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Market Wrap-Up for Oct.11 (MOS, CF, GIS, DOW, KSS, more)

It was a mixed session for the averages as the momentum-driven Nasdaq index posted gains, but on below average volume, while the Dow fell as volume on the NYSE rose. Again, volume confirmation for the recent rally has been suspect and we are hoping to see things improve before we see a better confirmation of the bounce being for real.

Looking at today's movers, we saw fertilizer names getting some attention. There was takeover chatter surrounding Mosaic Co. ( MOS ) this morning, which also helped lift competitors CF Industries ( CF ) and Potash Corp ( POT ). We've seen occasional rumors for deals in the fertilizer space, so investors need to be careful if they are considering any of these low dividend yield plays.

Elsewhere, positive Wall Street commentary had shares of General Mills ( GIS ) and Dow Chemical ( DOW ) higher for much of the day. Retailers like Kohl's ( KSS ) and Nordstrom Inc. ( JWN ) saw recent gains slip away throughout much of the trading day. Financials traded in a tight range for much of the day as there was little in the way of economic headlines to move the needle for the sector.

Negative Influences Can Keep You From Making Wise Decisions

MIT just released a study about how product ratings/blog comments can affect sales by looking into various social media elements. It is very common for customers to seek out the opinions of others prior to making a purchase. Before the Internet came along, it was usually our inner circle of friends and family that would have the biggest influence on our buying decisions. Nowadays, people flock to the web for most of their reviews.

The study found that opinions tend to come from only a small segment of the customer population - one that may not mirror the sentiment of all customers. Along those lines, more involved customers tended to skew their ratings downward to have their opinion/comments stand out. Meanwhile, customers who are more positive and less involved tend to stick to the sidelines. Also, comments tend to become more negative over time as the more involved, more critical customers begin to dominate the forum while their less involved counterparts stick to the sidelines.

We are certainly living in a world where there is doubt surrounding most everything. The key thing to remember is when you are looking to make a decision based on what someone else writes, first consider the reliability of the source. I would only give weight to a reviewer if the negative comments had clear explanations and made sense. I don't know how many times I have researched a particular product where I got the sense the negative comments were more from the laziness of not reading instructions, so instead they decide to blast the product. If you have any friends that are technically capable, you will often hear them point to this condition as "R.T.F.M" (Read the ****ing Manual).

These lessons are important for investors and anyone looking to improve their financial picture, especially when it comes time to roll up your sleeves and get started with a book or service that can change the way you handle of your money. Ignore the common stereotypes of "you need money" to become rich in the stock market, or stuff like "it's an insider's game" and "you're a sucker if you think you can invest wisely in the stock market." The people who say those kinds of things, quite frankly, don't know what they're talking about. In the end, if you are going to have any success in anything, it will come only when you apply yourself.

Unemployable - Don't Let This Be You

Recent numbers out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrate the dangers of being out of work for an extended period. Of the 14 million unemployed, about 45 percent have been jobless for more than six months, and over 70 percent of those have not worked in a year or more. As of September, the average time out of work stands at 40.5 weeks. And this last stat is scary and downright depressing: of those unemployed more than 12 months, only 1 in 10 return to work.

The reason I bring these points up is because there are individuals from every income class being affected by the tightening jobs market. Here are some tips for anyone that gets unexpected news on the job front.

- Immediately reach out to your contacts and let them know of your situation. Do not let pride get in the way of asking for help. Everyone understands the current job market, so there is no shame in being open.

- Immediately get to work on a new resume that will highlight the skills you possess for the particular field you specialize in. If you are considering a switch to a new field, try and make some comparisons to how your skill-set can work in the new field.

- Immediately try and line up interviews with the desired companies you are seeking and be sure to do as much research as possible to show the interviewer how serious and prepared you are to come aboard as quickly as possible.

- Immediately polish up your interview skills (for many this could be the first time back out in the workforce in years).

- Immediately follow-up with a thank-you e-mail later on in the day following the interview as well as sending out a hand-written thank-you card in the mail the next day. The first and last impression you make could be the difference in you becoming one of the statistics above.

Notice the word "immediately" being used above in every point. That is because there tends to be a sense of complacency at what could be the worst possible time, when instead it should be all about having a state of urgency. The bottom line is the longer you are out of work these days, the more toxic your resume and chances will become. Hopefully you aren't in the situation above, but in case you are, you now have some quick tips on how to deal with it.

If you decide to go the self-employed route, be sure to pursue a business idea that can actually produce revenue. I prefer when people take that step when there is less pressure financially and not when it becomes an all-or-nothing moment. Too many bad decisions tend to result from emotionally-filled situations. Just because you form a company doesn't mean you have a business.

I touch upon this subject because in many ways your career is the bridge to what will get you to the place of building wealth, which is where Dividend.com can be of service. It is of great importance that I remind everyone of the obstacles that can sometimes derail our "best laid plans."

Income, Income, Income

At Dividend.com, we maintain our focus on the best income-producing investments the markets have to offer during time of heightened volatility. We want to make sure we have only the most pullback-resistant names on our Best Dividend Stocks List . Also, if we see the market putting in what looks like a decent bottom, we will be prepared to scale up the list of stocks we like. Stay tuned and be sure to look for Dividend.com Premium member alerts along the way. Don't count on the government or your employer to set you up for a remarkable retirement. Take control, do your own research, and achieve your goals yourself!

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 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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