Market Wrap-Up for Nov.1 (ADP, V, ALL, K, EL, more)

The markets started celebrating the slow move back to normalcy as the clean-up from Hurricane Sandy takes shape. Economic data out this morning was also favorable, adding to investor confidence.

Plenty of earnings were out today, with names like Visa (V), Cigna (CI), Automatic Data Processing (ADP), and Kellogg (K) shares jumping up. Visa and Cigna are riding the consumer spending wave and higher healthcare premiums, respectively. Moving lower following earnings results included the likes of Barrick Gold (ABX), GNC Holdings (GNC), Exelon (EXC), and Allstate (ALL). Estee Lauder (EL) was out with earnings results and the company boosted its dividend nicely as well, but still with a subpar yield of slightly over 1%. Shares ticked lower by the close.

As always, you can check out our coverage of all the earnings reports and other important daily news affecting dividend stocks over at The Dividend Daily.

We Interrupt Your Life for This Unplanned Event

As we continue the long cleanup here on the east coast from the Hurricane Sandy destruction, plenty of lives that will feel the effects of this storm not just short-term, but eventually long-term in many cases as well. This idea goes beyond the idea of putting one’s home back to its original shape — I’m referring to the effects a natural disaster can have on one’s career.

Take the area where Dividend.com is located, for example. Our area just outside Atlantic City is big on hospitality and casino employment. The industries that service the many vacationers who flock to the Jersey Shore survive partially on tips. With the casinos here closed for several days, travel bans in effect, etc., these folks simply will not be able to make up for those lost tips. And with the casinos already struggling for the last couple of years, the storm could not have come at a worse time. For those individuals reliant on a sustained stream of visitors to supplement their wages, the timing of this disastrous storm is another hurdle they’ll have to overcome.

As recent data suggests, few people have the financial means to absorb even a small drop off in their regular income. I know that assistance programs are out there, but as I said, you can not change the eventuality that one’s career may have a permanent gash. So while the business media focuses on the money that will have to be spent in replacing cars and furniture, fixing homes, etc., consider the other part of the story as well. The reality is that many folks’ earnings have been severely negatively affected.

Bankrate released a study a few months back regarding savings habits of individuals, and the findings weren’t good. It showed only 25% of Americans have at least six months of savings built up. Nearly half (49%) of Americans polled don’t even have enough money saved to cover three months of expenses, while 28% have no cushion whatsoever. Many of these individual stories will not end well.

It comes down to this: to position yourself for success in investing (and life in general), it’s useful to identify key areas that may one day become a big obstacle in your path to building wealth. These factors can range from needing to free up more money to invest each month, to cutting back on frivolous spending, a lack of education on how best to manage your investments, and taking a regular pulse of the industry you work in to make sure you are not putting your family at risk if events occur (industry consolidation, layoffs, technology making your job obsolete, etc.).

So take a step back and consider what you can do to improve your finances. Time will quickly become less of your ally and more of your enemy, especially when life sends you an unexpected twist.

Year-to-Date Results Just Posted

Be sure to check out the year-to-date watchlist posts up on the site today. You can see how well many of the dividend stocks we are tracking have done through the first ten months of 2012. As always, you can find these and other members-only articles on Dividend.com Premium Articles Page.

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

We know many of you enjoy reading the daily newsletter, but remember that with our Dividend.com 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.

We don’t ask for a credit card to use our free trial, and we don’t bill you when your trial ends. No obligation whatsoever! So keep enjoying the newsletter, but please give Dividend.com Premium a shot if you haven’t already subscribed!

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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