Market Wrap-Up for Feb.15 (VFC, WMT, CBS, UPS, GG, more)

Market watchers were keeping a close eye on the averages today to see if this year’s weekly winning streak would hold. The market is set to be closed on Monday for President’s Day, so volume did begin to lighten up as the afternoon was winding down.

Looking at some of today’s movers, earnings results helped propel shares of V.F. Corp (VFC), CBS Corp (CBS), and Burger King Worldwide (BKW) higher. Also moving up today were shares of United Parcel Service (UPS), which announced a dividend hike and share buyback. We are seeing some stocks dip on their earnings announcements today, including Agilent Technologies (A) and Goldcorp (GG). Speaking of gold, the price of the yellow metal is once again threatening to break below the $1600 an ounce level. With confidence growing in the economy, it’s certainly possible commodity investors may see their resolve tested if prices continue to drift lower. Earlier this afternoon, rumors about slow February sales for Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) got some bullish investors to pause for a bit, pushing the averages into the red by the close. The S&P still kept it’s 2013 weekly winning streak going however.

Follow-Up to H.J. Heinz Acquisition

I wanted to chime in a bit deeper as we have been getting asked by readers what they should do now that the stock of H.J. Heinz (HNZ) has spiked on acquisition news. For us, the stock has been a big winner since we began recommending it in early 2009 (127% total return, including dividends). Despite the stock trading right around the price where it will be acquired, we are keeping it on the recommended list, as there is always the possibility of another offer.

For investors out there that are not sure what course to take, you have several options: 1) You can sit tight and wait for the deal to close (sometime in the third quarter this year) and maybe see if another higher offer comes in. 2) You can cash out now and just move on. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. 3) You can sell some of your position and keep some on.

It all really depends on what you’re most comfortable doing. Either way, it’s a great situation for anyone that owned the shares prior to the deal being announced. The company will continue to pay out dividends in the interim.

Putting Money to Work Never Stops

As you are probably learning from legendary investors like Warren Buffett, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, the idea is to keep putting money work. I have often written that sitting in cash is never a good long-term strategy and guys like Warren Buffett didn’t get to their levels sitting in front of a television screen watching the business media scare them away from making moves. Just a few years as the financial world appeared to be imploding, Warren Buffett was busy analyzing where he could best put his money to work. He identified several options, realizing he may not have been buying the exact bottom, but was still content in doing something with the capital he wanted to make available. Note he is also a shrewd investor, always keeping a certain amount of cash liquidity around for any and every opportunity he and his Berkshire Hathaway team are able to spot.

Now this isn’t so much a tribute piece to how great an investor Warren Buffett is, but rather, a reminder to all those investors out there who feel they need to wait for the exact perfect time to buy quality assets that produce income. This has hurt many the past few years who witnessed the big market drop in late 2008, early 2009. Sometimes events like that will paralyze investors for the years that follow and they do little with their money. The world is always moving ahead and there is always something that will push prices higher or lower. But if you learn the lessons from the rich, such as the Warren Buffetts of the world, they rarely ever stay in cash for long periods of time. Money needs to get put to work and that’s a basic principle of building wealth.

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 have a short trading week with the markets closed on Monday for President’s Day. After that, we get a slew of earnings from across many sectors, with companies like Marriott International (MAR), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Hormel Foods (HRL), and WalMart Stores (WMT) reporting results.

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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