Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wall Street Remains a Dead Zone; Habits of the Rich

It was another day of lackluster trading on US exchanges, with stocks spending most of the session in positive territory before sliding in the afternoon back to near opening levels.

This is the seventh straight session in which stocks have more or less meandered across and along the unchanged mark on ridiculously low volume, with no catalyst for change on the horizon.

Even economic data was dull or given the short shrift, as retail sales for July posted their best showing since February, a gain of 0.8%, though that was counterbalanced by a revision of June's figures from -0.5 to -0.7.

PPI showed some nascent signs of inflation, gaining 0.3% for July, with the core coming in at a somewhat surprising 0.4%, sparking fears that inflation has emerged from the core of food and energy, though the numbers lack any definitive pattern.

That was about it, as the masters of the universe were more likely pondering the upcoming presidential election or the bottom of a cocktail glass out at the Hamptons.

Since Wall Street seems preoccupied or disinterested in the capital markets for the time being, let's take a look at the habits of the rich, courtesy of author Tom Corley's recent work, Rich Habits, from whence came the following quiz:
1 Do you read at least one career-related educational book a month?
2 Do you engage in aerobic exercise of 20-40 minutes a day for at least 4 days a
3 Do you eat 300 calories of less in junk food per day?
4 Do you set monthly, annual and long-term goals?
5 Do you spend 20-30 minutes each work day reading career-related magazines,
trade publications, newsletters etc.?
6 Do you limit T.V. and Social Media to one hour per day?
7 Do you regularly save 10% or more of your gross income?
8 Do you call everyone you know to wish them a happy birthday? This includes
family, friends and business contacts.
9 Do you create daily "To Do" lists and complete at least 70% or more of your
daily tasks?
10 Do you call or send thank you cards to everyone who has done something that
helped you in your career or life?

The author posits that if you perform six or more of the above on a regular basis, you have the kernel of success flowing through your veins.

Of course, the quiz is somewhat simplistic, though it maintains that an ordered life, with goals and aspirations, plus dollops of common sense, may eventually lead to a life of leisure and contentment.

Other virtues that may lead one to find happiness and success include perseverance, decisiveness, objectivity, passion, organization and a positive direction. Starting off a professional career with a fat salary and some quality guidance certainly helps, though those final accoutrements are not always afforded to the vast majority.

Dow 13,172.14, +2.71 (0.02%)
NASDAQ 3,016.98, -5.54 (0.18%)
S&P 500 1,403.93, -0.18 (0.01%)
NYSE Composite 8,019.53, +0.90 (0.01%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,569,593,500
NYSE Volume 2,918,056,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2453-3094
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 178-53
WTI crude oil: 93.43, +0.70
Gold: 1,602.40, -10.20
Silver: 27.76, UNCH

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