Market Wrap-Up for Apr.2 (AVP, MA, V, ANF, KSS, TXN, more)

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Early on, it appeared the market would see the second quarter get off to a slow start, but buyers began stepping up as the day progressed, and by the close, the market posted solid gains.

Avon Products ( AVP ) rallied as the company received a takeover offer , which was quickly declined. If you recall, the cosmetics play has been struggling the last couple of years and is languishing near 52-week lows.

Meanwhile, MasterCard ( MA ) and Visa ( V ) regained all of the ground lost Friday, when news of a credit card security breach at Global Payments ( GPN ) sent all credit card-related names lower. New headlines today indicate the data breach at GPN may not be as serious as first reported (on Friday, the estimate was 10 million credit card numbers were compromised - now, the estimates are around 1.5 million).

In other news, Wall Street analyst upgrades helped boost shares of clothing-themed plays Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF ), Kohl's ( KSS ), PVH Corp ( PVH ), and V.F. Corporation ( VFC ). On the flip side, cautious analyst commentary had shares of Texas Instruments ( TXN ) edging lower for much of the day.

Today's Lotto Winners Are…

It was hard to ignore the lottery fever gripping the country last week, as millions of Americans hoped to win a piece of the $640 million jackpot. In all, three winners were announced, and they'll have to split the winnings.

With all the media attention came the many anecdotes of how often people play the lottery. Statistics indicate those with lesser incomes spend a larger percentage of their earnings on lottery tickets than other income classes. I'm not surprised by this data, as many people dream of turning a small sum of money into a vast fortune. As many lotto players would comment back in my day: "A dollar and a dream."

What many folks don't realize, however, is there's an easier way to become a millionaire. It doesn't take a large sum of money to achieve great results, but you will need time and patience. Investing just $3,000 into dividend-paying stocks over the course of 5 years and re-investing the dividends over the course of 56 years will grow to over $1 million (based on historic 11% annual returns). Most people may not be thinking that far out, but when you consider only having invested $3K to get to that total, think how much wealth you could compile you if you commit to putting even more money to work, year after year.

You've Got to Feel It

A a big music fan, I enjoy a lot of the big-name music-based reality shows like American Idol, X-Factor, and The Voice. It's fun to watch contestants who have big musical dreams compete for national attention.

On a recent episode of American Idol, one of the well-known music coaches (P. Diddy) kept emphasizing to the young artists that he wasn't "feeling" the songs during their rehearsal. He couldn't stress enough that the artists needed to feel the emotion of the songs and translate that feeling to the audience. P. Diddy flat out told some of the singers he simply didn't believe their performance at all.

Whether you're on a music reality show or anywhere else, it's always important to put a full effort into your work. You must make the audience or customer feel that you believe in what you're doing, and that you're giving 100%. It's all too easy for someone to simply move on to your competition if they don't feel respected enough. Having been in physical retail businesses for a good part of my early life, I learned quickly that it didn't take much to lose a customer if you weren't on your "A" game most of the time. That same level of energy I learned in those days has certainly carried over to my efforts with

Also, you can't just be good at one thing these days. You must learn skills that can be applied to all aspects of the business you are in (research, business development, customer service, marketing, etc.). Whether your audience can physically see you or simply review your work online, the effort you put out will always be under the microscope - so be ready to "bring it" every time.

Year-to-Date Results Just Posted

Be sure to check out the year-to-date watchlist posts up on the site today. You can see how well many of the dividend stocks we are tracking have done through the first two months of 2012. As always, you can find these and other members-only articles on Premium Articles Page .

Our Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks eBook Has Arrived!

We just debuted our brand new 275-page eBook, exclusively on! In this digital-only book, we look ahead to 2012 and the main factors that could affect dividend investors. A $39.95 value, the eBook is a free download for paid Premium subscribers.

Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks contains a full economic forecast for 2012, including in-depth analysis on 65 of the biggest dividend stocks out there. It's a great way to get prepared for your investing next year! So head over to the Premium homepage now to download your copy.

I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Premium members-only weekend articles , including new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, such as analyst upgrades/downgrades and earnings/story stocks. These articles are a great way to catch up on the week that was in the markets. We also have a rundown of how various Dividend ETFs performed on the week.

Thanks for reading everybody. 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 The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: ANF , AVP , KSS , MA , PVH

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