The markets were able to recover some of the day's losses following what was a tough market in Japan (down 6%) last night.
The devastation in Japan continues to grow as headlines stream in regarding the damages estimates. Some analysts are putting together a who wins and who loses scenario. It's an unfortunate reality of what happens and something we saw back when Hurricane Katrina left its mark on the gulf. The interesting question will be where Japan will get the funds for the rebuild. The company's debt has been under strain from recent headwinds, so any fix will likely come at a higher-than-expected cost.
We made a change to our recommended list because of the short-term ramifications on nuclear energy prospects. Please be sure to check out the post if you did not read the e-mail alert we sent out earlier today.
We did see companies that have nuclear exposure get hit hard today, such as Cameco ( CCJ ) and Entergy ( ETR ). Some investors bought into coal-related names like Consol Energy ( CNX ) and Peabody Energy ( BTU ). There was also some nibbling going on in infrastructure companies like Caterpillar ( CAT ). The biggest mover on our screen are shares of Lubrizol ( LZ ) on news Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK-A ) is buying the company. We had LZ as an aggressive "recommended" play months ago, but it was just on our watchlist at this time.
Everyone tends to have busy schedules these days. Often times, the thought of having to sit down and examine your finances either scares someone or they feel like there are many better things they can be doing with their free time. This is a big mistake. I often hear something like, "That's what I pay an advisor for. I get that comeback, but don't you think it all falls on your own shoulders to check out what is happening to your money, investments, expenses, portfolios, etc? Look at the superstar athletes and the horror stories we often hear about their finances. Who would have thought that many of our sports heroes would be broke just a few years out of the game? It happens because they stopped paying attention to their money. I am all about rolling up our sleeves to make sure everything is running the way it should when it comes to one's financial dashboard. Otherwise, what is the point of breaking our rear end and working like animals.
Let me ask you four basic questions that I hope you are answering yes to:
1.Are you pulling money automatically out of your bank accounts to put to work in income-producing investment vehicles (like dividend-paying stocks) to boost your retirement nest egg?
2.Are you cutting back on high interest credit card debt?
3.Have you put away a year's worth of expenses in an emergency fund?
4.If you have children, are you funding their college savings plans (529, Coverdell accounts)?
These answers require characteristics that include: taking accountability, taking charge, making sacrifices, working hard, having a sense of urgency, and influencing others around you to follow your lead.
Quick note on the business side for any entrepreneurs out there. I have been reading various datapoints about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) being dead. I guess the recent deals for companies like Huffington Post have some thinking that aggregating content is the short-cut to web riches and we should all begin just scraping sites for content and build users that way. Everyone wants a short-cut these days, which is a big reason why the failure rate for new businesses is so high. When someone realizes the amount of work it takes to build a business, they tend to run for the hills. There is this "passive income" mindset that promises wanna-be millionaires simple riches by following what millions of others are doing to get rich. It's a big joke. Dividend.com was built with a strong foundation. Having a name like Dividend.com is awesome (and was well worth the six-figure investment), but if we produced no content and built a ratings system unlike anything that was out in the market, we wouldn't have the business we have today.
There is a "let's get people to contribute to our platform" mentality that has been able to get some companies a nice payday, but this will not be the case for most web companies that try and follow this strategy. For startups hoping to build a brand through social media, the road is super-hard and if you let up on the gas just one minute, you will see results evaporate quickly. We have elected to concentrate our continuous efforts on our own original content and building up our own platform. It's not to say there is no ROI (return on investment) with social media, but if requires being always on and you need to be willing to take away from what is working already. My advice would be to build yourself a real presence by producing great content on your own site (SEO is not dead - look at where Dividend.com ranks for the key terms in our space on Google) and do something that no one else is doing in your space.
I hope everyone has had a chance to check out our Dividend.com Premium members-only weekend articles, including the new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, in regards to analyst upgrades, downgrades, as well as earnings/story stocks. We also had a rundown of how various Dividend ETFs performed on the week. Our expanded dividend data, along with new dividend names, is making its way through the site and you will certainly be noticing more changes in the days that follow.
Thanks again for reading! Please pass this on to anyone you think we can get inspired and educated about building wealth and using common sense to do so.
P.S. One month till the debut of my "Be a Dividend Millionaire" book - I Can't Wait! (Hopefully Jets LB Bart Scott will not have a problem with me using his trademarked "Can't Wait" term!)
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