Market Wrap-Up for Jan.17 (WFC, C, MTB, CCL, MA, PM, JPM, more)

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The beginning of earnings season is upon us, and investors should expect the unexpected. Some companies' reports will disappoint, but the shares will rise anyway. Others will report blowout earnings, but shares will pull back on the news. We will be sorting out the winners and losers throughout this process as we look for new candidates to add to our Best Dividend Stocks List , and re-evaluate names we currently like to see if they should remain on the list.

As for today's action, earnings results started off this holiday-shortened trading week mixed. Well Fargo ( WFC ) shares were up slightly on their report , while shares of Citigroup ( C ) ( read more here ) and M&T Bank ( MTB ) moved lower. Shares of cruise-ship operator Carnival Corporation ( CCL ) got hit following this past weekend's ship accident in Italy . Competitor Royal Caribbean Cruises ( RCL ) was also down.

The higher beta dividend names showed some strength, led by shares of Wynn Resorts ( WYNN ), Cummins Inc. ( CMI ), and MasterCard ( MA ). Despite the early euphoria, we did see pockets of weakness develop, especially from negative analyst chatter that focused on shares of Phillip Morris International ( PM ) ( more here ), and J.P. Morgan ( JPM ) ( even more here ). Concerns about recent share price strength have analysts questioning current valuations for these names.

The Success Manuscript

I read a great piece about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers a few weeks ago in the New York Times. The article talked about how Rodgers patiently waited in the wings for a few seasons, eagerly anticipating his chance to take over for the legendary Brett Favre. How he conducted his business during that process was truly amazing.

Mr. Rodgers would often practice at game-like conditions, sometimes to the dismay of his coaching staff. The coaches wanted him to ease up on his teammates as Sunday approached, to help them conserve energy for their weekly game.

Rodgers was obsessed with being fully prepared for when his number was called (which finally came at the beginning of the 2008 season). As you can see by his career results, which include one Super Bowl championship are a 15-1 regular season record in 2011, Rodgers' hard work has certainly paid off. Although his obsession with being prepared may have annoyed some teammates early on, the Packers' championship run last year left no doubt that his way was the right way.

The reason behind Rodgers' obsession with preparation is his extreme desire to win. We've seen other great athletes in the recent past exemplify this same approach with much success. NBA great Michael Jordan, by all accounts, was a very difficult person to play with. He was known for berating teammates who made mental mistakes or gave a lackluster effort. I'm sure there were days where he went overboard, and coaches may have had to step in and calm some of the tensions, but when all was said and done, Jordan had a career that most players could only dream about.

Speaking of basketball, I've been a New York Knicks fan all my life. Perhaps the greatest Knick of all time, Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing, came close to winning an NBA championship several times, only to fall short. Eventually, he retired without winning a single title. Ewing is often defended by his fans as not having a strong enough supporting cast to win it all, but even Michael Jordan really only had one great player alongside of him (small forward Scottie Pippen). Jordan, however, was known for making many of the role players on his team better. He accepted only 100% effort and tireless preparation from his teammates.

Ewing, on the other hand, wasn't known for that sort of hard-line leadership. Perhaps if he were a bit more demonstrative at times, the Knicks could've brought home an NBA title during his tenure. Unfortunately, we'll never know.

Regardless, we can all take the lessons of players like Aaron Rodgers and Michael Jordan to heart in our own lives. Anyone who's ever achieved anything truly great was obsessed not only with preparation, but on results. Anyone who reads my newsletters can probably surmise I have that same sort of obsession with success, and with helping others achieve financial piece of mind. I'll continue to shares stories in that vein that I hope can inspire you to reach your own wealth-building goals.

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I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Dividend.com Premium members-only weekend articles, including new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, such as analyst upgrades/downgrades and earnings/story stocks. These articles are a great way to catch up on the week that was in the markets. We also have a rundown of how various Dividend ETFs performed on the week.

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 The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: C , CCL , CMI , JPM , MA

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