Market Wrap-Up for Oct.12 (WFC, JPM, WMT, LOW, WDC, more)
The market tried to end the week on a positive note, but the best investors could do today was to end with the indices mixed by the close.
Financial giants Wells Fargo ( WFC ) and JP Morgan ( JPM ) both reported results this morning. Both earnings reports were met with a tepid response from investors. Meanwhile, transports play J.B. Hunt ( JBHT ) had the opposite reaction, with investors cheering its third quarter earnings.
Wall Street analyst upgrades played a role in moving stocks like Wynn Resorts ( WYNN ), Lowe's ( LOW ), and Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ) higher. Coal-related names and disk-drive makers had a rough go of it, however, with stocks like Walter Energy ( WLT ) and Western Digital ( WDC ) feeling the weight of cautious analyst commentary.
A constant debate rages on regarding whether money plays a huge role in finding happiness. I saw a snippet recently on the Katie Couric show, where a recent experiment tested the "money equals happiness" hypothesis. In the study, individuals were given an envelope with either a check to buy something for themselves, or a check to buy something for someone else. Perhaps surprisingly, the subjects in the experiment tended to enjoy themselves a bit more when buying something for someone else, rather than spending on themselves. The more I thought about the results of this experiment, the more it seemed to make sense.
I began thinking about my own situation, and tried to count how many times in the last year I went out and bought something exclusively for myself. The honest truth is I couldn't think of any. Anything my wife and I buy these days tends to be centered around our kids and what they need (certainly not everything they want!). But you get the idea. It's entirely possible to be happy without spending much money on yourself.
My parents were all about sacrifice, and didn't care so much about fancy material things, so I guess that quality kind of rubbed off on me. Don't get me wrong, though, there isn't anything wrong with buying things for yourself. Rewarding yourself once in a while for a job well done can be an important part of your path to success.
Getting back to the money experiment I saw on TV, most of the show's studio audience seemed to agree on one thing: having money was almost always better than not having it. You can't solve every issue with money, but we all know it can certainly alleviate some of the everyday stresses people face. Whether you have already been successful in your life and currently focus on building upon a strong existing financial foundation, or even if you've just started planting some initial money seeds (in the form of quality dividend stocks), you can bet I will touch upon almost every piece of subject matter that addresses one's goals, obstacles, and processes in my daily commentary.
Looking ahead to the next week for stocks, fourth quarter earnings will start to pick up considerably. On tap are results from the likes of IBM Corp ( IBM ), Coca-Cola ( KO ), Phillip Morris International ( PM ), and General Electric ( GE ), just to name a few. The focus will also continue to be on the economic data, the Presidential election, and as usual, the latest Wall Street analyst calls.