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Market Wrap-Up for Jan.14 (AAPL, DELL, UPS, IBM, VZ, NSC, more)

It’s a slow start for the markets today, as investors dig into the start of a new week with the same cautious tones emanating from Europe. Asian markets have been faring better at this early juncture of 2013 than their counterparts in Europe.

Apple (AAPL) shares headlined to the downside on news of potential order cuts for its suppliers. Some analysts point to this morning’s headlines as already being priced into AAPL’s recent share price decline, but yet investors looked for the exits once again, as the stoke pokes close to the $500 price level. Meanwhile, United Parcel Service (UPS) shares gained on news its planned acquisition of international shipping giant TNT Express is being shot down by anti-trust regulators in Europe. We had some firweorks out of Dell (DELL) shares in the afternoon as rumors spread the company could be in discussions to be taken private. The stock gained 11% by the close.

Elsewhere, Wall Street analyst calls played a role in today’s action. On the positive side, we had bullish chatter moving stocks like W.W. Grainger (GWW) and Norfolk Southern (NSC) higher, while cautious notes moved names like IBM Corp (IBM), Yum Brands (YUM) and Verizon (VZ) into the red.

Commitment to Peace of Mind

The latest data from the U.S. government estimates that by 2025, there will be only two U.S. workers for each U.S. retiree. Back in 1950, there were 16 workers helping pay for one retiree’s social security benefits. As the powers-that-be try and figure out how to keep social security afloat over the next several decades and beyond, the reality for many who are not preparing couldn’t be bleaker. Besides having to work till a much later age (if one’s health allows), only relying on social security as the main source of retirement income is quickly becoming a pipe dream.

The latest survey from AARP says a whopping 40% of baby boomers plan on working right up until their last breath. I don’t believe anything is wrong with working later in life (I hope I am in position to contribute greatly as long as I can) but when your survival is based on you punching the clock, that’s not a healthy burden to carry around. I hope many folks out there will instead come around to preparing themselves better for life after 65.

Too often, individuals are in “hope mode” in thinking a retirement plan will materialize on its own, or the current road they’re on is destined to produce magical results they haven’t yet seen. Corporations these days are not as generous with sinking funds into pension plans as they used to be in decades’ past. The onus is mostly on ourselves to find those income sources that can compensate us later in life. Clearly, the commitment to peace of mind should start today for many if it hasn’t already.

The Environment in Which Everyone Wins

Anyone that has been a football fan for the last decade or so has to appreciate the amazing job the New England Patriots franchise has done (winning 3 super bowl titles out of the five they were in and making the playoffs practically every year).

Time and time again, the Patriots’ ownership makes its decisions on what’s best for the franchise. They spend money in the right situations to add the right components. Basically, they look for character and work ethic from players. Throw in a quarterback (Tom Brady) that is as hungry now as he has ever been, and that sets the tone for the team behind him. Whenever you couple the management ability of solid ownership and the leadership qualities of guys like Tom Brady, it’s no wonder you have seen them playing playoff football more than any other organizations.

Whether you are part of running a company, or part of running your family household, we can all do well to mimic how the Patriots organization gets the job done. Solid management coupled with tremendous leadership! By the way, this is coming from a New York Jets fan who can’t help but wish he rooted for a team that was as well-equipped to win as the Patriots are.

Our 2013 Dividend Stock Guide Has Arrived!

Our new members-only eBook has just been released! This 250-page guide to investing in 2013 contains a concise economic forecast for next year, including full previews for 60 big-name stocks! Be sure to head over to Premium and download it and get your game plan in place for all good things dividend-related in 2013!

I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Premium members-only weekend articles, including new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, such as analyst upgrades/downgrades and earnings/story stocks. These articles are a great way to catch up on the week that was in the markets. We also have a rundown of how various Dividend ETFs performed on the week.

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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