Market Wrap-Up for May 4 (AMAT, CAG, K, TWX, AGU, DVN, more)

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The sell-off in commodities stretched into the major market indices today as we saw seeing selling across numerous sectors.

The selling comes even as two more big acquisitions were announced, both with the acquirer offering a healthy premium to last night's closing stock prices. Applied Materials ( AMAT ) was down just a touch despite offering a 55% premium to Varian Semiconductor's ( VSEA ) Tuesday closing stock price. Conagra Foods ( CAG ) actually closed 3% higher on news of its offer for Ralcorp ( RAH ). It will be interesting to see if General Mills ( GIS ) or Kellogg ( K ) decide to get in the bidding as Ralcorp, which owns the Post Raisin Bran and Shredded Wheat cereal brands.

Elsewhere, earnings results pulled down shares of Devon Energy ( DVN ), Time Warner ( TWX ), Kellogg ( K ) and Agrium ( AGU ). Also, shares of Norfolk Southern ( NSC ) finished lower following an analyst downgrade. Speaking of transports, CSX Corp ( CSX ) announced a 3-for-1 stock split. The company has been an outperformer lately and a name we are keeping a close eye on.

Quick note: we added a new dividend stock to our Best Dividend Stocks List earlier today. Be sure to check out the link below if you did not read the e-mail alert we sent out. You can also view our full explanation of the upgrade here .

Here are some more success anecdotes from our ongoing series:

1. Successful people learn to interpret information, while others tend to simply react to it.

This is a critical part of one's ability to take success to another level. Traders try to conquer this task on a daily basis, while only a small percentage are able to consistently perform better than majority of traders. For individuals, this can mean how someone looks at investment opportunities not just in the markets, but also in other areas. Chasing fads is a popular exercise for many, but the smart ones identify the froth and now when it is best to leave the party before profits disappear. Learning to decipher what is vital to your tasks is one of the biggest keys to long-term success. Simply accepting another person's viewpoint without doing your own due diligence is a recipe for disaster, especially when the stakes get higher over time.

2. Successful people can overcome financial setbacks, while others cave in permanently.

This concept goes hand-in-hand with the ability to take some calculated risks. Fear of failure paralyzes many from taking a shot at their dream job or business venture. Remember what I said recently about the regrets of the dying as expressed by nurses who worked in hospice - many of those asked what they would do differently if they could go back lamented they would've taken more risks in their life. That's not to say you should be reckless, but becoming the success you dream about will only come if you're willing to get out of your comfort zone on occasion. It is easier to take chances when you are younger of course, but I see many older individuals opening businesses in their later years, as well as investing well into their 70′s, 80′s, and beyond. The fact is, you will be knocked down in life from time to time. Accept that as fact and know that you will see occasional failures as part of the overall success process.

3. Successful people overcome the odds, while others tend to accept defeat easily.

Immigrants to the U.S. (which we all are if we look far enough back in our ancestry) have proven this concept is true the last couple of centuries. What could be harder than going to a foreign land, not knowing the language, and having a family to support?

Some of the best business leaders the world has seen never even graduated from college (Bill Gates is one recent example). The desire to achieve comes from within, and when you are willing to sacrifice the time required, the sky is the limit. Many people dream of some day being their own boss, but the fear of working more than the standard 9-to-5 hours they are accustomed to prevents them from ever taking decisive action. As the CEO of a small business myself, I never think about the hours of the day and whether I am on "overtime." Whether it's checking e-mail at 6:00 in the morning or 11:00pm at night, it's something you simply "do" when you have pride in your business.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you tomorrow! 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. Thanks again!

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: AGU , AMAT , CAG , CSX , DVN

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