively inexpensive to produce which enables brands to change messages more frequently. Since radio has no visual, it is less expensive than TV.Non-Electronic Media: There are other ways besides electronic means to deliver your brand message. Outdoor advertising is commonly referred to as billboards. Outdoor advertising reaches a large percentage of the population, but because it is seen by people “on the go” billboard advertising is appropriate only for brief messages. It’s best used as a medium to reinforce an established, well-known brand. Newspapers reach a wide cross-section of the public, which makes them hard to target a specific audience. Other options include solo direct mail and marriage mail.Sponsorships And Promotions: Your brand can be communicated through sponsorships and promotions as well. For instance, the brand may be aptly communicated through the sponsorship of local sports teams. By sponsoring these teams, the brand is allocated spot time during broadcasts, as well as occasional “mentions” of the brand by the game announcers. In addition, the brand may receive postings of signage in the arena and mentions in printed promotional materials. Lastly, aligning the brand with a corporate charity communicates that the brand is an upstanding corporate citizen. These sponsorships and philanthropic involvement help communicate the brand community responsibility.Social Media & Web: An overall brand game plan would not be complete without addressing social media. Setting up a company Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account and YouTube channel – each vertically integrated to your overall brand communications- enhances your brand presence. These social media enable the brand to be extremely nimble with its messaging and if integrated into an overall brand strategy, provide cost-effective touch points to key followers.Your brand communications should work in tandem with one another regardless of the medium that is used to communicate. Each variable within these media – from program selection to day part mix – should be determined not haphazardly, but rather in a cohesive strategic branding compendium. Not only will the efficiency of your strategy be intact, but it will yield greater results.

The Health Care Reform Act Penalties and the Requirement For Buying Individual Health Insurance

In December of 2009, the United States Senate passed the Health Care Reform Act, which was later adopted by the House of Representatives on March 21, 2010. This bill represents monumental changes in the American medical system, both for consumers of health care, as well as employers and insurance providers. Among other things, the Bill requires health care policies to be approved by the government, and provides monetary penalties for citizens not covered by approved health care insurance. The reason for such penalties, as described in the Bill, is that by allowing citizens to go uninsured they become significantly less likely to seek preventative care for conditions they may experience. This translates into increased costs for the health care system as a whole, and indirectly to the taxpayers.But wait a minute. You may be asking yourself, what does this mean for me? To begin with, rest assured that if you are currently covered by health insurance, you will be unaffected by this change: all existing health care plans will be grandfathered in by the Bill. Furthermore, if you are currently uninsured, the government will not penalize you until the Bill comes fully into effect in 2014. Even then, the legislation provides exceptions for individuals who cannot afford health insurance, those who object for religious reasons, are incarcerated, or citizens who do not currently reside in the United States.The penalties thereafter will begin at $95 for uninsured persons in 2014, increase to $325 in 2015, and $695 in 2016. Under the House’s amendments to the Bill, the final amount of the penalty is $695 each year for each person for whom the taxpayer is liable. This can accrue up to either $2,250 (for three uninsured individuals) or 2.5% of the taxpayer’s household income, whichever is greater. Some of the Bill’s proponents feel that this figure is too lenient, as it allows taxpayers to simply pay the penalty until they require a medical procedure. They can then purchase insurance which would normally be more expensive, especially for individual health insurance not provided by an employer. This type of “adverse selection” could potentially be detrimental to the social health system, though it is possible that a future amendment may increase the penalties for uninsured persons to prevent this.The effects of the Bill will not be felt until 2014, though some regulatory acts will come into effect sooner, including regulations on medical plans renewing after September 23, 2010, requiring greater transparency in any existing health care plans, as well as the creation of a federal high-risk pool that will begin this summer.The Bill represents an unprecedented change in the United States government’s stance on health care. The goals of the Act are certainly very ambitious, and time will tell whether it achieves its goals. Though the Act may be changed by future amendments, and even challenged legally on constitutional grounds, it is imperative that taxpayers, insurers, and employers alike understand the Bill and its implications, since they will have a profound and lasting impact in the landscape of America’s health care.

Buying Into Home Health Care

When dealing with home health care, one has so many advantages at hand that they almost have to be picky about what they are going to get involved with.Believe it or not, home health care these days is an unmatchable service, because its singular job provides a multitude of services you would not expect.From occupational therapy to physical therapy to speech therapy, home health care has adapted to provide people all these services you would have to go elsewhere for inside the home. Just think of the situation. You would typically have an appointment Monday with your physical therapist. In fact, it would probably even be Monday and Wednesday, as most therapies occur two days a week. That being the case, take occupational therapy and schedule it for Tuesday and Thursday. Finally, speech therapy gets prepared for Fridays, and maybe every so often you switch around therapy to not over do it, or not accommodate other appointments.Could you imagine having to do all that? The driving, the gas money, the constant roaming around and never having the right time to rest; it all seems too daunting and too straining to even be thinking about. However, it is often the reality for some who are trying to live at home, but still look after themselves by seeking out the best care possible.With home health care, you can eliminate this need to be everywhere everyday at once, and you can make your day around when someone is coming to help out. In fact, many people think that all home health care providers do is look after patients at home by giving them medicine or cooking them meals.They do not realize the extensive training they have received that allows them to help out with therapies like occupational, physical, and speech. That isn’t to say that the most basic forms of care are not provided or aren’t necessary. Certainly they are.However, the main point of home health care is to go beyond the general offerings of nursing facilities. It may be easy to think why that is possible, but there are a lot of options to cover, and home health care providers stay on top of them. For instance, nursing facilities are excessively costly, and it is challenging to try and reduce such costs. There are some fees that are just out of your hands, such as usage inside your dwelling, or payments that go toward the staff. Those are just some of the base costs. There is no telling how far expenses can extend.Once your decision has finally come to be made, it is important you sit down and actually compare the cost differentials between home health care and a facility that one moves into. Chances are that you will see that in every aspect home health care is going to be the more affordable option because you have some control over the costs. However, it is important you see for yourself. No matter how convincing the arguments seem, you must inform yourself first and foremost.

Fun And Fitness Through Sports – 4 Tips For Sportspeople

What do you think of when you hear the term “sports fitness”? Do you see football players on the field, soccer players scuffling over a ball, a volleyball team at the beach, or a tennis match? There is a tendency to understand the term to mean the sport itself, rather than a way to stay fit.People engage in sports for specific recreation-related reasons like entertainment, competition, or self-satisfaction. Because sports involve physical activity, most fitness experts and health care professionals know that sports is one way to stay fit and healthy. Sports fitness, as opposed to “exercise” or “physical fitness,” however, involves developing a skill or ability. Sports fitness is an opportunity for personal growth.Sports enthusiasts may be more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle (although some would question that assertion) because of the inherent discipline and physical demands. But sports fitness can also mean weight loss, better mobility, greater energy, and a host of the things we use to describe good health. Sports fitness is a character-building pursuit.Sports do teach people to value their health. Without health, they couldn’t maintain the energy and vitality necessary to participate. Especially if they are in professional sports, their livelihood may depend on their fitness and health. Sports fitness is a lifestyle.Let’s assume, for a minute, that you are a person who needs more exercise to get or stay physically fit and healthy. You have many options: gyms, health centers, home exercise. You can do aerobic exercise routines, undertake a weight training program, or spend hours on an exercise bike or treadmill. Those are all beneficial activities. But some of us find them boring. We won’t stick to them because we’re not having fun. Sports fitness is fun!One way to get healthy and have fun at the same time is to pursue sports fitness. You can get your workout on the basketball court or baseball field. You can enter swimming competitions or run marathons. These exercise routines involve other people, interaction, and FUN! So, let’s say you’ve decided to get your exercise through sports fitness.There are some things you should know about things you can do to assure sports fitness is a safe, healthy program for you:1. Get a Lot of FluidsWe can go days, even months, without food. But we can’t live without frequent drinking water. It’s the most important nutrient we’ll ever consume. And when you’re engaged in sports, you perspire more, losing that precious liquid gold. In fact, if you lose too many fluids without replacing them, you could have very serious health problems. In the extreme, you could die.So when you’re engaged in strenuous exercise, you should always drink water to replace what you’re losing through sweat. Some sports involve losing fluids so rapidly that it would not be possible to replace them with water alone. In fact, drinking too much plain water at once can lead to a toxic reaction (water intoxication) due to an unhealthy balance of electrolytes in the body. To avoid dehydration and water intoxication while playing sports, experts recommend sports drinks. They come in three categories.Isotonic sports drinks contain a similar balance of water and other nutrients as in the human body, including 6-8% sugar. Hypertonic sports drinks contain less water and more sugar than the human body. Hypotonic sports drinks contain more water and less sugar than the human body. Most of the sports drinks on the market are isotonic.No matter which you choose, sports drinks have two important ingredients you won’t find in plain water: carbohydrates and electrolytes. Carbohydrates help keep energy levels up, and a proper balance of electrolytes (made up of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and hydrogen carbonate) is essential to well-being. Drinking a lot of fluids is essential for sports fitness.2. Eat more Fruits and VegetablesThe strenuous exercise involved in sports rapidly depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables contain essential nutrients. When you’re engaged in sports fitness program, make it a habit every day to eat a dark green vegetable, a yellow or orange fruit or vegetable, a red fruit or vegetable, beans or nuts, and a citrus fruit like oranges. Sports fitness involves a healthy, balanced diet.3. Protect your BonesObviously, people involved in sports fitness are at a higher risk of injuries, including broken bones. The more you can do to keep your bones strong, the better off you will be. Be sure your diet includes calcium sources like sardines, tofu, and dairy products, etc. You might also consider adding a calcium supplement to your daily routine. Not only will your bones withstand the bumps and crashes you get on the court or field, you’ll be getting a head start in fending off the dreaded osteoporosis.4. Warm Up and Cool DownYou may strain a muscle or fall prey to another type of injury if you’re body isn’t loose and limber when you start playing any kind of rigorous sport. Like runners, stretching routines are a great way to get limber. And more active warm-ups get your heart rate going gradually.After the game is over, don’t go straight to the clubhouse or bar. Do a few cool down exercises to gradually release tension and transition to less activity. You have fewer sore muscles and less tightness if you do. Sports fitness involves responsible preparation and follow-through.Participating sports is a great way to get and stay physically fit and to have an active, interesting social life. Sports fitness allows you to meet more active people interested in health and fitness who can help you stay motivated and involved. The best thing about sports fitness is that you get a great workout while you’re having a great time. It’s the best of both worlds!

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.

US Markets in green on Friday; Dow 30 up over 345 points, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 up nearly 1%

US Markets were trading in the green on Friday with Dow 30 trading at 30,678.80, up by 1.14%. While S&P 500 was trading at 3,701.66, up by 0.98% and Nasdaq Composite 10,690.60 was also up by 0.71 per cent

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US Markets in green on Friday; Dow 30 up over 345 points, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 up nearly 1%
Earlier today, Indian stock markets ended the week on a winning note. It was the sixth straight gains for equity markets. Source: Reuters
US Markets were trading in the green on Friday with Dow 30 trading at 30,678.80, up by 345.25 points or1.14 per cent. While S&P 500 was trading at 3,701.66, up by 35.88 points or 0.98 per cent and Nasdaq Composite 10,690.60 was also up 75.75 points or 0.71 per cent. A Reuters report said that today’s strength was on the back of a report which said the Federal Reserve will likely debate on signaling plans for a smaller interest rate hike in December, reversing declines set off by social media firms after Snap Inc’s ad warning.

Source: Comex

Nasdaq Top Gainers and Losers

Source: Nasdaq

Earlier today, Indian stock markets ended the week on a winning note. It was the sixth straight gains for equity markets. The BSE Sensex ended at 59,307.15, up by 104.25 points or 0.18 per cent from the Thursday closing level. Meanwhile, the Nifty50 index closed at 17,590.00, higher by 26.05 points or 0.15 per cent. In the 30-share Sensex, 13 stocks gained while the remaining 17 ended on the losing side. In the 50-stock Nifty50, 21 stocks advanced while 29 declined.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?