Market Wrap-Up for Apr.1 (NYX, NDAQ, ICE, FDX, TD, more)


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The market got off to a fairly good start for the second quarter as the monthly jobs report came out a bit better than expected.

Big news out today regarding a second offer coming in for NYSE Euronext ( NYX ) from the combined team of Nasdaq OMX ( NDAQ ) and Intercontinental Exchange ( ICE ). NYX is trading nearly 13% higher but the hurdles remain high for either of the two proposed deals to get finalized. If I were in the shares, I would consider taking some of the position off. Elsewhere, Wall Street upgrades helped push up shares of FedEx ( FDX ) and Allergan ( AGN ). The financials had a good start this morning with Prudential Financial ( PRU ) and Toronto-Dominion Bank ( TD ) seeing decent gains. On the flip side, metal prices and metal producers pulled back some. Anyone in the precious metals should be carefully watching for any shifts in investor sentiment that could derail what has been a big run. Nothing bearish to worry about yet, but precious metals are considered an area where numerous traders have been active. Those sentiments can shift quickly.

I hope everyone caught this morning's premium posts as we have updated the biggest gainers and losers from our numerous watchlists through the end of the first quarter.

I was just reading a report just released by Wider Opportunities for Women highlighting the income needed for those employed to cover basic expenses and save for retirement and emergencies.

- A single worker needs an income of $30,012 a year.
- A single worker with two young children needs an annual income of $57,756, or just over $27 an hour.
- A family with two working parents and two young children needs to earn $67,920 a year, or about $16 an hour per worker (This compares with the national poverty level of $22,050 for a family of four. The most recent data from the Census Bureau found that 14.3 percent of Americans were living below the poverty line in 2009).

Fortunately has the solution. Everyone knows I (and Suze Orman as well in her new "The Money Class" book) keep pounding home the message of dividend investing and compound interest The long-term benefits are enormous even if you have minimal capital to get started. Let's look at these examples:

Investor #1 starts investing $5k a year at age 25 and does so for 40 years ($200K total invested) in Bank CDs, money markets, etc. averaging 3% a year. After 40 years, this person's nest egg becomes worth just over $652K.

Investor #2 starts investing just over $4K a year at age 45 and does so for 20 years ($81K total invested) in dividend-paying stocks that historically average an 11% annual return, this person's nest egg becomes worth over $653K.

Investors #3 starts investing $5K a year at age 55 and does so for 20 years ($100K total invested) in dividend-paying stocks that historically average an 11% annual return, this person's nest egg becomes worth over $806K.

As you can see, compound interest is a very strong force when it comes to putting money to work over a period of time. Next, you will notice the danger of being too conservative with your money (as Investor #1 is). They had the right idea is starting young, but they chose too conservative an investment road. Lastly, you see that age is not really a factor when it comes to being invested properly. This example should inspire many individuals who make the mistake of thinking it's too late to make a difference for your retirement.

When I was on Stu Taylor's Equity Strategies radio show recently, we discussed the options if you are older and have not saved a dime yet. Basically, let's say you just turned 50 and you looked at your income statement and there is nothing but a $0 at the bottom of the page, you still have plenty of time to build a solid nest egg. For instance, you can start maxing out a Roth IRA contribution ($5K/year currently, but in addition to the "standard" contribution limits, taxpayers age 50 and over are eligible to make a Roth IRA catch-up contribution of an additional $1K/year). If you were to invest $5K per year for every year in your 50s, each $5K you invest would turn into more than $40K after 20 years. So you see, it's never too late to get started as long as you're investing in the right dividend-paying stocks! Anyone that read last week's data from EBRI stating 27% percent of workers said they are "not at all confident" about their retirement savings (Another 23% said they are "not too confident" - amounting to about half of workers worried about saving enough for their future retirement) should find solace in the example I have given above.

The retirement story can hit hard for women especially. The latest statistics show that women earn about 76% of what men earn over their lifetime. Plus, women spend an average of 12 years out of the workforce, whether it's taking care of children or loved ones. Other key factors for women to consider when it comes to getting a handle on their own retirement: potential for divorce, women tend to live longer so longevity is a concern, a married couple's combined Social Security benefit tends to be reduced by one-third to one-half when one spouse dies (again, women usually outlive men).

The bottom line is for individuals to get started and consistently stay with the process of building a huge nest egg, whether it is starting from scratch and opening your first online brokerage account, educating oneself as to what dividend stocks can work best to generate returns, automating the process of getting money to be put to work into your brokerage account, and lastly just keeping a watchful eye over your portfolio each month. No one will care more about your finances than YOU!

Dividend investors that are looking for income should not be distracted by the headline grabbers and instead be looking for opportunities in companies that are currently on our Best Dividend Stocks List . If you are trading these names, then you may not be interested in what the aim of our site is. We do feature some growth-related dividend plays for those looking to be aggressive, but not for day-trading types. Our main focus is on quality dividend names with attractive yields, and this should be the main focus for all those that are hoping to build income for the long-term. We will continue to parse through our data to make sure the names we like best remain on our recommended list. If we take off higher-yield names, it is not a sell call unless we say it is. We just want to have the best names from a risk/reward standpoint on our recommended list for new money at all times. Investors should however utilize a sell strategy in the event a company you own drops 25% and there are company-specific problems that could cause significant underperformance for that particular stock.

Not sure if anyone is noticing the IPO debut of GNC Holdings ( GNC ) today. If you are not familiar with the company, they are a vitamin store franchise with 7,100 stores. They don't pay a dividend at this time, but I thought you may find some of the history interesting considering it has tried to come public twice before. Bank in 2003 Apollo Management purchased GNC from Royal Numico in 2003 for $750 million. The company then entertained the idea of going public, but withdrew proposed initial public offerings several times. In early 2007, Ares Management and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan decided they saw a great deal in GNC and paid what amounted to nearly $1.65 billion for the company. Fast forward to this morning and you can imagine there are many fingers being crossed the IPO will be a success.

My question is what was the pension plan thinking in the acquisition of a company that had to withdraw their IPO plans several times? I talk about this because I like to examine the psychology of what works in business and when deals make sense. If you are in retail, you may be familiar with the mistakes many ambitious entrepreneurs make when it comes to trying to make it a go with a location that has seen many enterprises come and go. In business, you have to check your ego at the door many times when exploring opportunities. You know how many restaurants open and close every year just from picking bad locations. I can bet you plenty of times the "attractive" rents were used as a lure to bring inexperienced first-timers in to take their shot. When I look at the history of GNC, I wonder what the person who advised the teachers' pension plan to get in on the deal saw that the public markets didn't have an appetite for several times didn't see. I am hoping things work out well for those investors today as GNC opens, but this could be a lesson that anyone who is considering a "deal" better do their homework when it comes time to weighing the reality of the situation. Why should the teachers' pension plan buy a company the public markets had no appetite for? Other example from above: why will my restaurant make it in a location that have seen numerous other food places fail? I ask you this: are you listening to what the market is telling you?

Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates this weekend on Premium , including reports on earnings/story stocks, analyst upgrades/downgrades, dividend ETFs, and more. And as always, you can view our current recommendations on our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List . Also, please keep the book reviews coming on coming if you have picked up a copy of my just-released "Be a Dividend Millionaire" book. It means a lot to get your support!

Thanks for reading! P.S. Please pass this e-mail on to someone you think can use some financial motivation. Thanks again!

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks , as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing Stocks
Referenced Stocks: AGN , FDX , ICE , NDAQ , NYX

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