Market Wrap-Up for Feb.4 (AET, WY, MA, K, SPG, AVB, more)

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Talk about a confusing jobs number this morning! The estimates were for 150K new jobs, but instead the number came in at 36K. Yet the unemployment rate fell from 9.5% to 9%. Now I consider myself to be pretty good at math, but what formula was used to come up with these results?

The market certainly didn't have any trouble with the number as an afternoon rally pushed up to finish higher on the day. Aetna ( AET ) and Weyerhaeuser ( WY ) received some love from buyers following earnings results. Aetna also raised their dividend payout from $.05 to $.60 on an annualized basis. That's certainly a bit more of respectable payout from this health insurance giant. Mastercard ( MA ) and Kellogg ( K ) continued to see upside from yesterday's earnings results as well. On the downside today were REITs following results that failed to excite investors. Simon Property Group ( SPG ) and AvalonBay Communities ( AVB ) paced the way lower. Be sure to check out the list of 10 dividend stocks we removed from our recommended list if you did not read the e-mail alert that we sent out earlier.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am just starting my preparation for national radio interviews for my upcoming Be a Dividend Millionaire book as well as discussions on dividend investing, and of course Dividend.com. Yesterday afternoon, I had my initial interview with my media team. The process is to identify key areas of discussion for my future interviews as well as pointers to make the interviews as captivating as possible. I'm not sure how long the interviews will be, so you need to have game plans to hit all your key points in whatever time is allotted.


One of the people I was working with yesterday afternoon is a baby boomer who is worried about not having enough income built up for her retirement. What I did was point her to our Compounding Interest Calculator , and by the end of the call, she said I'd inspired her and given her hope! Think about this example: you are just about to turn 50 years old and have not yet saved a dime (it's quite common - check out the data below that was just released by the Harris Poll just yesterday). Believe it or not, even at 50, you still have plenty of time to build a solid nest egg. For instance, you can start maxing out a Roth IRA contribution ($5K/year currently, but in addition to the "standard" contribution limits, taxpayers age 50 and over are eligible to make a Roth IRA catch-up contribution of an additional $1K/year). If you were to invest $5K per year for every year in your 50s, each $5K you invest would turn into more than $40K after 20 years. So you see, it's never too late to get started!

Speaking of retirement, a Harris Poll came out with survey results yesterday stating 34% percent of Americans have no retirement savings and 27% have no personal savings. Generationally, one-in-four (25%) Baby Boomers (aged 46-64) have no retirement savings, with 22% of Matures (aged 65 and over) stating the same. Gen Xers (aged 34-45) are struggling with more immediate issues; 32% have no personal savings. These numbers are scary, and if you have not been taking advantage of putting some of your money to work for you, there is no better time than now to start. If you are doing this already, then please tell relatives and friends about these numbers and let them know about Dividend.com and what we are focused on: helping people find the best dividend stocks that can produce income and great returns to help individuals build a comfortable nest egg. The majority of advice you hear from the personal finance pundits is always geared toward avoiding individual stocks (with the exception being Suze Orman who is out this year pounding the table of investing in dividend stocks and ETFs). Unfortunately listening to the dumbing-down advice you'll hear from most media types will not maximize what you could be making with stocks that pay you income. I will have plenty more to say on this subject, especially when you have the media praising anything and everything that comes out of various media darlings that spoon-feed you the same stuff over and over. There is nothing innovative about telling someone to spend less than they make, but yet the media rubs their chin and acts like it's a concept that's never been thought of before. I'll stop there for now, but I'm sure you know what I mean!

As we look ahead to next week, earnings season begins to ease just a bit, but there will still be plenty of big names reporting numbers including Walt Disney ( DIS ), Coca-Cola ( KO ), Phillip Morris ( PM ), and more. Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates (including a look at the best year-to-date performers through the end of January) this weekend on Dividend.com Premium, including reports on earnings/story stocks, analyst upgrades/downgrades, dividend ETFs, and more. And as always, you can view our current recommendations on our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List .

Thanks again for reading everybody!

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: AET , AVB , K , MA , SPG

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