Market Wrap-Up for Apr.12 (FCX, CLF, CAT, T, AXP, MCD, more)

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Chatter that the Federal Reserve is willing to continue its accommodation strategy (the proverbial "punchbowl" as some economists call it) had the markets regaining more of what they'd lost in the recent losing streak.

The commodity sector reaped some of the biggest gains, as traders look to that volatile area as a beneficiary of the monetary printing press. Gains were seen in names like Freeport McMoran ( FCX ), Cliffs Natural Resources ( CLF ), as well as equipment play Caterpillar ( CAT ). Despite having a bit more attractive dividend yields of late, commodity-related stocks have been making lower highs, so sustained upside could be hard to come by unless the recent trends reverse.

Wall Street analyst upgrades helped boost stocks like Qualcomm ( QCOM ), American Express ( AXP ), and AT&T ( T ). Shares of Fastenal ( FAST ) did not participate in the rally after its latest earnings results. McDonald's ( MCD ) was also down as the company continues to trade in a tight range. Investors are gearing up for a pending change at the top of the company, as MCD's highly-regarded CEO Jim Skinner will retire this summer.

When Sabotage is Your Strategy, be Prepared to Suffer to Consequences

I was pretty disgusted at the recent news surrounding former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams. According to audio and other evidence, the coach ordered his players to intentionally harm opposing players, blatantly disregarding the very rules the NFL set in place to protect its participants. Is winning a football game worth potentially ending someones career - or worse?

I'm sure a number of Saints players in the room sat in utter shock as they were told to go after one player's knees, another player's head (since he had a couple of concussions and could easily be knocked out once again), and to try and give the quarterback a few extra shots whenever there is a pile-up (the phrase "attack the head" was used multiple times). I understand that football is an intensely physical game, but offering monetary rewards for taking cheap shots at opposing players is a totally different story.

In our own lives, we sometimes run into people - co-workers, bosses, etc. - who are willing to step on other people to get ahead. Our job is to make sure we are not influenced by these people, and remind ourselves that life isn't about winning at any cost. Rather, life is about succeeding in a fair and honest fashion. You will never truly win the respect of your peers or subordinates if you take the low road to the top.

Believe in yourself and understand that success comes in all forms - not just by being on the winning team.

17 Money Excuses People Make - Part 3 of 3

Excuse #13 - "You have to leverage debt to become rich!"

My Response: This is a dangerous play for many that try and speed up the road to wealth. We have all heard the amazing stories of real estate tycoons that pulled off incredible wins, only to get caught off-guard when markets turned. The financial road is littered with failed money gambles that were based on leverage. The banks have always been guilty of encouraging investors to roll the dice a bit too much when times were good. We have seen the fallout from that the last couple of years.

Excuse #14 - "I need to invest in a car."

My Response: The words "invest" and "car" almost never belong in the same sentence unless you are extremely knowledgeable about the collectible car market.

Excuse #15 - "If everybody got out of debt, the economy would collapse!"

My Response: Worrying about the economy's collapse should never be the consumer's concern. Living debt-free should be an ultimate goal of yours, but giving yourself a license to spend recklessly is just plain dumb.

Excuse #16 - "Just put it on the card and we will worry about it when it comes in."

My Response: I understand the convenience factor of carrying plastic over cash. The danger comes when you allow credit cards to take control of your spending vices. If you are a "spur of the moment" buyer, learn to take a pause before making any big purchases you don't actually need.

Excuse #17 - "I must be able to afford this (car, house, etc.)since I was approved for the loan."

My Response: This one is a real trap for those ignorant about the ways credit card companies and lenders operate. What is amazing is that you can see someone get burned once by signing on the dotted line for a deal they couldn't afford, but then they will repeat the mistake not too long after it. Reviewing mistakes in spending and investing is a necessary tool to make one's path to wealth a much smoother one.

Retirement Account Deadlines Approaching

One of the best long-term retirement strategies an investor can use is investing in dividend-paying stocks within their Roth IRAs. Roth IRA Distributions, including capital gains, interest, and DIVIDENDS are tax-free if you are at least age 59 1/2 years old, and the account has been established for longer than five tax years. Dividends paid into a Roth account are never taxed, even when withdrawn. This special treatment differs from dividends accumulated in a Traditional IRA, which would be taxed during withdrawals. The best part of a Traditional IRA is the tax credit is counted the year you do it. Some accountants prefer clients to take this road, knowing it can ease one's tax burden for the particular year a traditional IRA is funded. Do remember, though, that withdrawals taken from an IRA account before age 59 1/2, including income from dividends, is subject to a 10 percent penalty tax in addition to ordinary income taxation. Always consult with a tax specialist before making any moves that may incur tax consequences. Of course, there's nothing wrong with purchasing dividend stocks within a Traditional IRA either, but Roth IRAs are particularly attractive to dividend investors looking to maximize their future retirement withdrawals.

For those of you who are self-employed, you have the benefit of building a retirement nest egg very quickly with a SEP-IRA. If you're self-employed, you can contribute 25% of your earned income or $50,000, whichever is less, to a SEP plan for 2012. Think of all the high-quality dividend stocks you can be putting to work for yourself - that's the true essence of making your money work for you! Again, talk to your tax professional and see how you can take advantage of this type of account.

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25 Years of Dividend-Increasing Stocks

We recently updated our list of dividend stocks that have been paying out dividends for 25 years or more. Be sure to check out the latest list of names here .

Dividends Really Matter

Financial blog DailyReckoning.com recently took a look at the difference dividend payouts made in the overall return investors saw throughout the prior decades. Here are some of the highlights:

- The Nasdaq is down 28% since the end of 1999. Even the "blue chip" S&P 500 stocks are down 15% during that time frame…until you add back those "boring" dividends. With dividends included, the S&P 500′s 15% loss flips to a 6% gain.

- Without dividends, the S&P 500 index would have produced a loss for the 25 long years from August 1929 to August 1954. Then again, without dividends, the S&P 500 produced a 5% loss during the 13 years from September 1961 to September 1974. But with dividends included, the S&P's loss became a 46% gain.

- Over the course of the last half-century, dividends have contributed more than half of the stock market's total return - 56%, to be exact.

Of course, you can't discuss the potency of dividend investing without making mention of how awesome compound returns are. I can't stress enough the power of compound interest: you take a small amount of money and turn it into a large amount over time. Finding the right companies at the right price points which not only grow earnings, but also grow their dividend payouts as well!

New Watchlist Article Out Today

Be sure to check out our weekly Top 50 High-Yield Watchlist Names post that is out today, exclusively for Dividend.com Premium members. This list gives readers a good idea of what stocks we're watching behind the scenes here for potential upgrades.

Go Beyond This Newsletter

We know many of you enjoy reading the daily newsletter, but remember that with our Dividend.com Premium service, the newsletter is just one small component of what we offer. Here are the "Big Three" benefits of our Premium service:

- The Best Dividend Stocks List is used by tens of thousands of investors to help build their own portfolios.

- Creating your own Watchlist allows you to track the performance, news, and upcoming dividend payouts of the particular stocks you care about.

- Finally, we offer the most complete and easy-to-use dividend data on the web. Many subscribers use this data as part of a "Dividend Capture" trading strategy, but long-term investors can use it to keep track of impending payouts. Just visit our Ex-Dividend Calendar for a complete outlook on which companies will be paying out soon.

We don't ask for a credit card to use our free trial, and we don't bill you when your trial ends. No obligation whatsoever! So keep enjoying the newsletter, but please give Dividend.com Premium a shot if you haven't already subscribed!

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you tomorrow!

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.

Created by Dividend.com

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: AXP , CAT , CLF , FAST , FCX

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