Market Wrap-Up for Feb.15 (K, DPS, DE, CMCSA, AAPL, more)

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The markets took quite a turn this afternoon, and it was led by the fall in Apple ( AAPL ) shares you can say (More on Apple comments I made in today's mid-day newsletter below). Market reversals have been rare of late and could be something momentum-style investors may want to be paying attention to.

We had a decent number of earnings reports out today. Heading higher on better-than-expected results were shares of Comcast ( CMCSA ) ( full report here ), Dr.Pepper Snapple Group ( DPS ) ( more here ), and Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF ) ( read more ). On the flipside, earnings results were not quite good enough for investors of Deere & Co. ( DE ) ( report here ) or Weight Watchers ( WTW ) ( results here ), as both names ended in the red.

Meanwhile, shares of Kellogg ( K ) rose on news it will buy the "Pringles" brand from Procter & Gamble ( PG ).

Ramifications of Apple's Recent Rise

It's hard to ignore the recent move in Apple ( AAPL ) shares, which I mentioned in yesterday's newsletter. The stock has gained nearly $100 since Jan. 24 - a 22% gain in just three weeks. Investors are fixated on the move, which has the feel of what happened to former tech titan Qualcomm ( QCOM ) shares in late 1999.

Back then, the stock went from a split-adjusted $48 on Dec. 10, 1999 to an all-time high of $88 on Dec. 31, 1999. I remember it was all investors could talk about. QCOM's technology was primed to explode, and analysts couldn't boost their price targets and earnings estimates fast enough to keep up with the rising share price. Yes, those were some wild days.

Apple is certainly locked into a similar "can-do-no-wrong" pattern. This is where things can get pretty dangerous for investors looking to jump into the stock with major dollars, considering the incredible move we've seen the last three weeks. I'm not saying Apple will follow Qualcomm's drop following the feverish run it had, but if you are going to consider the stock on the latest moves or the potential dividend rumor announcements, be very careful. I urge anyone looking to trade this name to use sell-stops to protect your capital from any potentially vicious reversals.

Take my information for what it's worth. I've been in the markets long enough to see danger when stocks move as quickly as Apple has. Is Apple a great company? Without question. Is its valuation still reasonable? Actually, yes it is. But if you are looking to add a non-dividend growth-focused name to your portfolio, always bear in mind that the moves tend to be fast and furious. Do your homework and avoid jumping into stocks blindly.

For our loyal dividend-focused readers, slow and steady has proven to be the ticket to success. Why change what's been working for decades?

Has the Train Left the Station?

If you'd been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a perfect entry point to put some money to work, you may be getting the feeling that the proverbial train has left the station. So, has it? The answer is almost always no. If you're a long-term investor, just keep your eye on the prize of building income streams with dividend stocks. Aim to put money to work each month, if possible.

It's hard to stay focused on the long term sometimes. Business media coverage typically focuses on stock moves over a 20-minute period, rather than how well a stock has performed if you'd maintained a position for several years.

If you are a person who gets emotionally wrapped up by the noise, you can either lower the volume on the business channel or take your shot at chasing the hot names and risk losing money when the music inevitably stops.

Small Businesses Will Keep Payrolls Lean

Recent findings from a Wells Fargo/Gallup index survey show many small businesses have no desire to make new hires. Businesses indicated several reasons for not expanding, including economic worries, additional healthcare expenses, and concerns about how much new employees would really contribute to the bottom line.

Such is the reality of the modern job market. Padded government statistics may have you believe otherwise, but we certainly aren't seeing any signs of renewed hiring at the corporate level. In fact, layoffs seem to still be the norm among Fortune 500 companies. This trend of doing "more with less" is hard for companies to shed, so in my opinion, real-world employment will remain a concern for quite some time.

As always, we'll be sure to keep Premium subscribers updated about the potential investment ramifications that are bound to come along with these economic shifts.

Dividend Investing Does Not Require a Special Talent

I firmly believe that everyone possesses the ability to improve their financial situation. History is full of rags-to-riches success stories, and the formula is pretty simple, really: buy income-producing assets, build a great business or service, or become an innovator in your field.

If you live within your means and your career starts on the low end of the pay scale, then keep a tight lid on your living expenses. Select a place you can afford to live and forgo some of the material possessions you don't yet need. That's called sacrifice, and almost anyone who has built themselves a fortune will point to many sacrifices along the way as key factors in their success. Whether you're forgoing some of the latest fashions or gadgets, or simply working extra long hours, the road to success is paved with sacrifice.

Finding the right strategy for investing is also essential. Of course, we feel that dividend investing the best possible avenue for the vast majority of all people out there. Once you've come up with an investing game plan, putting what you've learned into practice is the second step. We advocate investors develop a monthly system of putting money to work in their brokerage accounts. Automate this process as best you can, so you remove any mental barriers. Embrace investing as a constant learning process. Be willing to keep an eye on what your investments are doing. Staying in the loop is an integral part of growing your money.

Just dabbling in the markets will not get you to where you need to be. Develop a routine and stick with it! If you have a habit of jumping in and out of the markets, dividend investing is the best remedy for that affliction. You'll gain a new perspective on long-term investing and the power of compound interest.

Dividend investing does not require a special talent, education level, years of experience, luck, or much money either. It simply requires a commitment from you as an investor that to keep consistently put money to work in the best ideas available (that would be from our Best Dividend Stocks List ). It's that simple!

2011 Was a Big Year for the Family of Income Investors!

It is always great to see the media tip their hat to what has been a great year for dividend-paying stocks. We've been seeing several major media outlets publishing articles about how dividends were a big investing theme in 2011 and likely remain so in 2012.

The truth is that we tend to see solid years more often than not in the dividend world, but the business media focuses their attention instead on the high-risk momentum action. Only in times of extreme duress does the media seem to focus on our dividend niche. Regardless, we won't be distracted from our job of finding the best dividend names to put fresh capital into.

I'd like to thank all our Premium subscribers and daily newsletter (nearing 35K!) readers for helping spread the word about our service and being part of the family of investors. It means a lot to us, and telling friends and loved ones about is the best possible gift you can give to us.

Our Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks eBook Has Arrived!

We just debuted our brand new 275-page eBook, exclusively on! In this digital-only book, we look ahead to 2012 and the main factors that could affect dividend investors. A $39.95 value, the eBook is a free download for paid Premium subscribers.

Beat The Markets with Dividend Stocks contains a full economic forecast for 2012, including in-depth analysis on 65 of the biggest dividend stocks out there. It's a great way to get prepared for your investing next year! So head over to the Premium homepage now to download your copy.

A Dividend Capture Strategy for Active Investors

We now offer complete U.S. dividend data for all Premium members, so anyone that focuses on "Dividend Capture" trading strategies should have plenty of good stuff to research each day. Just check our enhanced Ex-Dividend Calendar , which is the best in the business, to search for upcoming payouts.

Speaking of dividend capture, Premium members can also access a 9-page report we published on the essential elements to any successful dividend capture strategy. Be sure to check it out here on the Premium homepage .

Thanks for reading everybody. 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 Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing Stocks
Referenced Stocks: AAPL , ANF , CMCSA , DE , DPS

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