Market Wrap-Up for July 7 (TGT, KSS, COF, V, AVP, YUM, more)

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The market got off to a solid start today following a report from payroll services firm ADP showing private sector employers added 157,000 workers in June, far exceeding expectations of 60,000. This data comes out one day ahead of tomorrow's monthly jobs report. The buying sentiment from investors stayed consistent throughout the day.

Besides a bullish jobs report, various monthly retail sales reports coming in this morning showed consumer spending remained strong in June. Department store plays Target ( TGT ) and Kohl's ( KSS ) both popped on their numbers. Dillard's ( DDS ) was a big winner, gaining over 9% by the close. One name that disappointed and ended trading lower was J.C. Penney ( JCP ). Elsewhere, Wall Street upgrades moved stocks like Visa ( V ), Capital One Financial ( COF ), and Avon Products ( AVP ) in the green. On the flipside, Wall Street downgrades pushed shares of Yum Brands ( YUM ) and Northrop Grumman ( NOC ) lower in the early going.

Standard & Poor's came out with headlines yesterday saying dividend raises at companies in the S&P 500 index during the second quarter rose nearly 33 percent from 335 in the same quarter last year to 444. This is a great sign for investors looking to create new income streams.

Speaking of dividends, we're constantly asked by Dividend.com readers about exactly how to qualify to receive a dividend payout. Here is the short answer you need to know:

In order to receive a company's dividend payout, you must own the shares prior to the ex-dividend date. You can then sell the stock any time on or after the ex-dividend date and still receive the payout.

I bring this point up because you'd be surprised at how many brokers give clients the wrong information when it comes dividend payouts and how you qualify for them. If you are someone who likes to invest around dividend dates, be sure to get on the same page with your broker so there are no assumptions to whatever you are looking to do with capturing dividend payouts. Of course, we prefer investors to look at the long term and build a quality dividend portfolio, but many readers are also interested in capturing dividends. Our Ex-Dividend Calendar is the perfect tool for this type of strategy.

If you're new to dividend investing, or just need a bit of a primer on the basic points you need to be aware of, I also suggest you check out our Dividend Stock Library , which is chock full of useful dividend info.

Dividend investors that are looking for income should not be distracted by the headline grabbers and instead be looking for opportunities in companies that are currently on our Best Dividend Stocks List . Our main focus is on quality dividend names with attractive yields, and this should be the main focus for all those that are hoping to build income for the long-term. We will continue to parse through our data to make sure only the names we like best remain on our recommended list. Remember, if we downgrade stocks from the list, it is not a sell call! Only in very rare instances will we advocate liquidating positions in a formerly recommended name. We just want to have the best names from a risk/reward standpoint on our recommended list for new money at all times. Investors should however utilize a sell strategy in the event a company you own drops 25% from its 52-week high and there are company-specific problems that could cause additional significant underperformance for that particular stock.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you tomorrow! P.S. Please pass this e-mail on to someone you think can use some financial motivation as well as being kept in the financial news loop that could affect them.

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: AVP , COF , DDS , KSS , NOC

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