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Market Wrap-Up for Feb.22

The markets were able to get back some of what was lost the previous two sessions. News out of the Eurozone remains an issue as far as the global economic landscape goes. If the U.S. can begin to separate itself from the effects of further troubles in Europe, investors could be in for a sustained bounce. However, one should never discount how the world markets are intertwined these days.

Looking at today’s movers, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares bounced higher following the company’s better-than-expected results. Texas Instruments (TXN) saw buying interest following news of a share buyback program as well as a nice dividend hike, bringing the yield above the 3% level. Darden Restaurants (DRI) rallied despite a mixed forecast from the company. DRI shares have been bouncing along the 52-week low levels.

Speaking of dividend increases, banking play State Street Corp (STT) also announced it was bumping its dividend payout, with the shares up on the news. Earnings plays that did not fare as well included Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and fertilizer play Agrium (AGU). The fertilizer sector in general was under pressure following a sector-wide downgrade of names like Potash Corp (POT), CF Industries (CF), and Mosaic (MOS).

Dealing with the Realities

Keeping with this week’s theme of investors that get scared from bad stock market experiences, I wanted to bring up an interesting situation taking place within the professional basketball team I love to follow, The New York Knicks. The team has had a fairly solid season so far (although they have not been playing well as of late), but there is one player in particular who has struggled.

Last year’s rookie sensation Iman Shumpert unfortunately tore ligaments in his knee during the playoffs last year and just recently came back to the lineup (it’s been about a month now), but as many fans can see he is not the same player he was last year. We all know knee injuries are bad for us non-athletes, so I could imagine the difficulty for any elite professional athlete. The thing that has changed the most from a fan and coach’s vantage point is the hesitation Mr. Shumpert has while he is playing. After suffering a big injury like he did, you can see there is a tentativeness we didn’t used to see. The concern over his downturn was so severe the team considered trading him, but didn’t pull the trigger on a deal with the NBA trade deadline passing yesterday.

In investing, it sometimes doesn’t take much for investors to get scared from wanting to do their usual market investing. This is especially true for active investors. They tend to develop a “deer in headlights” fear that prevents them from being as smartly aggressive they used to be when things were going well. Ask any trader: once you lose your conviction, a trading slump will soon follow. You will not take positions you normally would. You will take profits off the table way too early for fear of giving them back, and the eventually you will develop a fear of losing money altogether.

For longer term investors, as most dividend investors are, the key is to avoid hearing the rumblings about what the markets may be doing in the short term and instead consistently look to make your money work over time. In this day and age of constantly breaking news and headlines that are either too bullish or too bearish, the temptation to be in and out of the markets is always a click or two away. The key is to not let anything in the past change the original journey you had mapped out.

For athletes, injuries are a part of their game/career. For investors, stock pullbacks and occasional losses are also a given. The sooner you accept that reality the less constrained you will be moving forward.

NEW! Stock Charts on Dividend.com

We just added a great new feature to Dividend.com 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 Dividend.com experience.

Looking Toward Next Week

Looking ahead to the next week for stocks, we will get a slew of earnings from across many sectors, with companies like Lowe’s (LOW), Target (TGT), Best Buy (BBY), and PetSmart (PETM) 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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