Market Wrap-Up for Feb.26 (AAPL, HD, M, MO, LO, CBRL, more)

Market Wrap-Up for Feb.26 (AAPL, HD, M, MO, LO, CBRL, more)

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As traders nervously watch the action overseas with the Italy elections, Federal reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was giving politicians in Washington an update of what kind of state the economy is in — and possible hints of future fed policy. The consensus from traders today certainly was positive, but again this follows a recent bout of selling for the indices.

The early signal was certainly a positive one for the markets with strong earnings helping lift shares of Cracker Barrel (CBRL), Macy’s (M), and Home Depot (HD), which also raised its dividend. Positive Wall Street analyst chatter also helped lift stocks like International Paper (IP) and Stanley Black & Decker (SWK). On the downside, tobacco names like Lorillard (LO) and Altria Group (MO) lagged following some cautious analyst commentary. Apple (AAPL) shares rallied on rumors the company may announce a stock split at tomorrow’s annual shareholder gathering.

Odds of Employment Troubles Only Rise as The Years Go By

With plenty of data out about those in the 50+ age group see the longest wait times in landing a new job, you can only expect to face plenty of employment headwinds as you get older. The economic cycle tends to go through many phases. There are times when corporate America tends to eliminate high-paying white collar jobs. Many of us probably know someone that went through this trend in the late 80′s and especially in recent years following the financial industry implosion.

There’s that phase, followed by consolidation concerns. Companies get acquired, and in many cases job cuts tend to follow fast and furious. A worker spends years getting promoted, salary increases as responsibilities grow, and suddenly they are on the chopping block.

Public companies face enormous pressures to keep profit margins as wide as possible. As we have seen for the bulk of the recent market rally, cutting expenses and fixed costs (labor) has been what has kept a decent number of balance sheets looking favorable in Wall Street’s eyes. Just today, J.P. Morgan (JPM) announced it will be cutting 4,000 banking jobs!

With ever-changing technologies, some industries have become ripe for major changes. For some this could be a tsunami of bad news if one does not possess a specific skill-set to be able to adapt to ever-changing needs of employers today.

There are ways to ease the potential of being a statistic (laid off at an older age). One is by investing smartly as early as possible, helping grow a nice nest egg. Assets that produce income are a key source of helping one build long-term wealth and when you factor in the beauty of compound interest, dividend stocks are a big factor in achieving some sort of financial security in the years to come. You can also become an entrepreneur, understanding there is great risk in doing so. But if you have the skills and desire to succeed, the upside can be magnificent.

I will constantly remind everyone who reads this newsletter to pay attention to everything that is happening in their workplace, because we never know when the inevitable tap on the shoulder may come. Getting blindsided in your career is probably the biggest financial risk we all have. Be prepared for change as change will just about be the case for most of us.

Thanks for reading everybody. I’ll see you tomorrow!

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