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December 17, 2012 at 16:26 PM EST
Market Wrap-Up for Dec.17 (AAPL, ACE, TRV, SPG, BTU, more)

The markets spiked higher as it appears progress has been made over the weekend regarding the impending tax hikes (“fiscal cliff”). Will the eventual agreement propel stocks higher or be a non-event? That’s soon to be determined as we monitor the latest headlines.

Without any major earnings or M&A news, Wall Street analyst calls are taking center stage today. On the upside, we had shares of Ace Ltd. (ACE), Travelers (TRV), and Simon Property Group (SPG) gain ground on the back of positive commentary. On the flipside, some analysts are beginning to pull in the euphoria surrounding Apple (AAPL) shares amid fundamental questions around how the holiday sales will impact the company’s bottom line. The tech giant managed to rebound after an early drop to finish in the green by the close. Peabody Energy (BTU) however did not fare as well, following some negative analyst commentary.

Making an Impact

In life, sometimes you never know when your action or words will have an impact on someone’s outlook. If someone were to ask me what I would want to be acknowledged for, the obvious answer from an outsider looking in would probably be the stock picks on our recommended list. However, anyone that has read this newsletter for the last several years knows I try my best to steer readers toward and overall package of success.

Sometimes the message really resonates, and sometimes there will be a bit of skepticism in what it is a reader gets from a particular take (fortunately that doesn’t happen too often). Whether the impact is solely financial, the fact is I hope the message is remembered more for what it can do to inspire. Whether you are a parent or not, the terrible tragedy from Friday’s Connecticut shootings is a reminder that no one knows what can happen from one day to the next.

Please don’t ever think the focus about what I write about is simply about money. It is about appreciating the life lessons that are out there and how they can apply to our own mission of building wealth, success, and ultimately happiness. We really can control much of what happens under our own roof, and I certainly hope many people will start paying attention to danger signs that are sometimes right in front of us. The world must shake off this vast amount of complacency that is obviously holding many individuals back from stepping up their game and achieving everything they’re capable of.

We are often reminded at how precious life can be. Let’s stay alert to not ever forget this lesson. In the meantime, we pray for those families affected and hope that time can somehow heal even the smallest part of one’s life. Change will certainly come — whether its about guns, violent video games, mental health, school security, or whatever, but let’s hope our political leaders can come together with real ideas about how to make our lives safer in an all-too accepting, ever-changing, and volatile world.

Our 2013 Dividend Stock Guide Has Arrived!

Our new members-only eBook has just been released! This 250-page guide to investing in 2013 contains a concise economic forecast for next year, including full previews for 60 big-name stocks! Be sure to head over to Dividend.com Premium and download it and get your game plan in place for all good things dividend-related in 2013!

I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Dividend.com Premium members-only weekend articles, including new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, such as analyst upgrades/downgrades and earnings/story stocks. These articles are a great way to catch up on the week that was in the markets. We also have a rundown of how various Dividend ETFs performed on the week.

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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