Market Wrap-Up for Feb.25 (MJN, AMGN, AAPL, DRI, PETM, CMI, more)

The markets saw quite a bit of volatility pick up as all eyes appear to be on the elections being held in Italy. After a nice pop at the open, the averages pulled back hard with some decent momentum as traders weigh the election nervously weigh the outcome possibilities.

Stocks making headlines today include Amgen (AMGN), whose shares rallied on news of a competitor’s drug troubles. Also, CME Group (CME) gave up the early highs as exchange consolidation rumors continued. If you remember recently talk of NasdaqOMX Group (NDAQ) going private were moving shares as well. Formula-maker Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) ended lower as the government of Hong Kong is considering policy changes that could weigh on the company’s bottom line.

Wall Street analyst calls also had an impact on trading, but positive chatter was unable to hold the gains for Cummins Inc. (CMI), International Paper (IP), and Occidental Petroleum (OXY) which started the day higher, but ended the day in the red. On the downside, recently cautious comments on PetSmart (PETM) continue to remain in play as another firm was out this morning a bit negative on the company. Also lower on bearish analyst calls were Apple (AAPL) and Darden Restaurants (DRI).

Who Helps You Make Decisions?

Whether you are an investor, business person, or entrepreneur, you must either accept the responsibility of making key decisions on your own, or consult with a trusted group of people to help you weigh the risks and rewards of the subject matter at hand.

Some of the biggest questions investors tend to have is when to buy and when to sell a stock. We of course have tried to help in that process with our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List, which includes buy and occasional sell alerts (unless we feel a potential negative shift has occurred for a company, we normally just downgrade the stock to “Neutral”). Anyone that has subscribed to our service has essentially brought us into their decision-making process, as is the case with any other investment research service they subscribe to. Some investors look to other investors they respect as well to become a sounding board to debate the pros and cons of a particular stock’s investment appeal.

The important thing is to have a succinct process to base your investment decisions on. In some cases, business people can be super successful in what they do, but not necessarily the greatest of investors. The reason could be that they’re used to making the big calls themselves and their track record has been solid. It doesn’t always translate into success in the markets however.

In life, the decisions we make can often times be based solely on the financial aspect and not so much on anything else. We are seeing this in the business world as corporations have continued to get as lean as possible in order to keep profit margins to where Wall Street remains content. This trend has been around a long time, and will remain so for a long time. In the end, it is really down to those in the position of control who must decide the amount of emphasis that must be placed on the bottom line. For investors, coming up with a balance to avoid being swept up in a herd that only sees things one way is often the time when true financial education is gained.

Our 2013 Dividend Stock Guide Has Arrived!

Our new members-only eBook has just been released! This 250-page guide to investing in 2013 contains a concise economic forecast for next year, including full previews for 60 big-name stocks! Be sure to head over to Premium and download it and get your game plan in place for all good things dividend-related in 2013!

I hope everyone had a chance to check out our 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.

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