Market Wrap-Up for Mar. 19 (AAPL, UPS, ABT, COF, APA, more)

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It is a big dividend-centric news day with Apple ( AAPL ) announcing it will join the ever-expanding list of big brands paying dividends.

Not to overlook another big headline, but United Parcel Service ( UPS ) has announced a big acquisition that will significantly expand its international reach. The market seemed to like the move, with shares closing up by nearly $3.

Meanwhile, Wall Street analyst upgrades helped some stocks come of the gate strongly this week, including Devon Energy ( DVN ), Abbott Labs ( ABT ), Capital One Financial ( COF ), and U.S. Steel ( X ). One stock that lagged, courtesy of a cautious note out this morning, was Apache Corp ( APA ).

Apple to Pay Dividends!

Well, all the speculation about what Apple ( AAPL ) will do with its $100 billion cash hoard is over. This morning the company said it would initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share, which amounts to an estimated 1.75% dividend yield. The dividend is expected to begin in July, while the company's new $10 billion share buyback plan will start in September. We will be initiating coverage of the stock once we get the official dividend dates.

Will this development open the door for more major non-dividend stocks (Google, Amazon, EMC, eBay, etc.) to come forth with their own dividend programs? It's certainly a greater possibility, although income-seekers should not get their hopes up on a high dividend yield. As we saw with Apple's announcement today, tech companies are wary of offering high payout levels. Now that Apple will be paying a dividend, how soon before the stock is considered to be put in the Dow 30? Surely that move can't be too far off. The leading candidates to be dropped from the Dow 30 list , in my opinion, would be Bank of America ( BAC ) and Alcoa ( AA ).

On Any Given Day

For college basketball fanatics, March Madness is the biggest time of the year. Teams from all over the county gather to see who can bring home the coveted NCAA championship title.

The format is simple: lose and you go home. Teams get seeded according to the their rankings and usually the best teams in the country (1 through 3 seeds) playing the smaller schools (lowest seeds 14-16). On the second day of this year's tournament, we saw two #15 seeds knock off two #2 seeds (Lehigh beating Duke and Norfolk State defeating Missouri). That event marked the first time a #2 seed lost to a #15 seed since 2001. For the record, a #1 seed has never lost to a #16 seed, but there have been some near upsets over the last couple of decades.

Whenever we hear about these long-shot victories and then hear the commentary, especially from the smaller school's winning coaches, they tend to repeat the same message: believe in yourself, believe in your teammates, and you can achieve what others see as impossible.

I find great inspiration from these small teams which are often labeled "Cinderella stories." We all want to believe in our dreams and imagine ourselves in a perfect situation - I don't care what the age is. Actress/comedian Betty White, who is nearing her 90′s, has never been more popular in Hollywood. She's refused to slow down or stop pursuing her passion. Whatever the age, whatever the purpose, whatever the passion, you must always believe in yourself and your drive to achieve what others think you can not.

In moments of doubt, treat the situation like its do-or-die. For some of those players on those Cinderella teams, you can bet that was their mindset as they took the floor knowing those next 40 minutes could be something they will never forget about for the rest of their lives. All the effort they brought day after day, leading up to their moment to shine, was what set up their opportunity to do the unthinkable.

For all of us, each day brings us a new opportunity to seek the same glory and desire to succeed. On any given day it could be our moment if we put in the same effort.

Funny Line of the Day (Thanks to My Mom)

I was talking to my parents last night after they came back from my cousin's twins' Christening. Unfortunately my wife and I were unable to attend due to prior engagements, so my mother broke the event down for me.

She kept saying how nice the reception was, as that part of the family isn't shy about spending big money on special occasions. In the wit that only old school immigrants can provide, my mom quipped "When these people do something, you gotta get dressed " (meaning wearing something fancy). It's a Seinfeld-like moment for me when I hear something like that. Thanks, Mom!

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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: AAPL , ABT , APA , COF , DVN

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