Market Wrap-Up for Feb.17 (HNZ, CPB, JWN, GIS, HD, WMT, more)

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The markets end mixed on the day as the rumor mill surrounding all things Europe and Greece continued to turn in every which way.

Earnings results out this morning helped push up shares of well-known consumer brands H.J. Heinz ( HNZ ) ( full earnings report here ) and Campbell Soup ( CPB ) ( report here ). On the flipside, investors took some profits in shares of Nordstrom Inc. ( JWN ) ( more here ) as well as General Mills ( GIS ) ( read more ), which came out and cut its profit guidance this morning. It was a strong week for oil prices (stock symbol USO ) and unfortunately for consumers, this trend will likely translate to continued rising gas prices in the near term.

The Guy on TV Said to Buy It…

Investors sometimes miss key market developments, especially when watching business television. It's tough to glean any real analysis when a pundit on TV gives nothing more than a quick 3-minute rundown of why the stocks they like are headed higher. If you act on everything you hear in these brief snippets, your performance will likely suffer. Timing is everything in investing (particularly in trading), and by the time big trends make the business news stations, the bulk of the move is probably already over.

The key phrase to focus on is "going forward." Anyone can look to the past and see how well a stock has done. Is the company well-positioned moving forward, though, or are its best days behind it?

Think back to the early 2000′s when Microsoft ( MSFT ) was one of the most widely-held stocks, along with the likes of Cisco Systems ( CSCO ), Yahoo ( YHOO ), and other tech giants. The gains we saw in the 90′s with these names were immense, but if you kept pouring capital in these stocks upon the recommendation of TV analysts who were still betting on the old performance, you would have put your portfolio in a terrible spot.

So avoid a knee-jerk reaction to analyst commentary. Too often investors act on impulse because someone on TV said "XYZ stock is a great buy and is one of their top holdings". Always dig a bit deeper before you decide to make moves with your hard-earned money.

The Missing Piece

It's a real sad day for New York Mets' fans like myself, learning of the passing of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter from brain cancer yesterday.

When I remember "The Kid" (as he was known), I think back to the day I first heard the Mets had acquired Carter in a blockbuster trade from the Montreal Expos. Right at that moment, I said to myself, "this is it, we can really win a championship now." Lo and behold, the Mets became World Series champions the year after Gary Carter joined the team. All sports fans have similar special memories surrounding their favorite teams, players, and games. Sometimes, it's as simple as fondly remembering going to the ballpark with your dad, close relatives, or other special people in your life.

Just as I knew Gary Carter was the missing piece to my favorite baseball team's success, we all have moments in our own lives that can make us complete. It could be getting married to that special someone, having children, finding the right business to start or acquire, getting that perfect job, or even adopting a new investment strategy that helps you achieve financial peace of mind. The missing piece doesn't always just reveal itself to you - sometimes you have to go out there and find it. When you do, your life is changed forever, almost always for the better.

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A Look to Next Week and a Weekend Preview

Looking ahead to next week, just a reminder the markets will be closed for President's Day on Monday, but starting Tuesday, we will be keying in on retailer earnings out from the likes of Home Depot ( HD ), Target ( TGT ), Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ), J.C. Penney ( JCP ), and more.

Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates this weekend on Premium , including reports on earnings/story stocks, analyst upgrades/downgrades, dividend ETFs, and much more. And as always, you can view our current recommendations on our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List .

We will be putting a holiday edition post up on Monday so be sure to check it out. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you this weekend! P.S. Please pass this e-mail on to someone you think can use some financial motivation as well as being kept in the financial news loop that could affect them.

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 Symbols: CPB , CSCO , GIS , HD , HNZ

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