Market Wrap-Up for Dec.28 (HPQ, XOM, CVX, DB, BEN, TROW, more)

Hope for a fiscal cliff resolution did not get strong enough today for traders to feel comfortable about taking positions into next week’s holiday-shortened trading action.

Amid a relatively slow news day, very few stocks stood out on the upside, but it wasn’t hard to find downside movers. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares ended lower following confirmation that federal investigators will probe the company’s recent Autonomy acquisition (and allegations Autonomy provided fraudulent financial statements to HPQ). Elsewhere, energy-related plays like Schlumberger (SLB), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), and Devon Energy (DVN) lagged today’s action. Financial stocks also felt the brunt of the selling, with stocks like Deutsche Bank (DB), T.Rowe Price (TROW), and Franklin Resources (BEN) leading the way lower.

A Fiscal Cliff Resolution Will Come, But Hold Off on Celebrating

The media has done a wonderful job painting the fiscal cliff situation as nothing short of apocalyptic, keeping viewers glued to every sound byte. Anyone that has been following Washington’s practices over the years will tell you the current situation is no different than what we have seen before. The end result will be hands united and raised high as both parties find some sort of compromise to push a deal through.

The business media will make it appear to be a celebratory event, and maybe the markets will squeeze out their 14th rally or so on what we have been expecting to eventually get done all along. Are we supposed to be excited about paying more in capital gains taxes and dividend income, let alone the other inevitable burdens put on fiscally responsible peoples’ shoulders? The idea has always been to work hard, save your money, invest it over time to build a nest egg and not be dependent on anyone or anything. Unfortunately policy makers now see responsible individuals who pursue the right course as a group that should foot the bill for whatever programs or spending they push forward on, usually in a reckless manner and with zero accountability.

So forgive me if I don’t celebrate the fiscal cliff resolution when it comes. As always, our attention here at will focus merely on how to best help investors position themselves for the investing years ahead.

NEW! Stock Charts on

We just added a great new feature to this morning: stock charts! Now you can view long- and short-term charts for all the dividend stocks we cover. Just look up a company or symbol using the “Company or Symbol” search box in the upper left hand corner of any page on the site, and you’ll be taken to our brand new stock profile pages. Stay tuned for more great features as we continually strive to improve your experience.

Looking Toward Next Week

Looking ahead to the next week for stocks, we will have another Holiday shortened trading week with the markets closed on Tuesday, New Year’s Day. We would imagine the focus on a fiscal cliff resolution remains the key story as there will be little in the way of earnings to report.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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