Market Wrap-Up for Nov.2 (MA, V, CF, EOG, TWX, AXP, more)

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We were back on Federal Reserve watch today, as investors waited for commentary from the two-day meeting this afternoon. The market was certainly content with the message as chairman Ben Bernanke stuck to his "do whatever it takes" stance on spurring the economy. With that, the indices gained back a bit of yesterday's big loss.

Quite a few earnings reports this morning affected big-name stocks. MasterCard ( MA ) jumped higher on its strong earnings beat this morning . The company's dividend yield is minimal, so the stock is only suited for the most aggressive investors. The credit card giant also helped competitors' shares move up, including Visa ( V ), American Express ( AXP ), and Capital One Financial ( COF ).

Also trading higher on earnings results were shares of EOG Resources ( EOG ), Pioneer Natural Resources ( PXD ), and CF Industries ( CF ). Again, these are all high-beta low-dividend-yield stocks that tend to be bought by active traders.

A couple of stocks did move lower following disappointing earnings results, including Time Warner ( TWX ) and Molson Coors ( TAP ).

The Cowboy Mentality and Wall Street

The MF Global debacle continues to unfold, as news broke yesterday that the firm cannot account for a good portion of clients' money. Apparently, the firm had been co-mingling client funds along with its own assets, which is a big no-no. As of Aug. 31, the firm had $7.3 billion in customer assets and was the eighth-largest U.S. futures broker, sporting a big presence in commodity markets worldwide.

I've often talked about how dangerous commodity, currency, and futures markets can be, despite the numerous commercials glamorizing how sexy and profitable those markets supposedly are. This kind of trading is the height of gambling in the financial markets, but yet, many are lured into it, despite the velocity of how things can turn against one's positions.

MF Global had employed around 3,000 people according to the latest reports. With the company declaring bankruptcy, it's a near certainty that most of those jobs will disappear.

These headlines will not do anything to ease the tension on Wall Street, which has been targeted recently by citizen protests. Much of the public continues to wonder what exactly the big Wall Street firms are contributing to the overall economy. Hundreds of billions in bailouts have undoubtedly been damaging not only to the economy, but to the overall sentiment of investors.

Regardless of how much money you have, your best strategy is to keep your investment style as simple as possible. Remember, the more complex you make your investments, the greater the odds you will underperform.

And be careful who you trust when it comes to your money. How many athletes and celebrities have been scammed into bad investments in recent years? As I always say, no one will ever take better care of your money than you. If you keep things simple, you'll be well-positioned for solid returns - and be able to sleep at night.

Reaching the Pinnacle

I recently watched a clip of former NBA star and "bad boy" Dennis Rodman's Hall of Fame Induction speech. It had the usual thank-you's and props to his former teammates and coaches. But things took a bit of a turn when he reflected on his road of success.

His wife and kids were in attendance with him. Many may not have even realized he'd been married with children for many years, considering how frequently he'd been featured in tabloids, which reported alleged affairs with many well-known celebrities. As Rodman stood at the podium, it was easy to see the weight of his confession that he wasn't exactly the best husband or father. He even admitted to hating his mom (who was also in the audience) for being as tough as she was on him, but that he was understanding and grateful for her sacrifices in working and raising the family on her own. Many of us will never be in such a public spotlight, but many will travel a rocky road to attain the success we always wanted.

In our desire to reach our own mountain top, let us keep in mind the actions we take will always remain as evidence of how we got there. Having those special people in our lives to reflect with later in life will be what you remember the most. In Mr. Rodman's case, his family was there by his side to in a sense forgive his past transgressions, and pay honor to someone who did reach the hardest of accolades in sports, induction into the Hall of Fame.

I have often heard stories about hospice nurses that have listened to many regrets from those that are dying. The two biggest takeaways from those stories were regretting not having the courage to go after their dreams, and more importantly, understanding that happiness is a choice. Remember these things as you think about where you are in your life. You can often control your own destiny more than you think.

We can all fuss about the size of our bank accounts, our job that is making us miserable, or whatever else that could be holding us back. Or, we can make the changes necessary to improve our "luck." Ultimately, your current luck in life is built upon the actions you've taken long before.

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Thanks for reading everybody. 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: AXP , CF , COF , EOG , MA

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