Market Wrap-Up for Mar.3 (MET, JOYG, BID, UNH, WLP, CAT, DE, more)

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It looks like the customary beginning-of-the-month rally was on a two-day delay as we saw a big jump in the indices this morning. It will interesting to see how we close the day, as the finish is often more telling than the open.

I'm really not sure what else would be causing the rally, but investors certainly won't complain. It's interesting to see how MetLife ( MET ) rallied today after the insurer's large share offering. That news had sent MET shares lower just yesterday. We are also saw a bounce for Sotheby's ( BID ) and Joy Global ( JOYG ), which had dropped earlier in the week following their earnings results. Wall Street upgrades helped HMO giants UnitedHealth ( UNH ) and Wellpoint ( WLP ). Be sure to check out our latest "Top 50 Dividend Stocks on Our Watchlist" post we published earlier today. As I mentioned at the top, not sure why the big pop, especially for the transports which gained nearly 2.5%, with oil down only $.32 at the close. Huge day for industrial stocks, including a couple of names we like - Caterpillar ( CAT ), and Deere ( DE ).

A new report by consulting firm Mckinsey & Company says the average American family faces a 37 percent shortfall in the income they will need in retirement. Another study out from the Center on Retirement Research finds that Social Security benefits will replace just 28 percent of a recipient's pre-retirement income in 2030, on average, down from 39 percent in 2002. The numbers don't lie as key data points like these are warning signs for individuals who have not begun to make the proper financial adjustments. These findings are affecting many different age groups, so understand the problem is wide in scale. For readers that have been on top of their game, taking advantage of maxing out retirement contributions, I congratulate you. Now just make sure you are invested properly! For the many others, this is the time to start the engines and get to it.

The proportion of individuals who continue to work after age 55 reached a record high this year. Some 40.2 percent of Americans age 55 and older participated in the labor force in 2010, a number than has increased steadily since 1993 when just 29.4 percent of older Americans worked, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute analysis of Census Bureau data. This upward trend is not surprising and is likely to continue because of workers' need for access to employment-based health insurance and for more earning years to accumulate assets in defined contribution (401(k)-type) plans. I personally want to have the choice whether I want to work when I reach my retirement years. Knowing how I am, I doubt I will ever stop "working" per se, but I want to pick and choose the projects I want to be involved in out of excitement and love for what it is I am doing, and not because I need my employer's health benefits.

Everyone has the ability to create their own future. Many are not born with special talents, but instead acquire these skills from hard work, perseverance, and not being afraid to fail. Throw in the willingness to continue to learn and you have the elements required to achieve greatness at some point of your life. Lastly, once you figure out where your special talent lies, stick to that area and just dominate it as much as possible. Being fairly good at five different things is fine, but being the best in a specific category puts you on another playing field. I am trying to get my kids to understand this as they go through the different phases of their life. Whether they are playing sports or taking different electives in school, I am hoping to guide them through identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Now I do want them to improve on their weaknesses, but at the end of the day, hoping they can self-evaluate to what their passions are and what areas they can stand out in.

I want to end today's newsletter by reiterating that investing is not a one-day hit-and-run event. It is, as I always tend to say, like taking care of a garden. If you begin to neglect the garden, it won't be long before the weeds sprout up everywhere and the harvest becomes less and less productive. Don't ever get bored. Stay methodical, look for opportunities, and remain on course by putting funds to work in quality dividend-paying stocks. We're constantly honing our "Best Dividend Stocks" List to include only names we would either initiate a position in or even add to existing positions. It's also a good idea to begin to use more and more of your savings if you can afford to, and start putting it to work for your retirement or other big event in your life. Finding the right strategy for investing is essential (and we feel dividend investing is the best possible solution for the vast majority of everyday investors). Putting what you've learned about investing into practice is the second step. We advocate investors develop a monthly system of putting money to work in your brokerage accounts. Automate this process as best you can, so you remove any barrier of thinking whether you want to skip a month or two if the market is pulling back. Investing isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. Veer off course, and your road to financial success will get longer.

Our new dividend data system, which will include data for several thousand additional dividend stocks (including preferred shares, closed-end funds, etc.) is getting close to being live. I want to thank all our great subscribers for patiently waiting as we get set for this major data upgrade. I look forward to every new investing day as I also know that we continue to attracts lots of new people to our site every day. The challenge to please many investors is enormous, but you can see by our consistent results we don't ever get complacent with what has been achieved, because we know it's always about what's coming up ahead. Is it time to narrow our investment choices? Is the market going to reward growth or value? Whatever it is you can bet we will be all over it.

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.

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: BID , CAT , DE , JOYG , MET

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