Market Wrap-Up for Apr.4 (MON, IBM, MCD, THI, JOY, more)

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Panicky investors reacted negatively to the Federal Reserve's headline comments yesterday, but may have missed the part where the Fed said they're ready to act as needed if growth slows. Don't get me wrong, a pullback here is not a bad thing for dividend investors as we would like to see better entry points for our favorite dividend names anyhow.

Looking at today's market movers, it was safe to say most of the names we were monitoring traded in the red for much of the day. Monsanto ( MON ) reported earnings this morning and closed down. Wall Street analyst downgrades helped push stocks like IBM Corp ( IBM ), Tim Horton's ( THI ), and McDonald's ( MCD ) lower. Bucking the downtrend were shares of Brown-Forman ( BF-B ) and Joy Global ( JOY ), with both stocks seeing positive comments from analyst upgrades.

Student Loan Debt: You Won't Believe These Stats

The Washington Post recently ran a story highlighting the age demographics of Americans carrying student loan debt. It's no surprise to see nearly two-thirds of the total debt is held by those in the 20-39 year-old age range. Where things get scary is when you see 16% plus of student debt held in the 40-49 year-old age range, 11% of debt held by those in the 50-59 year-old range, and 4% plus of debt held by Americans in their 60′s. $36 billion in student loan dollars are outstanding for Americans over 60 ! This type of personal debt can be a scary thing for people in this age group, since it's normally the time folks planned to have little or no debt.

So, how do so many older Americans owe so much in student loans? They likely either picked a career path early in life that didn't work out as well on the salary standpoint, or decided to go back to school to re-tool their skills in their 40′s. The hope, of course, is to invest in a career that will eventually pay enough to wipe away the loan debt relatively quickly.

I have been beating the drum loudly in my newsletter that parents (and grandparents) need to get their children on some sort of precise path regarding career options. The last thing any of us want is to see sky-high piles of debt for the younger generation, with little employment prospects after they do graduate.

Restoring the Magic

Starbucks ( SBUX ) has seen its fortunes turn around after bringing back CEO Howard Schultz to fix new issues the company faced as they grew globally.

Mr. Schultz decided to fine-tune processes like using a serrated internal ring inside a pitcher to guide a barista in how much milk should be used, instead of pouring excess steamed milk down the drain. This one move saved the company millions of dollars a year, believe it or not. We all have the ability to mimic these sorts of cost-control measures in our own lives if we just take the time to examine how much money we may be flushing away needlessly.

The fixes are often right in front of our eyes, from cutting back on certain indulgences or changing priorities on how we allocate funds. Money is great to have, but it needs a purpose. Spending money on yourself to enjoy the finer things in life isn't a bad thing, but I suggest you make a pact with yourself, for example, to invest $2 for every $1 you spend on personal wants. I wouldn't mind seeing that ratio even higher from an investment standpoint, but it's a start to getting back on a reasonable road to building wealth - all the while enjoying life in the interim.

An Important Note Regarding the Best Dividend Stocks List

We want to make sure everyone understands that the stocks on our Best Dividend Stocks List are the names we currently like for new investor capital, regardless of what date the stock was first recommended on. If and when a stock is removed from the list, we will clearly state whether the stock should be sold (which is rare but occasionally will happen), or simply held in one's account until we see a better entry point or catalyst.

And here's one last thing to remember about what we do here at Dividend.com: it's not just the names that we recommend that can help you build wealth, but also the things we try to steer you away from that are just as important. Forget about speculative or penny stocks, chasing unprofitable IPOs, and listening to the manic talking heads in the business media!

Our Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks eBook Has Arrived!

We just debuted our brand new 275-page eBook, exclusively on Dividend.com! 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 Dividend.com 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 Dividend.com Premium homepage now to download your copy.

A Dividend Capture Strategy for Active Investors

We now offer complete U.S. dividend data for all Dividend.com Premium members, so anyone that focuses on "Dividend Capture" trading strategies should have plenty of good stuff to research each day. Just check our enhanced Ex-Dividend Calendar , which is the best in the business, to search for upcoming payouts.

Speaking of dividend capture, Dividend.com Premium members can also access a 9-page report we published on the essential elements to any successful dividend capture strategy. Be sure to check it out here on the Premium homepage .

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.

Created by Dividend.com


This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: IBM , JOY , MCD , MON , THI

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