Market Wrap-up for July 3 (DUK, AA, WMT, more)

The markets closed early at 1pm EST today so investors could get an early start on their Independence Day celebrations. Remember, the U.S. markets are closed tomorrow in observance of the Fourth of July holiday.

Stocks got a boost in abbreviated trading due to an unexpected uptick in factory orders. The Commerce Department said that May orders rose 0.7% from April. This move follows two straight months of factor order declines.

In stock-related news, Duke Energy (DUK) (one of our current recommendations) completed the acquisition of Progress Energy. The company then did a 1-for-3 stock split and named a new CEO. We expect the company to continue its previous payout level following the merger. For more information, see our article here, as well as Duke’s Investor Relations section here.

Elsewhere in the markets, Alcoa (AA) shares closed up over 3% despite a cautious analyst note. The aluminum producer has struggled badly as of late, as demand for its metals has slumped. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart (WMT) shares hit new 52-week highs. Finally, Gold (GLD) prices closed up about 1.2%, and Oil (USO) surged $3.55, or +4.2%. We’ll be keeping a close eye on these commodity price movements as the summer progresses.

Getting Back a Piece of Your Youth

There are pressures all around adults these days from the economy, finances, careers, and whatever else. If you think back to when we were all younger, we’d often hear adults mumble how kids don’t have a worry in the world. Fast forward to later in life and you see the pressures I just mentioned begin to mount. Depression has become a common symptom for adults as a result of the pressures.

If we can somehow get back the mindset we had in our youth, I can guarantee you that life would be a lot more enjoyable. How can we do this? How about taking a mental break for some “recess” time. As a kid in school, how I would look forward to going outside and play with my friends. We didn’t know what it was we do often times, but ideas would come quick and the next thing you know we were “free.” As an adult, we need time like this each and every day if possible, regardless of the pressures around us.

I see too many adults these days with too serious of a demeanor, and it saddens me to think that any particular item can overwhelm someone to the point where laughter is hard to come by. It’s not just this current generation or time period that undergoes the stress I am describing. If you watch older TV movies or shows, you would see the same things affect lives decades ago. Back then, some of the problems centered around the loneliness of kids getting married and leaving the nest, leaving the mother of the household lonely without any of the chores they were used to doing. Being a homemaker, they would always be busy, but when the children moves out, mothers were confused as to what their daily lives would become.

In today’s society, the thrill of the unknown is becoming less and less. You want answers to most questions, just turn on your computer and you’ll find numerous answers from many different sources. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but adults can tell you how quickly kids of this generation know so much more than most of us adults would have known back in our day.

I know the main focus of what we do at is to help people gain a knowledge of better investing ideas through our research, but I like to remind myself and others that we do need to enjoy our life as much as we can, regardless of any trials and tribulations we may be currently facing. Turning away from the negatives and those who may carry that crutch is one way to do it, but we need to just remember what it’s like to be a child and how much fun things were. If we take more enjoyment in what we have — and what we can achieve — we’ll all be primed for more success in all of our endeavors.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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