Market Wrap-Up for Mar.18 (NKE, LO, GIS, JPM, WFC, STT, more)

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The markets saw a continuation of yesterday's rally after the G7 group of countries intervened in the foreign exchange market for the first time in more than ten years in an attempt to halt the rapid appreciation in the Japanese yen versus the dollar. There is also talk of a Libya ceasefire that is giving market-watchers hope oil prices can settle down a bit. We'll have to wait and see how this plays out, but my guess is the currency development is something investors will want to keep on their radar.

Shares of tobacco play Lorillard ( LO ) spiked on news an FDA ban of menthol cigarettes appears unlikely. This is a name we have liked in the past, but we will closely monitor the newsflow before reconsidering the stock for our "Best Dividend Stocks" List . The official FDA ruling is set for next week, and LO has been extremely volatile as a result.

Nike ( NKE ) shares were hammered following the company's earnings release. I am certainly glad we removed the name from our "Best Dividend Stocks" List back on March 7, advising subscribers to ring the register on that name. That said, Nike is certainly a great brand that we will be looking for a future opportunity in. Elsewhere, a name we like - General Mills ( GIS ) was up on news the company could be close to acquiring a controlling stake in the Yoplait yogurt brand. Analyst upgrades helped push up shares of Accenture ( ACN ) and Unilever ( UN ) this morning. Construction equipment maker Caterpillar ( CAT ) gained as more talk of rebuilding efforts in Japan could become a catalyst for the shares. Finally, tech giant Cisco Systems ( CSCO ) announced its first ever dividend payout this morning. The yield will be around 1.4% - not great, but it's a start. The shares gained slightly. We had a slew of dividend increases from several financials, including J.P. Morgan ( JPM ), State Street ( STT ), U.S. Bancorp ( USB ), Wells Fargo ( WFC ), and BB&T ( BBT ).

Whenever I get asked about financial success, I can't help but start with non-investing topics first. There are things everyone needs to be aware of before they can set the table for building wealth. Discipline in how one spends money is critical to getting you financially fit. Buying "things" may feel good short-term, but the more money that is siphoned away from investment vehicles early on can really hurt your long-term outlook. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is a lousy game to try and play and will only make you more miserable as time goes on. Stick to buying some of the cheaper wants (lattes, handbags, clothes, electronics) instead of the big-ticket items (cars, boats, etc.) if you can not avoid the shopping experience. Debt is part of most of our lives. Defining good debt from bad often incurs quite an argument, but it's safe to say that racking up any sort of high credit card balances will set you back. Home loans and student loans can be dangerous as well, depending on the situation. Not paying attention to inflation will also cost you dearly if you are not paying attention to where your money may be presently sitting. Savings account and CD bank customers are missing a huge chance to buy quality dividend-paying companies that should be able to consistently raise profits through any inflation period. Too many people are also ill-prepared for any unforeseen emergencies that can pop up (job loss, injuries that force one out of work, etc.). You see, there needs to be a good foundation when it comes to the goal of building wealth and having financial security.

Plenty of people dream about getting rich, but when given the opportunity to work hard to get there, some choose to take the easy road. Unfortunately the easy road is often full of other individuals that echo the missed opportunities they wish they had pursued. I am a huge fan of the entrepreneur's road to getting wealthy, as I am living that passion today. I have been an entrepreneur for the last 20 years or so, and I would recommend it to anyone who is ready to make the sacrifices needed to succeed.

Every business opportunity becomes a stepping stone to something even bigger. You just have to make sure your current lifestyle can absorb some potential early lean years. I remember selling my home to get extra capital for when I embarked on my stock trading career. It wasn't the easiest decision to make, but the family was small enough at the time to be able to deal with what many considered being a step backwards. It was something I knew I needed to do to give me enough of a cushion to pursue what was my dream at the time. Fast forward to a few years back and I utilized a home equity loan to help me put together enough capital to purchase the Dividend.com domain name we use for our business today. It was yet another sacrifice that many questioned at the time, but I knew that I had something special I was going to do, but money was necessary to make it happen. The challenge to become better with each experience is what drives me today and what I hope can inspire many that read my posts to go for their dreams. Whether you choose to be an entrepreneur or work your way up the company ladder, just keep pushing until you get there. You don't ever want to look back at your life and see it was full of missed opportunities. Age should never be a hindrance to reaching your goals. Ray Kroc was 59 years old when he began turning McDonald's ( MCD ) into a global brand. At the time, he was suffering from diabetes and arthritis. His gall bladder and thyroid gland had already been surgically removed. Don't let anything stand in your way!

As we look ahead to next week, some big name earnings will be on tap, including Best Buy ( BBY ), Oracle ( ORCL ), and Walgreen Co. ( WAG ), just to name a few. Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates 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 .

One last thing, please pass this newsletter on to any family, friends, or colleagues that you think could benefit from it. Word of mouth about Dividend.com is one of the best gifts you can give us.

Another final thought, what information you are absorbing in your lives can impact how you see your life? Focus on things that will continue to inspire you and maybe a bit less of things that can give you a negative slant of life. Building positive momentum will lead to many successes in life. It's a simple self-perpetuating loop that anyone can do.

Thanks for reading!

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: ACN , BBY , CAT , CSCO , GIS

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