Market Wrap-Up for Dec.12 (COST, JOY, MMM, GWW, STX, CF, more)

The markets were fairly subdued ahead of Federal Reserve commentary, which by the way focused on further Fed intervention. Market watchers basically labeled the initiatives as QE4.

Looking at some of today’s movers, we saw shares of Aetna (AET) move higher following the company’s guidance for the year ahead. 3M (MMM) also gave some commentary about 2013, but the stock ended lower following the update. W.W. Grainger (GWW) shares finished lower following the company’s monthly sales update.

On the earnings side, Joy Global (JOY) gained 4% on their latest earnings results, while shares of Costco (COST) ended in the red on their earnings numbers. Finally, bearish commentary had shares of Seagate Technology (STX) and CF Industries (CF) pulling lower by the close.

Will Someone Buy My Home When the Time Comes?

I was in CVS the other day and while waiting on line, I overheard two older gentlemen speaking. Apparently, one of them just closed on a home in an active adult community. The gentleman still owns his previous home, which is on the market but hasn’t sold yet.

The fellow went on to mention how he and his wife took a lot of money out of the home while real estate values were shooting higher, and if it doesn’t sell soon, he will likely try for a short sale with the bank. There was little concern in his voice and I found that a bit unusual, as older folks tend to worry a lot more about their financial situation. Not this guy!

The gentleman had no hesitation about what would happen (his home selling for far less than he paid for it via short sale, with the bank taking a big hit). This conversation got me thinking about others who may be in the same situation: older in age and looking to downsize, as well as taking some chips off the table when it comes to money tied up in their home (as many count their home as their biggest single investment).

I also recently saw a report from the National Association of Realtors showing the median age of first-time home buyers is 31. The median income for the average home buyer is $62,400, slightly above the average mark for older Millennials. In the 1970s, first time buyers averaged 25 years of age, though unfortunately their incomes were not detailed. As much as the media pushes the “American Dream” of owning a home, the financial situation (student debt, other debts, low salaries, etc.) for a good number of younger people is quite sketchy.

As we all assess our financial well-being, it is important to understand the reality of the numbers and not just the message of what the media is hyping. No one knows your financial situation better than you, and therefore you must make decisions based on what your prospects will be in the years ahead, and not what they have been in years past. Having a bit of liquidity to help you make financial decisions is essential if you don’t want your wealth building opportunities capped. The next step is putting your money to work wisely. Sitting in cash or having it tied up in a single family home that may not rise in value (when you include the true cost of home ownership) is not the recipe for building wealth in these current times.

Our 2013 Dividend Stock Guide Has Arrived!

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An Important Note Regarding the Best Dividend Stocks List

We want to make sure everyone understands that the stocks on our Best Dividend Stocks List are the names we currently like for new investor capital, regardless of what date the stock was first recommended on. If and when a stock is removed from the list, we will clearly state whether the stock should be sold (which is rare but occasionally will happen), or simply held in one’s account until we see a better entry point or catalyst.

And here’s one last thing to remember about what we do here at it’s not just the names that we recommend that can help you build wealth, but also the things we try to steer you away from that are just as important. Forget about speculative or penny stocks, chasing unprofitable IPOs, and listening to the manic talking heads in the business media!

A Dividend Capture Strategy for Active Investors

We now offer complete U.S. dividend data for all Premium members, so anyone that focuses on “Dividend Capture” trading strategies should have plenty of good stuff to research each day. Just check our enhanced Ex-Dividend Calendar, which is the best in the business, to search for upcoming payouts.

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Thanks for reading everybody. 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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