Market Wrap-Up for Oct.8 (DIS, PETM, ANF, SHW, more)

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Market volume on this Columbus Day holiday was fairly subdued, but the session did take on a bit of a negative bias, as global economic concerns remain front and center.

Some folks on Wall Street actually made it in to the offices today, and we were watching some notable analyst calls affecting share prices. Walt Disney ( DIS ), Eastman Chemical ( EMN ), and Parker-Hannifin ( PH ) ended lower as all three companies were the subject of cautious analyst commentary. Elsewhere, we saw a bit of red on the screen for the likes of Sherwin-Williams ( SHW ) and Wynn Resorts ( WYNN ). Not all the investor moves were negative however, as we did see interest in retail names like PetSmart ( PETM ) and Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF ).

After the Fact is Too Late

Have you ever thought about doing your own "state of the union" report, as it relates to your current financial situation? This report doesn't have to just include actual earnings and investments, but also could include opportunities over the past 6 or 12 months you failed to capitalize on.

The idea of evaluating missed opportunities was triggered by a recent interview I heard with New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Mr. Alderson was catching up with the media at seasons' end to talk about the year that was, and what the future outlook may be. As a Mets' fan, I wish I could say I was satisfied with Mr. Alderson's assessment of how things went for the team. In particular, I feel the team's fortunes could have been positively impacted by making some moves at the Major League Baseball trade deadline.

The hardest thing to hear was Alderson's flip-flopping on exactly which team he believes makes up the current roster - the one that played surprisingly competitively in the first half, or the one that was among the very worst in baseball in the second half. Failing to make any trades to help the team, which was in the thick of the pennant race in early July, was where I felt ownership let the fans down.

This point got me thinking about how we view our own financial situations, and how honest we are with our own performance assessments. It could be a case of being too aggressive with our investments and letting our discipline slip with stocks that don't fit the risk profile of what we are trying to achieve. One easy example was the Facebook ( FB ) euphoria that pulled in investors of all types, including income-oriented investors. On the other hand, you may be truly satisfied with not letting the media shake you out of quality stocks that have produced steady gains, as well as consistently higher dividend payouts.

A personal "state of the union" should be balanced between the good and the not-so-good. It should also include a deeper look at how your career contributes to where you are, and more importantly, where you're likely to head. I bring the subject of career up often because it is the foundation of where our investment dollars come from. Despite the reported jobs numbers getting better, I believe there are wholesale changes happening in today's workforce. I see job opportunities to make big money dwindling for the masses, unless you acquire and develop a special skill set that is needed in today's world.

With declining education-based scores in the U.S., many of our young generation may be on the outside looking in when it comes to global opportunities if there is not enough emphasis placed on schoolwork and education. This needs to come from the home front as much as from anywhere else.

After all, if we are to ask the hard questions of ourselves to improve our personal/professional/financial standing, we owe it to those closest to our hearts to pass on those same virtues.

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.

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: ANF , DIS , EMN , PETM , PH

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