Market Wrap-Up for May 23 (CPB, CF, MA, COF, DE, CAT, COP, more)


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It wasn't a great start for the new week as the indices are down on debt worries spreading in Europe. As I mentioned over the weekend, the month of May could be the first down month we have seen in quite a while. Make no mistake about it, market pullbacks like the ones we've seen in the past couple of trading days are a healthy part of building a long-term foundation for investors. Getting rid of "shaky hands" will eventually strengthen a stock's shareholder base and lead to shallower pullbacks in times of overall market volatility.

Campbell Soup ( CPB ) was one of the few big companies reporting earnings this morning, and the stock closed slightly lower on the results. Meanwhile, energy plays resuming the drop we saw early on Friday. Pushing lower were shares of Marathon Oil ( MRO ) and ConocoPhillips ( COP ), just to name a few. Industrial equipment plays Caterpillar ( CAT ) and Deere ( DE ) also continued their recent dip. Bucking the downtrend were shares of fertilizer play CF Industries ( CF ), following an analyst upgrade.

Lastly, credit card-related plays MasterCard ( MA ) and Capital One Financial ( COF ) were down, but have been way outperforming the rest of the financial sector for much of 2011. Well-known financial pundit Jim Cramer recently mentioned that many consumers who have trouble with their mortgages have likely stopped mortgage payments altogether. This trend is taking hold as borrowers realize the banks/lenders are so backed up in the foreclosure process (and glut of inventory in the housing market) that they're no longer forcing people out of their homes. As a result, consumers have decided to spend the money that woul dnormally go toward their mortgage elsewhere. While this may feel like a way to "beat the system" for some, this dangerous practice will continue to prevent people from achieving wealth. As I tell readers in my book, the key to becoming a "Dividend Millionaire" is combining smart personal finance strategies with consistent investments in quality dividend stocks.

I'm not sure how many readers out there are boxing fans, but 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxer to ever win a major title on Saturday. This is quite a feat, and Hopkins is talking about fighting till he is age 50. Let his success serve as an example to you: age should never be a hindrance to reaching your goals! Remember, Ray Kroc was 59 years old when he took the helm at McDonald's ( MCD ) and began turning it into a global brand. At the time, Kroc was suffering from diabetes and arthritis. His gall bladder and thyroid gland had already been surgically removed. But he went out and achieved anyway!

Here's one more anecdote from this weekend to finish up: My family and I decided to dine at Red Robin Gourmet Burger ( RRGB ) on Saturday. Red Robin is one of the kids' favorite spots, and we were served by a young waitress who was working just her second day on the job. Her service was pretty good (my order did get botched, but was quickly fixed - no big deal). Later, she brought us our check without asking us if we wanted any dessert. We were hoping to bring home some of their great mud pie ice cream, so we quickly told her we wanted two pieces to share and would take it to go. She went back to the kitchen and returned empty-handed, claiming she wouldn't be able to fit the pie in their to-go containers. I responded that she just had to turn the pie on its side and it would fit just fine (as other waitresses had done on previous visits for us). She took my advice and got it done. Finally, when it came time to present our loyalty card for her to scan, she couldn't figure out how to get the electronic display working. Fortunately, one of her coworkers was able to take the card from her and quickly put it through - but not until I had to assure her the card did work and was already activated.

The restaurant was quickly getting crowded and I really felt for the waitress. We are all new on the job at one point or another in our lives, and I'm usually the last person to ever get peeved about rookie mistakes. That said, the examples of her stumbles illustrate the point that you should never be afraid to ask questions in your life. Whether it's within your job or your investments, asking questions is usually how you learn the most. Reading as much as you can on a particular topic will also help make you more polished and better able to communicate the right message to your customers/clients.

I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Premium members-only weekend article, including the new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, including 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.

Our newly-expanded dividend data is all in place now, so anyone that focuses on "Dividend Capture" 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 now access a new 9 page report we just released on the essential things an active investor needs to know when it comes to a dividend capture strategy. Be sure to check it out!

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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