March 15, 2012 at 16:19 PM EDT
Market Wrap-Up for Mar.15 (GES, ROST, UNP, SJM, ADTN, AAPL, more)

The markets put together another winning day, partly on better-than-expected jobless claims data as well as rumors the U.S. is considering tapping oil reserves to help bring down high energy prices.

Weak earnings numbers from retailer Guess (GES) (read the full report here) and somewhat weak numbers from Ross Stores (ROST) had those two names lower. On the flipside, despite a weak forecast from tech play ADTRAN (ADTN), the stock ended the day higher. We have seen this trend lately from tech and the semiconductor space in particular (Altera (ALTR), Texas Instruments (TXN)), where despite weak guidance, the shares have run higher.

In other news, Wall Street upgrades helped shares, including rail play Union Pacific (UNP) and J.M. Smucker Co. (SJM). Overall is was a strong day for the recently weak transports sector. Dow theory watchers like to see the transports acting well as it tends to be an overall strong gauge for the economy and the rest of the market in general.

Dividend Stock Removed from Recommended List Today

Be sure to check out today’s downgrade highlighting a name we removed from our industry-leading “Best Dividend Stocks” list.

Every Announcement is Moving the Stock Price

We are now at the stage with Apple (AAPL) shares where each and every announcement is spiking the stock higher. This is where the term “parabolic” comes into play. Last summer we saw something similar with Netflix (NFLX) before those shares imploded over the next several months that followed. Remember, any stock that goes parabolic gets pretty dangerous for investors thinking about taking a long-term position.

Try this latest nugget on for size concerning Apple. Yesterday, the stock’s daily dollar volume (number of shares traded multiplied by price of stock) was nearly $30 billion. In the month of February, the average daily dollar volume of the entire NYSE was around $36 billion. How crazy is that! Maybe that one analyst I mentioned last week was right — this market is NBA right now (Nothing But Apple).

Part-Time or Nothing

More and more I am hearing about companies looking to expand their workforces, but with higher reliance on the part-time front. As job-seekers look to get one leg in the door, there will be some tough decisions on how one should proceed when evaluating employment offers. There is no set “right” answer to this question. If you are younger and have less expenses, you likely have the flexibility to take a shot at getting into a field you really desire. The key is to make sure the field is actually one that can prove to be lucrative in the long term.

I was reading a recent interview with mega-successful entrepreneur Mark Cuban who also owns the NBA Dallas Mavericks franchise (and who also won the NBA championship last season). He was advising many of his young readers to avoid the sports industry when it comes to a career. He says the area is ultra-competitive and when you consider the fact that many people will offer to work for little or no compensation, the potential to make a lucrative career in sports isn’t good.

Some people will say that money isn’t everything, but you can’t discount it entirely. The trade-off in getting a gig that may not be on the top of your list is that you can get to your financial (investing) agenda sooner than later. Whether it’s ourselves, our kids, or our grandkids, we need to put the time in to evaluate the present cards that are on the table and make the best decision we can possibly make at the time. Not working and sitting around waiting for the perfect gig isn’t advisable right now. You may be waiting a long, long time.

The upside to part-time work is that you may find an area or industry that begins to grow on you. This job can turn into a career down that line that you may not have imagined early on. As always, I urge parents and grandparents out there to help your younger ones fully consider their career options as we move ahead in a very difficult job market.

My Cell Phone Does It Automatically

This past weekend we had to adjust our clocks ahead by one your in our annual spring daylight savings time ritual. I asked my daughters if they had adjusted their clocks, and they simple told me their cell phones do it for them automatically.

It got me to thinking that as investors we all need to make sure we ourselves operate like cell phones when it comes to updating key issues automatically. The main issue I’m referring to is putting money to work each and every month, regardless of where the markets are. Now there are many of our readers who are religious when it comes to following this practice, but there are plenty of newbies who can use a bit more pushing to avoid the complacency that tends to happen over time. I have heard some investors treat their investments as “monthly expenses” that they factor into their budget. Why not? It makes sense and if this neat little idea holds you accountable to setting money aside to invest, by all means, follow it.

At the end of the day, only you can put in place the proper procedures to carry out the ambitious task of building wealth and having financial freedom. What do I always say? No one cares more about your money than YOU!

New MLP Report Just Released!

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- Understanding their unique company structure
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- Why MLPs may not be suitable for retirement accounts
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Head to the Dividend.com Premium page to download this brand new report today!

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 DailyReckoning.com 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 Dividend.com 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

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

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- 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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