Market Wrap-Up for Sept.29 (WYNN, HGIC, MET, PRU, MOS, RL, more)

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There was some wild trading going in in the momentum stocks today as the Nasdaq index continues to see extreme volatility. The market closes out the month tomorrow and plenty of under-performing stocks were shown the door.

Some of the capital leaving the growth-related names looks like it's being put to use in some of the dividend-centric names we follow closely. That move is both good and bad. The good news is that share prices are once again moving higher, but the bad thing is that many of the stocks we like had been hanging tough anyhow. As prices move higher, yields drop, making them a bit less attractive. We are carefully watching this trend as it unfolds and will alert subscribers to any changes we decide to make to our Best Dividend Stocks List .

Getting back to the high-beta, low-dividend yield names being sold, we saw Wynn Resorts ( WYNN ), Carbo Ceramics ( CRR ), and Ralph Lauren ( RL ) once again pacing the way lower. Shares of once-hot fertilizer play Mosaic ( MOS ) hit a new 52-week low today following the company's latest earnings results. Meanwhile, insurers bucked the selling, with stocks like Metlife ( MET ), Lincoln National ( LNC ), and Prudential ( PRU ) pushing higher. Part of the excitement in that sector could be traced to a deal announced earlier today where Harleysville Group ( HGIC ) is being acquired by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. for nearly a 90% premium ($60 a share). Talk about paying a big price. I'm scratching my head why Nationwide would ever want to pay this much of a premium when Harleysville's previous all-time high was around $40 a share. Congrats to HGIC shareholders nonetheless.


Doing "Just Enough" is Never Enough

Many readers know I am a big sports fan, and sometimes I like to point out in-game events that have correlations with people's real lives. Yesterday, the Mets created a big controversy in the sports world when shortstop Jose Reyes was pulled from the final game of the season in the very first inning.

You see, Reyes was trying to win the National League batting title, given to the player with the highest batting average in the league. He entered his final game yesterday with every intention to seal the title, no matter what.

Reyes led off the bottom of the first inning (at his home stadium in New York) with a bunt base hit. As had been planned before the game with his manager, Reyes was then removed from the game, with another baserunner taking his place. This strategy was to designed to all but guarantee Reyes the batting title, since that first inning hit put him a few points above the next closest contender (if he'd stayed in the game, he risked making outs and lowering his batting average). The move meant that Milwaukee's Ryan Braun would need to have no less than three hits in four at bats in his game that night in order to overtake Reyes for the batting crown - not an impossible feat, but unlikely.

The strategy quickly backfired, however, as the home fans in New York went berserk at the move. Streams of boos rained down upon Reyes and the Mets. Clearly the fans felt he was taking the easy way out.

Rather than give his best effort in a full game, Reyes decided his best chance to win the batting crown was to play it safe. To him, the risk of making outs outweighed his chances of getting more hits (which could have raised his average to an unreachable level for his competitor).

In the end, Reyes did win the batting title. The player chasing him (the Brewers' Ryan Braun) went 0-for-4 last night. Not to take anything away from him winning the award, but the way Reyes accomplished his feat has many sports fans across the country criticizing his minimal effort.

It just so happens that yesterday was the 70th anniversary of legendary ballplayer Ted Williams' famous feat of batting .406 in 1941. Hitting .400 in baseball is about as rare a feat as possible. How "Teddy Baseball" achieved his historic average that year couldn't have been more different than the way Reyes went about his business last night.

Heading into the final day of the baseball season, Williams' Red Sox had a doubleheader scheduled. His average stood at .3995, which is rounded up to .400 when the statisticians make their final adjustments. Williams' manager and teammates advised him there was nothing wrong with sitting out his team's final two games to preserve his .400 average. How did the future Hall of Famer respond to this advice? He simply said, "If I'm going to be a .400 hitter, then I'm going to be a .400 hitter all the way."

Williams played both games of the doubleheader, collecting six hits in eight at-bats and finishing the season with a .406 batting average. He'd later miss nearly full seasons of his baseball career serving in World War II and later the Korean War as a talented fighter pilot. Talk about sacrifice!

I bring up this sports analogy to help remind us that the road to wealth is paved with hard work, not with shortcuts. Doing the bare minimum simply isn't enough.

Just this week, a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health, showed that many retirees found retirement was much harder than they'd anticipated. The survey results suggest the main problems people encounter are money and health. And a third of retirees said their finances were worse than before retirement, with an even greater percentage reporting deteriorating health. The same poll asked pre-retirees about their current situation and found that many greatly underestimate the chances of running into money and health problems.

Doing the bare minimum (for example, saving a set amount each month to invest, but never pushing harder to raise the amount you invest over time) will likely leave many short of an enjoyable period later in life. Some may think that their current financial obligations will eventually wind down, and then they'll really begin to stockpile away money for their golden years. Unfortunately that is almost never the case. Too many unforeseen events can happen (divorce, a family death, getting laid off, etc.), and you can't afford to lollygag when you could be doing more - all the while still enjoying life's finer moments as well.

As I mentioned above, building wealth requires you to aside funds and invest them in income-producing assets (dividend-paying stocks is our immediate focus, but it can be investing into growing your business even more, or buying a property that can be cash-flow positive). If you are already retired, it may mean coming back in the work force part-time (if you are unable to work because of a disability, there can be work you do from home possibly) or not being gun-shy when it comes to staying active as an investor. Maybe you decide to re-invest some of those dividend checks back into quality companies as well.

You do not want to turn super-conservative if you can help it. What do the best coaches always tell their players? You play hard until the final whistle blows. Do the same thing in your own life.

New Watchlist Article Out today

Be sure to check out our weekly "Top 50 Watchlist Names" post that is out today, only for Dividend.com Premium members. Some high-beta dividend stocks will certainly be on this list as we keep everyone up-to-date on names that are working better than others in this current market environment. Our focus is more on yield, so be sure to recognize the risk of buying lower-yielding stocks.

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.

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: CRR , HGIC , LNC , MET , MOS

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