Market Wrap-Up for Sept.17 (USO, AAPL, MCO, CLF, HAS, more)

It was quite a scary weekend with all the anti-U.S. protests/violence making headlines. The markets didn’t appear too concerned with the news, but I would not discount the situation one bit. The potential for volatility is there for investors, so a prudent approach to putting capital to work is extremely necessary. The markets did come off of earlier lows on news the U.S. could look to tap oil reserves in an effort to bring down spiking oil prices (USO).

There weren’t any particular themes playing out during the day, but we did see Wall Street analyst moves having a bit of an impact. Positive commentary had shares of Moody’s (MCO) and Apple (AAPL) moving higher for much of the session. On the flip side, stocks like Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF), Hasbro (HAS), and Valero Energy (VLO) all saw red on cautious analyst comments. There is a bit of concern that commodity stocks may have gotten a bit too over-heated during last week’s QE3 headlines.

No One Stepped Up

Being a New York Jets fan, I went into this weekend’s game with the mindset the game would likely be a loss, since three key players were not able to suit up. The logic made sense, and this was despite their opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers missing two of their key players as well. Having been a long suffering fan of the Jets, it is almost a certainty there would be no gut-check moment in games like this for a team that does have some decent talent (all the Tim Tebow controversy notwithstanding). They have a cocky coach – Rex Ryan, who is quick to make his feelings felt on how great his team is and how prepared they are week-in and week-out.

There I was, like Charlie Brown approaching the football that Lucy promised she would not pull away, shutting off my computer and deciding to watch the game until it was out of reach for the Jets to win. The game was looking good for the first quarter and a half, but that was about it. The Steelers took charge near the end of the first half and shut the Jets down completely in the second half. I took the bait and was expecting the team would have a gut check moment, but to no avail. All the talk about the depth of the team in the days leading up to the game, and guess what – no one stepped up. No one!

It’s amazing how being a Jet fan and dealing with disappointment year after year is sort of what scores of people feel like when they look at how their own professional, personal, and financial aspects of their life are going. You come into work to the same job you wish you would have left years ago, but are too unmotivated to go out and find something better. You talk to your family about money and responsibility and yet, you find yourself repeating the obvious solutions and remedies over and over again, only to see heads nodding in agreement and no one really grasping the severity of the problems they will soon face or are facing already. Finally, you look at your financial picture and see no advancement, but yet don’t make the changes necessary to stem the tide of red ink. Whether it is from spending too much when you get those “only live once” thoughts or not making the sacrifices needed to be able to start compiling assets that build income.

The reality for most of us is that we will see plenty of examples in our inner circle (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) who will never quite step up and show us they are going to over-achieve. Going along the same path is too easy for most to continue repeating. There will be plenty of starts and stops, moments you are gearing up for a different outcome, only to realize the DNA to actually step up and surprise the world remains missing in action.

The mindset to win in sports is often decided before the game is even played. Some teams can overcome and show a resiliency while others buckle right at the point you expect them to. There will be a moment when things will change for the Jets, I really believe it, just as I believe there will be those special few around us that will surprise us beyond our imaginations. For the majority, the time for action will inevitably come too late, but if just one or two decide to step up, it can be something that lasts for generations to come. Just as fans can tell when the destiny of an organization changes, most often when that special player comes along and raises the bar when it comes to having the will to win, we too will recognize the difference-maker that affects our lives. It may be that we ourselves need to be that person, and if it is, so be it. If you can’t believe in yourself, who else should?

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.

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