Market Wrap-Up for Dec.2 (JPM, C, MS, PVH, HRB, LOW, more)

An image of a quarterly report on a screen Credit: Shutterstock photo

The markets jumped higher early on in response to a better-than-expected overall monthly jobs report today. Especially encouraging was the fall in the unemployment rate to 8.6% (how accurate the numbers really are is always a question that's very difficult to answer). But by the end of the day, most of the gains slipped away. In the end, it was still a monster week (Dow gained nearly 800 points) for all the indices and quite a nice rebound from the selling we saw the last couple of weeks.

The financials are getting a much-needed boost from the data, with Citigroup ( C ), Morgan Stanley ( MS ), and J.P. Morgan ( JPM ) seeing some of the biggest percentage gains. Also moving higher on the back of positive Wall Street commentary were shares of Lowes ( LOW ) ( commentary here ) and T.Rowe Price ( TROW ) ( commentary here ). Shares of PVH Corp ( PVH ) jumped nicely following better-than-expected earnings results . On the flipside, H&R Block ( HRB ) ended lower on a much wider-than-expected loss this past quarter.

Emotion is the Enemy When Investing

Could you have seen the market's recent turnaround coming, not to mention this morning's unemployment rate falling to 8.6% from 9%? No one should be raising their hand here. The truth is, we do our best to find the right investment vehicles for the times we are in.

Despite the ups and downs of the markets, we have been able to do that pretty well. That said, I know there are many investors out there who are not happy about the way the market is behaving or all the shenanigans surrounding Congress, fed monetary policy, and all things political. All the upheaval is enough to affect how some people view investment opportunities, and unfortunately, that sort of behavior is only a hindrance to our wealth-building (and preserving) goals.

Whether you are out in the working world hustling your butt off or sitting home keeping tabs on your nest egg, you should do your best to conquer the fear that can make you second-guess what you are thinking about when it comes to all things money.

The big drop in early 2009 (when the Dow hit as low as 6,500) was the worst time that most investors had ever seen. However, if you maintained your composure and held quality dividend names, only putting new capital in the names we had on the Best Dividend Stocks List back then, you are sitting pretty right now. Of course, we don't believe in holding stocks that are "cooked" from a company advantage standpoint, so weeds in our money garden are never welcome. Some pruning will be necessary along the way.

The bottom line is to think offensively most of the time, and know that when we need to be defensive (such as in the past year or so), we will do just that - all the while still looking for opportunities to enhance our dividend investment portfolios.

Don't Participate At Your Own Risk

A recent survey of corporations by Northern Trust shows nearly one in three employees under age 35 has not enrolled in their 401(k) retirement plan. A few weeks you back, we talked about a study by the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, which found that 401K participants are influenced by their co-workers when they make equity investments. While we understand that many of the biggest expenses we'll incur in our lives will hit us in the early 30′s (kids, mortgage, etc.), the reality is that those expenses never go away.

That's why it remains crucial to prepare oneself for their retirement years sooner rather than later. Doing the bare minimum (for example, saving a set amount each month to invest, but never pushing harder to raise the amount you invest over time) will likely leave many short of an enjoyable period later in life. Building wealth requires you to aside funds and invest them in income-producing assets (dividend stocks are our immediate focus, but it can be investing into growing your business even more, or buying a property that can be cash-flow positive). And if you're already retired, your focus should be on owning stocks with higher yields (think 5-6%), keeping your cost of living down, and continuing to put additional money to work if you can.

Dividend stocks may seem boring, and have certainly been portrayed as such by the business media, but slow and steady has been the winning mantra for decades. Much historical data continues to back what we advocate is the best way to outperform the markets: owning high-quality dividend stocks.

Automate the investing process as best you can, so you remove any mental barriers. Embrace investing as a constant learning process. Be willing to keep an eye on what your investments are doing. Staying in the loop is an integral part of growing your money.

Just dabbling in the markets will not get you to where you need to be. Develop a routine and stick with it!

New Watchlist Article Out Today

Be sure to check out our weekly Top 50 High-Yield Watchlist Names post that is out today, exclusively for Premium members. This list gives readers a good idea of what stocks we're watching behind the scenes here for potential upgrades.

Our Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks eBook Has Arrived!

We just debuted our brand new 275-page eBook, exclusively on! In this digital-only book, we look ahead to 2012 and the main factors that could affect dividend investors. A $39.95 value, the eBook is a free download for paid Premium subscribers.

Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks contains a full economic forecast for 2012, including in-depth analysis on 65 of the biggest dividend stocks out there. It's a great way to get prepared for your investing next year! So head over to the Premium homepage now to download your copy.

A Look to Next Week and a Weekend Preview

Looking ahead to next week, quarterly earnings results will be fairly light. We will still see reports from the likes of Men's Wearhouse ( MW ) and Costco ( COST ), however, just to name a few.

Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates this weekend on Premium , including reports on earnings/story stocks, analyst upgrades/downgrades, dividend ETFs, and much more. And as always, you can view our current recommendations on our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List .

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you this weekend! P.S. Please pass this e-mail on to someone you think can use some financial motivation as well as being kept in thefinancial newsloop 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 Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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