Market Wrap-Up for Apr.25 (ABX, KMB, JCI, NEM, AVB, more)

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It was a wild day for metal prices, specifically silver, which started its assault on $50 an ounce, only to reverse following the first hour. Silver did close higher, but did finish off the early morning gap opening. Lots of headlines out over the weekend about the weakening dollar certainly had buyers lined up to continue the feeding frenzy in metals this morning, but today's wild swing could be a caution flag for commodity traders. The indices did closed mixed on the day.

A couple of earnings plays were standouts, but on the downside. Kimberly-Clark ( KMB ) and Johnson Controls ( JCI ) saw a bout of selling after both companies posted earnings results this morning. Also lower were shares of Barrick Gold ( ABX ), following news of the company's agreement for the acquisition of Equinox Minerals Limited. Other gold-mining plays like Newmont Mining [[NEM] and Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM ) also closed lower on the day. REITs had a good day, led by AvalonBay Communities ( AVB ) and Vornado Realty Trust ( VNO ).

As we dig deeper into earnings season, we remain focused on names that could make sense for our recommended list (and new capital that can be put to work). Our watchlist is quite long, but we are remaining super-selective here in terms of stocks we're actually recommending for long-term investors.

According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, 70 percent of respondents said that the country was heading in the wrong direction. As I mentioned over the weekend, the rise in the stock market has helped some, but there are many who feel helpless because of things like their employment situation, rising debt, and energy cost overhead. The bad news is the situation is not likely to change anytime soon, but there is a way out for those who decide to make a change. Of course, the debt solution won't happen in days or weeks, but months and years.

If you're struggling under the weight of massive debt, you'll need to look at accomplishing pieces at a time, and take decisive action once you decide what course to take. If the inflation pundits are correct, then debts will only get harder to keep under control. Remember, we have been seeing a sense of entitlement taking place in the country that lenders/government will eventually buckle and work out a plan to help borrowers deep in the red. This is a big mistake, and the fact is, it takes tons of willpower to turn your financial fortunes around. Meanwhile, the precedent that we have seeing in bailing out bad banks/borrowers has certainly soured the mood of the financially responsible, and for good reason.

Despite the gloom and doom of what polls are telling us, the one thing I know is true is that there are opportunities for those willing to step up. I was at my parents' home for Easter dinner and many of my relatives were there. I can tell you that the mood about the economy I mentioned above was resonating with many in my family as well. I heard their viewpoints, but not much as far as solutions were concerned in how they see things turning around. Fortunately for my relatives, they are all either working or retired (none are unemployed). When I mentioned they should step back and look at their own pictures, and how things weren't so bad in their case, the negative tones of the conversation seemed to abate fairly quickly. It is an amazing thing to see how quickly groups can gather and feed off of one another's negativity. You as an individual need to step back whenever you encounter a similar situation and decide if that is the best way to diagnose your own current state. It's very easy to be negative in the current economic environment, but if you take a good look around you, the solutions are everywhere you turn.

The disdain for the stock market is still front and center for many, but the gains continue to be there for the quality dividend plays we have been recommending on our "Best Dividend Stocks" List. Meanwhile, real estate deals where cash flow numbers make sense are getting done every day, despite all the media's focus being on foreclosures. Businesses are being started by those who see ways to turn industries upside down and in the process, take control of their financial future. As some employees sit around worrying about how long before they get the eventual pink slip, others have had their resumes updated and have moved on. It is up to you to decide if you will remain in the line of fire when it comes to your career, debt, investments, etc.

Look at the group of people who you are around on a daily basis. Are they looking for opportunity, or are they sitting there waiting for things to happen? When you talk about investing, do they tell about how many bills they have, but then five minutes later show you their designer handbag, glasses, etc? Your peers will have a profound effect on your own mindset. Sometimes you need to branch out and engage with a new set of people who have similar interests.

As much as I have loved my favorite sports teams, the time I have dedicated to thinking about sports has subsided in my life. Career-wise, it has been a great decision of course, but it is something to consider when for some, sports is 95% of the conversation. Quick side story - I did have a friend of mine who spent thousands of dollars buying up rookie cards of former sports stars Gregg Jefferies and Eric Lindros back in the late 80s/early 90s, speculating he had just found the new Pete Rose and Wayne Gretzky of his time. They didn't have bad careers, but unfortunately my friend's investment didn't pan out. Sports is a great release for many, but maybe take some of that passion and time to invest it instead in bettering yourself?

The point is to identify your true priorities and dedicate the majority of your time to addressing those. Again, solutions are everywhere we turn, so it's up to you to take action. When you make no effort to change your luck, you will likely never recognize when something good does fall into your lap. I prefer to look for solutions than to whine about problems. As a wise man once said, "To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Premium members-only weekend article, including the new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, in regards to analyst upgrades, downgrades, as well as earnings/story stocks. We also had a rundown of how various Dividend ETFs performed on the week. Our expanded dividend data is pretty much all in place so anyone that focuses on "Dividend Capture" strategies should have plenty of good stuff to research each day.

Speaking of dividend capture, premium members can now access a new 9 page report we just released on things an active investor needs to know when it comes to a dividend capture strategy. Be sure to check it out!

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: ABX , AEM , AVB , JCI , KMB

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