Market Wrap-Up for July 5 (WAG, ROST, KSS, IR, EEP, more)

The markets got off to a rocky start this morning, but the averages staged a bit of a comeback as the day progressed. Tech stocks mostly led the rebound, with the NASDAQ finishing the day better than the Dow.

ADP released a better-than-expected private sector jobs report today. The company said that 176,000 private sector jobs were added in the U.S. in June, much higher than the 100,000 analysts were looking for. The service-providing sector provided the bulk of the gains (160,000 of the 176,000 new jobs came in the services industry). The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release their own employment stats for June tomorrow.

Despite those job gains in the services sector, this morning’s ISM report was disappointing. The Institute for Supply Management said its services index fell to 52.1% in June, down from 53.7% in May. Analysts expected higher growth of 52.9% (a reading above 50% indicates growth, while below 50% shows contraction).

In stock-specific news, a bunch of retailers released their monthly sales figures today. Walgreen (WAG) posted a 10% drop in comparable sales, but announced a big pharmacy chain acquisition. WAG shares initially popped higher on that news, but some of the gains were tempered by the end of the day. Meanwhile, Ross Stores (ROST) showed a big sales gain in June, while Kohl’s shares closed up more than 6%, despite a seemingly lackluster monthly report.

Without any quarterly earnings news to speak of, Wall Street analyst calls spurred much of today’s trading action. Wells Fargo published a very positive note on climate control specialist Ingersoll-Rand (IR). The firm believes the stock could double over the next few years. Finally, Barclays lowered their estimates for pipeline operator Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (EEP).

It’s Not Easy Out There, But…

I was talking to my mom recently, and asked her how some of our relatives are doing. One graduated from college a couple of years ago, and is now walking a few people’s dogs each day, taking them to the park and such. That sort of work certainly isn’t what he went to school for, but he’s doing what he can to earn some money. Another relative is in her mid-40′s and has numerous degrees (bachelor’s and master’s, along with several other certifications). She’s currently working at Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), hating the fact she still isn’t a manager yet, despite her higher education. She can’t stand the long hours they have her working, and is predicting she will one day need knee-replacement surgery from going up and down the ladder so much to retrieve store merchandise.

My wife occasionally watches the TV show “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” and I see several kids (early 20′s) on there seemingly hating their lives. One has an issue with her weight and quit her cosmetic business shortly after opening it because of her insecurities about her appearance. Another kid on the show still has no idea what she wants to do with her life, and spends most of her time going out to clubs or bars at night and sleeping most of the day. She also spends a lot of time arguing with her mother and stepfather. Both of these twenty-something kids live in massive luxury homes, and aren’t short on money or material goods.

In a world we can check on each other’s statuses by the minute (Facebook or whatever other social media platform becomes the go-to spot next), it is easy to fall into a world of depression if things aren’t going quite the way you were expecting in life. Anyone who’s been on Facebook is probably familiar with the “woe is me” comments that all too many people post. Some people will overcome incredible odds to succeed, while others will find ways to bungle opportunities right under their nose.

Such is life in the 21st century. Come to think of it, though, life has always been like this. Some folks aggressively seek out opportunities, while others wallow in self-pity. Some people take action to change the things they don’t like about their lives, and others just complain about it. The calendar and the world evolve, but people are still people. It may not be easy out there for many looking for better jobs, but opportunities are just around the corner for those with the initiative to look for them.

25 Years of Dividend-Increasing Stocks

We recently updated our list of dividend stocks that have been paying out dividends for 25 years or more. Be sure to check out the latest list of names here.

Dividends Really Matter

Financial blog recently took a look at the difference dividend payouts made in the overall return investors saw throughout the prior decades. Here are some of the highlights:

- The Nasdaq is down 28% since the end of 1999. Even the “blue chip” S&P 500 stocks are down 15% during that time frame…until you add back those “boring” dividends. With dividends included, the S&P 500′s 15% loss flips to a 6% gain.

- Without dividends, the S&P 500 index would have produced a loss for the 25 long years from August 1929 to August 1954. Then again, without dividends, the S&P 500 produced a 5% loss during the 13 years from September 1961 to September 1974. But with dividends included, the S&P’s loss became a 46% gain.

- Over the course of the last half-century, dividends have contributed more than half of the stock market’s total return — 56%, to be exact.

Of course, you can’t discuss the potency of dividend investing without making mention of how awesome compound returns are. I can’t stress enough the power of compound interest: you take a small amount of money and turn it into a large amount over time. Finding the right companies at the right price points which not only grow earnings, but also grow their dividend payouts as well!

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.

Go Beyond This Newsletter

We know many of you enjoy reading the daily newsletter, but remember that with our Premium service, the newsletter is just one small component of what we offer. Here are the “Big Three” benefits of our Premium service:

- The Best Dividend Stocks List is used by tens of thousands of investors to help build their own portfolios.

- Creating your own Watchlist allows you to track the performance, news, and upcoming dividend payouts of the particular stocks you care about.

- Finally, we offer the most complete and easy-to-use dividend data on the web. Many subscribers use this data as part of a “Dividend Capture” trading strategy, but long-term investors can use it to keep track of impending payouts. Just visit our Ex-Dividend Calendar for a complete outlook on which companies will be paying out soon.

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Thanks for reading, and 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.

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