Market Wrap-Up for Feb.28 (BRCM, CF, MA, DRI, VNO, CVC, more)

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The markets wereonce again playing in round-number territory with Dow 13K level being tested, while the Nasdaq approaches its own landmark 3K level. For investors who have been steadily putting money to work, it certainly does feel good to see one's portfolio up-trending.

Looking at today's action, momentum was definitely playing a role with the higher-beta names gaining. Stocks like CF Industries ( CF ), MasterCard ( MA ), and semiconductor plays Broadcom ( BRCM ) and Analog Devices ( ADI ) racked up gains. There was a bit of red on the screen also, as earnings results had pushed shares of Vornado Realty Trust ( VNO ) and Cablevision Services ( CVC ) lower on the day. Darden Restaurants ( DRI ) shares, meanwhile, finished higher following some positive analyst commentary .

Housing and Durable Goods Data Not-so-Good

According to newly-released data from S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (the leading measure of U.S. home prices), all three headline composites ended 2011 at new index lows.

We expected these sort of results, as we recently highlighted data lindicating home values having fallen to 2002 levels. Despite much media talk about real estate prices bottoming in recent years, the reality is the bottom is still unknown. Warren Buffett chimed in yesterday with a couple of eye-rolling sound bytes, saying he wished he could buy up millions of single-family homes, but of course, that wouldn't be practical. It'll take much more than words to get housing prices moving back up again. In the meantime, the stock market continues to offer the best opportunities to invest your capital.

In other news, the Commerce Department this morning reported orders for durable goods (products that are expected to last at least three years) fell 4 percent last month. This decline includes a reduction in business spending on machinery and equipment. Just last month, the same department reported a spike in durable goods orders - just before certain tax breaks were set to expire. Still, I'd like to see a bit more data before getting bearish here. We need to see a clear trend develop before assuming things are suddenly accelerating back down.

Skeptical? Sometimes. Investing? Always.

No matter how treacherous the economy, markets, or job picture appeared, we've still found investment ideas to help readers put money to work at all stages. It OK to be a bit skeptical when you hear every other pundit on television coming out with nothing but sky-high price targets and extreme optimism. Just remember, though, that opportunities still abound.

From reading my newsletter, you know I tend to take what the "experts" say with a grain of salt. We look at what our own data is telling us, not to mention reading the tea leaves of what companies indicate in their earnings reports. It's also important to remember that Wall Street looks 6 months to a year in the future when determining the asset prices we closely follow.

We concentrate on providing the best investment ideas and opinion regardless of market conditions. If things get extremely frothy and danger is coming, we'll start preparing our readers for potential adjustments that will inevitably be made. So to sum up, it's fine to have some doubt about the markets or the economy, but be wary of letting fear get in your way of putting your capital to work for you.

Income, Income, Income

At Dividend.com, we maintain our focus on the best income-producing investments the markets have to offer during time of heightened volatility. We want to make sure we have only the most pullback-resistant names on our Best Dividend Stocks List . Also, if we see the market putting in what looks like a decent bottom, we will be prepared to scale up the list of stocks we like. Stay tuned and be sure to look for Dividend.com Premium member alerts along the way. Don't count on the government or your employer to set you up for a remarkable retirement. Take control, do your own research, and achieve your goals yourself!

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Thanks for reading everybody. I'll see you tomorrow!

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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: ADI , BRCM , CF , CVC , DRI

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