Market Wrap-Up for Feb.28 (BRK.A, WAG, JOYG, POT, MMM, more)

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Warren Buffett was out with his annual update as to where he sees the business environment, and from the gist of his comments, he remains positive on the U.S. economy (rising gas prices could add a negative wrinkle however from where we sit). He also mentioned his Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A)may be on the prowl for a major acquisition. We have certainly seen a fair share of M&A the last few months, so deal talk is front and center for many corporations.

It's was a good start for the Dow this week. Wall Street analysts came in with their "upgrade" pencils ready. Positive calls helped lift shares of Walgreen Co. ( WAG ), Joy Global ( JOYG ), and Potash Corp ( POT ). 3M ( MMM ) got some love from Barron's over the weekend and the stock closed 2% higher. Other names pushing upward included Equity Residential ( EQR ) and Eaton Corp ( ETN ). There could have been a bit of end-of-the-month buying from fund managers that helped the tape. The market has been able to start each month in good shape, so we'll see if tomorrow can continue the trend.

Life expectancy in the United States has already reached a record high of 77.8 years, up from 70.8 in 1970, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Fueled by continuing health gains, the U.S. Census Bureau projects life expectancy in the world's wealthiest country will reach 79.2 years by 2015. From a health standpoint, we have certainly made great strides in the last few decades. Unfortunately the wealth side of things has not kept pace with the data we have been receiving the last few years. Last July, the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimated 47% of baby boomers between the ages of 56 and 62 were likely to run shy of the cash they'll need to pay for basic expenses and uninsured health costs in retirement. Meanwhile, half of retired Florida residents count social security for half their income. Some 25 percent count on social security for at least 90 percent of their income. All told, there are nearly 3.7 million Florida residents who receive social security payouts.

The goal is to accumulate enough income to live comfortably in retirement using a combination of Social Security, 401K's/Pensions, and investments. You also need to plan well when you are beginning to draw down on the savings you have accumulated. Before you actually decide to retire, you should have a plan for how you will spend down your assets. Remember that you will need to pay income tax on withdrawals from traditional 401K's and IRAs and withdrawals from those accounts become required after age 70 1/2. Retirees who don't withdraw the correct amount will face a 50 percent tax penalty on the required withdrawal amount. The standard number you often hear is 4% a year of your overall net savings when it comes to figuring out how much of your capital you should begin tapping when you are no longer working. You can use 4% as a benchmark but everyone's situation will change over the years, so be sure to do your planning properly. Talking to a tax professional can certainly help as well as a consultation with a certified financial planner for another opinion.

Compound Interest is the best road for investors to follow, with quality dividend-paying stocks playing a vital part of it. To compound successfully you need the following: perseverance in order to keep you firmly on the savings path, great resources to get the best information on where to put your money (Dividend.com is helping tens of thousands of individuals find the best dividend names to consider), and finally, patience in understanding the big returns happen over a period of time and not overnight. This is just part of what needs to understood by investors, but it does summarize a key part of the mindset you need to have to succeed in building wealth.

I hope everyone has had a chance to check out our newest Dividend.com Premium members-only weekend articles, 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 will be going live in the next day or so, so stay tuned. We will also be publishing the biggest year-to-date winners tomorrow for stocks that are currently on our watchlists. This will give investors a look at who is pacing gains in 2011 and could be considered as stocks for investors to put on one's watchlist.

As always, check out our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List for the top dividend names to put money into right now.

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 The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: EQR , ETN , JOYG , MMM , POT

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