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Waiting for the Bull

Our Cover Story on the stock market, "When Will the Bull Be Back?" (Mar. 16), tapped a vein of anxiety over equity losses and the future of the U.S. economy. Still, a few readers felt optimistic enough to see light in the gloom. Echoing some on Wall Street, they noted that if the stock market requires extreme pessimism to reach bottom—and a chance at another bull run—we're well on our way to fulfilling that demand. —David Henry

Buying some stocks now means believing that things will return to "normal." I'd like to believe that, but I don't. Some big-name companies are selling at fire-sale prices because they are going out of business. Screen name: Sam

There should be a prohibition against pension funds investing in any equity market. It's like a casino without the entertainment. It's going to be a long, long, long time before equity investors see the light of day.

Screen name: Jerry Kopensky

There's not going to be any significant bull market for many years. The government and markets allowed a few people to make billions at the expense of millions of people.

Screen name: Russ C

Persistent pessimism despite consistent earnings is the buy signal we should all be looking for. Believe it or not, there are a few companies that appear to meet this earnings metric.

Screen name: williambanzai7

Once people feel they have suffered long enough, those with an optimistic view will start buying again.

Screen name: Don S

Looking for another bull run? Why don't we get rid of the excesses and the abuses of the past 30 years first?

Screen name: Carl Cid

University of Phoenix Responds

"For-Profit Colleges: Scooping Up the Stimulus" (News, Mar. 23 & 30) opens with the misleading premise that the stimulus package will somehow enrich for-profit schools. In fact, the Pell Grant increase replaces existing federal Stafford Loan dollars for low-income students. There is no net gain.

Higher education has become increasingly unattainable, and the for-profit structure of the University of Phoenix (APOL) enables it to be more accessible than conventional schools. With flexible schedules and both online and on-campus courses, we provide an alternative, especially for students who must work and raise a family while pursuing their degrees.

As the largest institution in the for-profit sector, we have assumed a leadership role in providing greater accountability for student achievement. Our Academic Annual Report, available on our Web site, offers a transparent look at quality measures, including student performance, graduation rates, diversity, and affordability.

Much of your article explored a philosophical opposition to student recruitment. While our for-profit status allows us to spend more on advertising, the real testament to our marketing success is the number of enrollments generated by the referrals from the most honest arbiters of our academic quality: satisfied alumni and their employers.

William Pepicello


University of Phoenix


The Case for Private Collectors

If private debt collectors were truly the ineffective and unethical lot portrayed in "Public Debts, Hired Guns" (What's Next, Mar. 23 & 30), why would countless municipalities, states, and our federal government partner with them?

In the fiscal year 2006, private debt collectors recovered more than $739 million on behalf of the federal government and millions more for state and local governments—for everything from overdue property taxes to unpaid parking tickets.

What's more, the members of ACA International, our collection-industry trade association (of which I am a past president), strive to treat each consumer with dignity and respect, adhering to a strict code of ethics.

Mike Shoop


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