October 04, 2013 at 16:03 PM EDT
Market Wrap-Up for Oct. 4 (CMTL, HOG, ESS, PII, more)

Both stocks and Treasury yields opened higher this morning, as it seemed Wall Street was ready to put its fears over the government shutdown and potential debt ceiling debacle in the rear view mirror – at least for today. This bullish momentum carried on throughout the day’s trading, with the major indices closing in positive ground.

Stocks on the Rise

Comtech Telecommunications (CMTL) shares rallied today after the company’s fourth quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates. Additionally, shares of Essex Property Trust (ESS), Acuity Brands (AYI), Zoetis (ZTS), Harley-Davidson (HOG), and Polaris Industries (PII) rose into positive territory due to Wall Street analysts’ upgrades.

Stocks on the Decline

Aaron’s Inc. (AAN) shares edged lower today after the company cut its third quarter guidance. Also taking a bit of a hit today were shares of Union Pacific (UNP) after the company said it expects its third quarter earnings to be below consensus analyst estimates.

Furthermore, due to Wall Street analysts’ downgrades, shares of Chico’s FAS (CHS), Post Properties (PPS), Phillips 66 (PSX), and H.B. Fuller (FUL) declined.

Be sure to check the Dividend Daily for all the latest earnings reports, analyst moves, and much more.

No Jobs Report? No Problem

The September Non-Farm Payrolls jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was not released today due to the government shutdown. And guess what? The financial markets have not imploded. If anything, the lack of a jobs report is likely bringing some calm to the markets today.

On the first Friday of each month, investors, traders, analysts, and economists dive deep into the jobs report, trying to piece together the details of the report to shape investment decisions. But as today’s little experiment shows, maybe the jobs report is more of a burden for investors, rather than a useful source of information for making investing decisions. Despite all of the coverage of the jobs report, in the end it is just another economic indicator that adds to the noise that can derail a long-term focused investor’s strategies and decisions. There are probably traders out there who are upset that they did not have the jobs data to trade around on the day, but for everyone else it is probably a blessing that it was not necessary to break through the jobs data noise to make our long-term investing decisions.

While the jobs report and other economic data reports have some usefulness for policymakers and macro-focused investors, we dividend-focused retail investors shouldn’t allow the data noise to impact our investing decisions. Sometimes too much information is a negative, clouding our judgement as we try to assess the fundamentals of potential investments. We are bombarded constantly with new information and insights that could make us hesitate in our investing decisions, which could ultimately put us at a disadvantage. Moving forward, keep in mind that you should take these economic reports with a grain of salt as you try to shape your long-term, wealth-building portfolio.

Looking Toward Next Week

Next week we slowly start to get more quarterly earnings reports from a number of companies like JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Alcoa (AA), Yum! Brands (YUM), Family Dollar (FDO), and Safeway (SWY). This is just the start of the final earnings season of 2013.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check us out on Twitter @dividenddotcom. Have a great weekend.

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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