Market Wrap-Up for Dec.7 (CMI, CAT, MMM, SLB, MA, V, more)

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It's a tale of two worlds out there. On one hand we have the stock market continuing the huge lift off the March, 2009 lows. On the other, we have an economy that sputters along, producing poor jobs numbers and a subpar real estate market.

When it comes to investing, short or long-term, investors often have a tough time keeping emotions out of rationalizing what to do with their money. From the data we continue to parse through, the stock market continues to reveal bullish qualities. Do I wish the volume could be better (higher)? Yes, but I can't control the fact that the retail investor is content sitting on the sidelines. Is sitting in cash a good strategy? Not usually, but I understand the hesitancy for many that have been watching from the sidelines.

The biggest thing I can say is that investors that have been burned in the past need to examine what it was that made the gains disappear or losses pile up. I can tell you that aside from a broker's bad stock idea or bad advice from a friend, investing newsletter or website, the investor still has control to lessen any financial losses along the way. Everyone needs to have a sell strategy (even with dividend stocks!). My rule is any stock down 25% from its 52-week highs needs to be examined. If the fundamentals of the company are poor, it makes sense to begin trimming away, or selling out entirely and moving on. If the whole market is down in general and going through a bear market, you need to narrow your positions and sell away the worst performers (usually one of the best times to raise extra cash for when things turn). I hope this helps anyone out there who is still being overwhelmed by the day-to-day deluge of worrying headlines on the economy. If you can keep your emotions in check, you will be a better investor for the long run.

We just added five new names to our "recommended list" today, as we continue to see more and more stocks that are showing up on our watchlists. Be sure to check out the post for the names if you did not read the e-mail alert we sent out earlier.

Looking at today's action, we saw the markets react positively for much of the day to what appears to be an agreement in Washington on the Bush-Era tax cuts and an extension of unemployment benefits. The last hour brought out some profit-takers, pushing the markets to close mixed. As for individual stocks, buyers were busy scooping up names like Cummins Inc. ( CMI ) and Caterpillar ( CAT ). On the flipside, there was some selling in companies like 3M ( MMM ) and Schlumberger ( SLB ). In the financial sector, Mastercard ( MA ) and Visa ( V ) lagged for much of the day. Lastly, gold prices got hit fairly hard as the afternoon progressed.

I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Dividend.com Premium members-only weekend articles - we've added three new features and will be highlighting some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, in regards to analyst upgrades, downgrades, as well as earnings/story stocks.

And as always, check out our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks list for the top dividend names to put money into right now.

Thanks for reading, and 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 .



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: CAT , CMI , MA , MMM , SLB

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