March 09, 2012 at 16:02 PM EST
Market Wrap-Up for Mar.9 (TXN, ALTR, LEN, KSS, AVB, NKE, more)

The markets liked this morning’s jobs report, as new jobs created came in a bit better than expected. This move comes despite unemployment remaining unchanged at 8.3%. Some market-watchers (including myself) are pointing to the quality of jobs (part-time/low-paying industries) as a point of concern however.

Investors reacted well to earnings warnings from semiconductor plays Texas Instruments (TXN) (more here) and Altera Corp (ALTR) (read more). Altera closed in the green and Texas Instruments ended slightly lower on those negative news bytes. Wall Street analyst upgrades played out well in today’s up market with names like Lennar Corp (LEN), AvalonBay Communities (AVB), Nike (NKE) (read more) and Kohl’s (KSS) (more here) all trading higher.

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Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

We’ve seen a tremendous amount of buzz about a woman in Michigan who won a million dollar jackpot recently, yet was still collecting welfare. She claimed that after taking the lump sum option, she netted around $500K after taxes. Meanwhile, she continues to collect public assistance of around $200 per month.

What’s worse, the woman was completely unapologetic about continuing to collect, and legally, she’d actually done nothing wrong. She’s was still unemployed, after all. She also bought a new house and a brand new car, so her expenses rose significantly since hitting the jackpot.

Opponents of the current welfare system certainly have plenty of new ammunition following this story. It’s hard to deny the fact that our society is becoming more and more dependent on governmental aid. Most people aren’t hesitating to collect government assistance, and some choose to stay in the system for years rather than attempt to improve their lot in life.

At the end of the day, we all have the power to decide our financial future. You can take most any job and build a great future from it. We’ve seen restaurant owners who started as dishwashers, salon owners who started by washing hair and sweeping floors. Government assistance is not a permanent solution, and never has been. Should someone have shame in taking it if they truly need it? Of course not. But as in this lottery winner’s example, people need to have some pride and exercise some common sense about it. She should have seen her lottery win as an opportunity to break out of her financial struggles once and for all.

Smiling Through it All

I saw a press conference recently in which Houston Texans running back Arian Foster discussed his new $43 million contract he’d just signed. It was a moment that brought out a lot of emotion as Foster thought back to the struggles his family had growing up. One story he remembered clearly was his mom pawning her wedding ring to put food on the table. He said he knew that at that point he would have worked three jobs to make sure his own children would never have to struggle as much.

He said that regardless of how hard it was for his family, they would smile through it all and not fuss about much. He then said a few words that pretty much summed up life when you think about it. He said “we’re all people, we just want to smile.” That’s about as good as it gets for me.

Regardless of the struggles we’ve all faced at one time (or those we still face in any areas of our lives), we should remain optimistic about the future. We all control our ultimate destiny, just as long as we’re willing to put in the efforts necessary to change things for the better.

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A Look to Next Week and a Weekend Preview

Looking ahead to next week, earnings will be fairly light, with reports from the likes of cereal giant General Mills (GIS), retailer Guess (GES) and homebuilder KB Home (KBH) just to name a few.

Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates this weekend on Dividend.com Premium, including reports on earnings/story stocks, analyst upgrades/downgrades, dividend ETFs, and much more. And as always, you can view our current recommendations on our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you this weekend! P.S. Please pass this e-mail on to someone you think can use some financial motivation as well as being kept in the financial news loop that could affect them.

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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