Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Expensive Educational Toys Aren't The Only Way To Get Your Child To Think

It seems that as science advances, parents become more and more aware of the effect certain foods and activities have on their children. Gone are the days when fluffy teddy bears, Barbie dolls, and GI Joe figures were considered staple items in every kid's toy box; today, there is increasing pressure for children's recreation to be productive, educational, and enjoyable. Therefore, more and more parents are seeking toys for their children that will exercise their bodies and their minds, in order to give them the best possible start in life.
In recent years, toy manufacturers have been meeting these needs through a variety of new toy designs. However, classic toys [] can still provide children with effective mental and physical exercise if used in the right way. For example, old-fashioned sandpits can be a great way to get children to think about the way in which building and construction works: by using sandpits to 'create', children will be exercising their minds and imaginative processes, as well as having fun frolicking about in a sand pit.
Alternatively, if you're buying your son or daughter an outdoor playhouse or climbing frame, get them to help you construct it: if you let your child do the simple tasks when building a playhouse or climbing frame, it may bestow crucial developmental skills that will aid them in their future learning. While many children love to spend time colouring and drawing, it may sometimes be a good idea to encourage your child to make things indoors that can be used outdoors; for example, have them make a kite that can be flown on clear days.
A lot of educational and recreational activities for children don't even have to revolve around actual toys. Activities, such as gardening or cooking, can also help childhood development in many ways. Whether at school or at home, engaging in outdoor activities like gardening can instil a lot of self-confidence in a child, especially if they can see their efforts in helping a plant grow and come to life. And with the common issue of children's health in the news these days, cooking can also be a wonderful way to engage your child; by teaching children to cook healthily from an early age - away for sharp objects and heat of course! - parents can help them understand not only how their bodies work, but about the importance of personal health.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Community College is an Excellent Educational Bargain

It's not news to anyone that college costs are skyrocketing. The average cost of one year at a private college or university has risen to a shocking $31,465. It's no wonder that parents and students look at that number and wonder whether a college degree is in their reach at all. However, many families overlook the tremendous costs savings that could be achieved by attending a community college for two years. Tuition at community college is typically half that of a public institution and just one-tenth that of a private institution.
For many years, community colleges fought the image that they were the last resort for students who couldn't get in anywhere else and that their programs were not as challenging or comprehensive and those at larger colleges universities. Today, however, community colleges are thriving centers that not only provide state-of-the-art career education, but also provide a high-quality educational foundation for students who wish to transfer to a college or university after two years.
Because most colleges and universities, regardless of size, require students to take core courses in their first two years before choosing a major, taking these courses at the community college level will save money. Additionally, core courses at the university level are often held in large lecture halls with hundreds of students. At community colleges, class sizes rarely exceed 30 students. So, paradoxically, community college students receive more individualized attention yet pay much less for that privilege.
Instructors at the community college level are required to hold a Master's degree in their instructional area. Some have pointed to this as evidence that community colleges cannot provide the same quality of instruction as colleges and universities that employ professors with Doctoral degrees. However, very few of those professors actually teach the core courses that students take during their first two years of college. Additionally, community college instructors often have real-world employment experience that gives them a more practical perspective than university professors, who are immersed in the world of academia.
Transferring to a larger institution at the end of two years at community college is often easier than being admitted as a Freshman. Also, many states guarantee admission to their state colleges and universities to community college graduates who maintain a certain grade point average. Even prestigious Ivy League colleges like Harvard, Yale and Brown have accepted transfer students from community colleges.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wall Street to Main Street: News, Views and Commentary

It's Friday June 9, 2006, and yesterday was a wild day, the Dow dropped over 177 points at one point and was down for most of the day and the money started flowing in at about 2:50pm EST giving a small boost to the Dow and it finally closed up a pinch, just over 7 points.. The bottom line here is that you have to begin looking at stocks on an individual basis and don't continue to look at the S&P, the Dow or the Nasdaq Composite as a gauge because it will not guide you through this rollercoaster ride.
This is why we feature individual stocks and give our outlook based on the company and the industry. If the stock is not a slave to the Dow but gets dragged down in the process you should be all over it because that is an opportunity.
This market will continue to go up and down and sideways until there is some clarity in regards to an interest rate hike. This is not just a problem for U.S. markets but worldwide and if anyone tells you any different they are not doing you a service. Interest rates around the globe were raised yesterday as inflation worries loom.
We received plenty of emails from our listeners and readers asking for direction, asking us whether they should buy, sell or hold a particular issue. We do not feature each and every email or question because when you ask for our direction we do our homework so that we are giving you our best outlook on the stock, and not doing it on the fly because that could cause more harm than good.
Yesterday we had more new subscribers to "Wall Street to Main Street" than ever, and that just shows you that investors are looking for guidance, and we're trying hard to do that for you. Investment advisers, stockbrokers, and even several investment clubs added themselves to the list of subscribers yesterday, so we have to be doing something right.
Now that we established where we stand lets move forward and try to cherry pick those stocks that have been oversold by not only institutions but by investors.
Movers and Shakers
Some major movers in yesterdays trading session include (NASDAQ: OSTK), which traded up $1.56 to close at $23.16, now we are talking about a company that has negative earnings to the tune of $1.20a a share. It is bouncing off of its 52 week low of $20.89, so in other words this is a dead cat bouncing. Even with they added a quicker checkout process on their site by implementing's online payment service, this still won't bring it back to life. Companies that actually earn money were driven down on Thursday and there was no real reason why this puppy made upward movement, it's an anomaly I guess.
Allegheny Technology (NYSE: ATI) traded up $3.50 to close on $62.75, now it wasn't as simple as the stock just moving up, it went down with the rest of the market, traded as low as $54 78 before the buying starting flowing back into the stock. When you see a stock like Allegheny Tech traded down that low and that fast you have to find out why, nothing fundamentally changed with the company. Actually Leo Larkin an Analyst with Standard & Poor's Equity Research recently upgraded the stock from a Sell to a Hold., he actually forecasted 2006 earnings of $4.40 for the company, they posted an EPS of $3.60 for 2005, so S&P sees growth. These are the type of companies that you have to seek out, those that are oversold for no good reason. The demand for Stainless Steel will continue to grow in aerospace and power generation, so they may live up to Larkin's expectations.
Fluor Corp (NYSE: FLR) traded up $3.24 to close at $88.58, the global engineering, procurement, construction, operations, maintenance and project management service provided dropped over $3 on Wednesday, traded as low as $82.93 on Thursday and powered up to close up over $3.24 for the day. The stock was trading over $100 a share this past May and was hammered down, this is one that could creep back up to the $95
Autozone (NYSE: AZO) traded up $2.48 to close at $93.00, this came on the heels of the former President, Vice Chairman and Director of Borders (NYSE: BGP) George R. Mrkonic, Jr joined the board of directors of Autozone. So that is the reason for the movement, this all came to light on Wednesday after the close. Now Autozone is about $10 off its 52 week high and sits with an EPS of $7.30 and a P/E of 12. With Mrkonic giving his input at Autozone you'll see this one back in the triple digits.
Other stocks that made moves on the upside include Allergan Inc (NYSEL AGN) which traded up $3.79 to close at $102.27, Giant Industries (NYSE: GI) traded up $3.19 to close at $62.70, Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) traded up $2.39 to close at $67.53, Occidental Pertroleum (NYSE: OXY) traded up $22.6 to close at $96.98 on its way back to $100, Apple Computer (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded up $2.19 o close at $60.76, this is a stock that should be in the $70 range, Comtech Telecommunications (NASDAQ: CMTL) traded up $1.80 to close at $32.88, Whirlpool Corp (NYSE: WHR) traded up $1.76 to close at $84.50 as they company is looking to trim some fat and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) traded up $1.62 to close at $72.62.
Under Ten
Now lets take a look at movers in the market under ten bucks, Globix Corp (AMEX: GEX) a blast from the past, I remember when this stock was in the $50 range, but that was a long time ago and on a different exchange, but the stock traded up 55 cents to close at $4.80, Nitromed (NASDAQ: NTMD) traded up 35 cents on nice volume to close at $4.99, Cortex Pharmaceuticals (AMEX: COR) traded up 35 cents to close at $3.32, Alliance One International (NYSE: AOI) traded up 27 cents to close at $4.47, Isolagen (AMEX: ILE) traded up 22 cents to close at $2.85 on close to 2 million shares traded and Generex Biotechnology (NASDAQ: GNBT) which traded up 14 cents to close at $1.85.
Apollo Group (NASDAQ: APOL) slipped down $1.59 to close at $53.88, the company is involved in the higher education for adults business, they operate through their subsidiaries The University of Phoenix, Inc, Western International University, Inc., Institute for Professional Development and The College for Financial Planning, Inc. There was no news yesterday on the company so maybe it was just driven down by market conditions, but just because there was no news on Thursday does not mean that something will not surface today. There has been a changing of the guards at the company, take that into account with a potential slowdown in enrollments and you are in the dark waters. The stock is close to its 52 week low of $47.27 but seems to have support in the high $51 to low $52 range. Lets see how it shapes up today.
Focus Media Holdings (NASDAQ: FMCN) dropped down again on Thursday and its just about getting to a good entry point. The bottom here should be in the $48 to $50 range but that doesn't mean that it will hit that point, if it does then we'll sit on the sidelines because it could slip into the high $30 range. The stock traded down $8.07 to close at $51.56 and there were a few factors involved, first it hit a ceiling for the third time in a row as we mentioned at $68 and second they filed to sell 1,000,000 American Depository Shares or ADS's. So here's the game plan, you need to see if the stock is actually going to bottom yet, and it looks like it just might. Market conditions may just push it down into the $50-$51 range so you have to pick your entry point.
Matria Healthcare (NASDAQ: MTRA) was knocked down even before the bell range and that was for a few reasons, of course the obvious Market Conditions and the main reasons was that they lowered their full year forecast from $1.35-$1.50 to $1.10-$1.17. Now they did this because they anticipated a delay in various contracts that they have on tap. But the street was looking for $1.10 for the full year anyway so they should be in line with that number. I think that this is just overdone and you had money whipping out from a few institutions and that started a domino effect as small investors started to bail. This looks like an opportunity because the bleeding should be pretty much over and the street will realize that if not today very shortly. So take a look at the charts, fundamentals and the press releases and you'll get the picture. It closed at $22.12 down $5.24.
I just want to touch on Peru Copper (AMEX: CUP) quickly, we received a ton of emails and calls in regards to the company because it halted trading on Wednesday with no follow up. We spoke about it on Thursday and the bottom line is that speculators thought that Southern Copper (NYSE: PCU) was going to buy Peru Copper but that seemed to be far fetched, even though PCU made public statements in regards to it a week or so ago. So that could be a dead deal but do not sleep on Peru Copper because they did hint that there are other potential suitors that have showed an interest in their Toromocho project. The stock pulled back a bit but that was the speculators jumping ship once they were done bottom fishers started picking up the scraps, keep in tune with Peru Copper as it just may shock you in a good way in the coming months.
Know lets talk about a real smack down and a half, Joseph A. Bank (NASDAQ: JOSB), we alerted "Wall Street to Main Street" subscribers about this one before bell as the company missed the mark by a long margin as they announce earnings of 32 cents a share but the street expected 46 cents a share. Investors woke up to a nightmare with this one, and its probably not over yet. The stock closed down $10.73 to close at $26.40 making a new 52-week low.
InfoSonics (AMEX: IFO) has been getting beaten up this week, especially after it received a nice downgrade from a Buy to a Hold by Kaufman Brothers They will be splitting 2 for 1 shortly and right now the stock is about 10 points off of its recent 52-week high. We're sticking by this one as we still see it trading in the $20 post split. Now it may not happen immediately but it should settle in there once the street realizes the company's true value. It powered up from a low of $21.10 on Thursday to close at $23.60.
Hansen Natural (NASDAQ: HANS) dropped another $9.37 to close at $161.00, this has been a daily occurrence with the stock so you may be seeing lots of profit taking from those investors and institutions that own the stock below the $100 mark, and who could blame them with the run that this one made in a 12 month time frame.
Other stocks that traded down but shouldn't be down there include China Life Insurance (NYSE: LFC) which traded down $4.67 to close at $58.69, Expeditors International (NASDAQ: EXPD) traded down $3.88 to close at $94.59, Parlux Fragrances (NASDAQ: PARL) traded down $3.25 to close at $20.85, UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) traded down $2.93 to close at $107.50, Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM) traded down $2.87 to close at $101.49, Kookmin Bank (NYSE: KB) traded down $2.80 to close at $74.70, Wesco International (NYSE: WCC) traded down $2.72 to close at $60.68 and PetroChina Co (NYSE: PTR) which traded down $2.59 to close at $99.41.
Now some stocks under ten bucks that received the royal smack down on Thursday include Finisar (NASDAQ: FNSR) which traded down $1.11 to close at $3.36 down about 25%, Exide Technologies (NASDAQ: XIDE) traded down 40 cents to close at $4.40, U.S. Energy Corp (NASDAQ: USEG) traded down 35 cents to close at $4.10, Advanced Semiconductor (NYSE: ASX) traded down 33 cents to close at $4.56 and Triquint Semiconductor (NASDAQ: TQNT) which traded down 30 cents to close at $4.68.
Analyst Upgrades/Downgrades
Recent Analyst upgrades include International Rectifier (NYSE: IRF) was upgraded to an Above Average from an Average by Caris & Company, Zale Corporation (NYSE: ZLC) was upgraded to an In-Line from an Underperform by Goldman Sachs, Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) was upgraded to an Overweight from an Equal Weight by Lehman Brothers, CNET Networks (NASDAQ: CNET) was upgraded to a Buy by Stifel Nicolaus, and SBA Communications (NASDAQ: SBAC) was upgraded to an Outperform from a Peer Perform by Bear Stearns.
Recent Analyst downgrades include Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) was downgraded to a Hold from a Buy by Sanders, Morris & Harris, Medical Action Industries (NASDAQ: MDCI) was downgraded to a Neutral from a Buy by Sidoti & Co, Boardwalk Pipeline (NYSE: BWP) was downgraded to a Hold from a Buy by AG Edwards, Parlux Fragrances (NASDAQ: PARL) was downgraded to a Hold from a Strong Buy by Wedbush Morgan and Cyberonics (NASDAQ: CYBX) was downgraded to a Neutral from a Buy by Suntrust, Robinson, Humphrey.
Recent analyst coverage initiations include TLC Vision Corp (NASDAQ: TLCV) was initiated with a Market Perform rating by JMP Securities, Labopharm (NASDAQ: DDSS) was initiated with a Buy rating by Banc of America Securities, Viisage Technology (NASDAQ: VISG) was initiated with an Outperform by Raymond James, Novatel Wireless (NASDQ: NVTL) was initiated with a Sector Performer rating by CIBC World Markets, and Lexmark International Group (NYSE: LXK) was initiated with an Equal Weight rating and a $58 price target by Lehman Brothers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All You Need To Know About Nursing Education

Unlike in the earlier years when nursing was viewed as apprenticeship that was commonly undertaken by the religious lot and the convents, lately it has become one of the most admired career paths, due to the several benefits attached to the career. For anyone looking for an exciting and rewarding career, you agree with me that nursing is with no doubt one of them. However, one has to go through some intensive training for them to be qualified and certified. Considering the wide range of institutions claiming to offer the best nursing education today, you need to be very careful in choosing the best institution. First, you need to ensure that the online education offered is not mediocre. The only way you can do this is by taking time to find out if the institution you pick on is reputable, not to mention that it should be certified and licensed by the relevant bodies in your area of residence.
You can also get the best schools by seeking recommendations from people who have gone through this career path before. A good institution will make sure that the students are well versed in the medical fields both practically and theoretically. The course takes four years to complete and can be specialized into quite a good number of areas. This includes the nursing specializations in pediatric, mental health and postoperative nursing among many others. The entry levels are quite numerous. One can choose to go for the diploma, undergraduate or the masters program depending on their qualifications, at the time they make the application. Whichever program that you are interested in, you can be sure to reap some good benefits in the long-run. The better news is the fact that, one can take the nursing online education. You can hence let go the worries of a busy schedule that will never let you take the course in peace. From the comfort of your home, you can take the online classes when you are most flexible and become a certified nurse just as long as you meet all the requirements.
To find the best most affordable institutions to take the courses from, one needs to take time to compare the rates of several institutions. This way, they have a chance to settle on the lowest prices school. One also needs to ensure that if they pick on an online school, it is recognized and the online courses are recognized in their area of residence. One cannot afford to have online nursing education in a place where people have no idea that it even exists in the first place. This would be a waste of both time and money.