Market Wrap-Up for Feb.18 (JWN, CF, DLR, SWK, EOG, WTW, more)

We’re saw a gradual rise for the DOW as other indices remained fairly flat, finishing what has been a generally solid week for the averages. We added a new yield-focused name to our recommended list today, while also removing three growth names from our list as well. Be sure to check out Premium for those stories if you did not read the e-mail alerts we sent out earlier today. Elsewhere, earnings results are lifting shares of Digital Realty Trust ( DLR ), a recent addition to our recommended list. Nordstrom ( JWN ) bounced off of earlier levels and closed higher following the company’s earnings report, as well as news the company was buying a private sales e-commerce company. Wall Street upgrades pushed several stocks higher, including Stanley Black & Decker ( SWK ), EOG Resources ( EOG ), and Raytheon ( RTN ). On the downside, fertilizer play CF Industries ( CF ) sold off after reporting better-than-expected results. Weight Watchers ( WTW ) also gave back just a smidgen of yesterday’s huge gains. The speculation in the venture capital space continues to rage on as we continue to hear about huge rounds of money being raised at ever-climbing market valuations. Mark Cuban just came out with some comments that echoed what I have been saying about the “game” that is going on, where eventually regular investors get burned with the usual late invitations to participate (post-IPO after the insiders have already cashed…

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Market Wrap-Up for Feb.10 (ALL, PEP, PRU, WFMI, WMT, T, more)

I was reading more of the major Harris Poll that was released a few days back and a startling revelation that just floored me was 41% of young people between ages 18 and 33 say their personal savings is mostly in bank savings accounts and CDs. This is not a smart move, period! The media did a great job of scaring many out of the markets 18-24 months ago, and the impact on the younger generation could be quite dangerous if they continue to just “break even” with low yield investments. This ultra-conservative nature is not just going to take a toll on younger investors, but older investors as well. look at the latest annuity sales, which jumped 24% in January 2011 from the previous year. What many investors don’t realize is that now is simply a terrible time to buy annuities, because their returns are severely limited in today’s low interest rate environment. Annuities are fixed income investments offered by life insurance companies. In short, you give the insurer your money, and they make monthly payments to you over a specified period of time. There’s nothing wrong with annuities per se, but the timing for buying annuities is extremely important. In general, as …

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Market Wrap-Up for Feb.4 (AET, WY, MA, K, SPG, AVB, more)

Talk about a confusing jobs number this morning! The estimates were for 150K new jobs, but instead the number came in at 36K. Yet the unemployment rate fell from 9.5% to 9%. Now I consider myself to be pretty good at math, but what formula was used to come up with these results? The market certainly didn’t have any trouble with the number as an afternoon rally pushed up to finish higher on the day. Aetna ( AET ) and Weyerhaeuser ( WY ) received some love from buyers following earnings results. Aetna also raised their dividend payout from $.05 to $.60 on an annualized basis. That’s certainly a bit more of respectable payout from this health insurance giant. Mastercard ( MA ) and Kellogg ( K ) continued to see upside from yesterday’s earnings results as well. On the downside today were REITs following results that failed to excite investors. Simon Property Group ( SPG ) and AvalonBay Communities ( AVB ) paced the way lower. Be sure to check out the list of 10 dividend stocks we removed from our recommended list if you did not read the e-mail alert that we sent out earlier. As I mentioned yesterday, I am just starting my preparation for national radio interviews for my upcoming Be a Dividend Millionaire book as well as discussions on dividend investing, and of course Yesterday afternoon, I had my initial interview with my media team. The process is to identify key areas of discussion for my future interviews as well as pointers to make the interviews as captivating as possible. I’m not sure how long the interviews will be, so you need to have game plans to hit all your key points in whatever time is allotted. One of the people I was working with yesterday afternoon is a baby boomer who is worried about not having enough income built up for her retirement. What I did was point her to our Compounding Interest Calculator , and by the end of the call, she said I’d inspired her and given her hope! Think about this example: you are just about to turn 50 years old and have not yet saved a dime (it’s quite common – check out the data below that was just released by the Harris Poll just yesterday). Believe it or not, even at 50, you still…

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Market Wrap-Up for Jan.31 (MEE, CNX, WLT, DRI, FCX, POT, INTC, more)

As the market got started on this new week, market participants were keeping a close eye on the doings going on in Egypt, but a big coal merger put a bid into numerous energy-focused plays. Before we dig into that, I just want to remind everyone that we added a new name to our best dividend stocks list this morning, so be sure to check out the upgrade if you didn’t see the e-mail alert we sent out earlier to Premium subscribers. Looking at the big deal of the day, Massey Energy ( MEE ), which had long been a subject of ongoing takeover rumors, finally did catch a bid over the weekend. The company will be getting taken over by Alpha Natural Resources( ANR ) at a valuation that is about 30% below its all-time high levels hit in June of 2008. That news helped push shares like Consol Energy ( CNX ) and Walter Energy ( WLT ) nicely higher. We also saw seeing buying spread to other commodity names, including Freeport McMoran ( FCX ) and Potash Corp ( POT ). Darden Restaurant ( DRI ) shares were up on news the company is lifting its outlook. There has been a worry in the market when it comes to food/restaurant plays, and how they will be having to deal with higher commodity costs. We’ll keep an eye on the sector to see if other companies are able to dodge the rising food cost bullet as well. Lastly, Intel Corporation ( INTC ) managed to close unchanged despite news the company is cutting its earlier margins guidance, following a chip design glitch that will hit the semiconductor giant’s bottom line this coming quarter. Lots of gloomy headlines about Social Security possibly dissolving sooner than experts have been predicting last week, so I wanted to look for nuggets to write about retirement this morning. I wanted to focus on some baby boomer tips from a recent U.S. News & World Report, and add my own two cents to each. Baby Boomer Tip #1 – “Sign up for Medicare on time.” This is a no-brainer and who wouldn’t want to be able to free up money that can be saved or used for other necessities? As people continue to live longer, some of the savings from not having to pay for your own expensive plan can even go into quality dividend stocks that provide a nice yield each year. Baby Boomer Tip #2 – “Schedule your free physical…

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Goldman Sachs Upgrades Home Depot, Downgrades Lowe’s (HD, LOW)

Filed in dividend, downgrade, earnings, Gold, goldman sachs, o, shares, target, upgrade by on January 31, 2011 0 Comments

Analysts at Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded Lowe’s Companies, Inc. ( LOW ), but upgraded rival home improvement warehouse operator The Home Depot, Inc. ( HD ). The firm said it cut its rating on LOW from “Buy” to “Neutral” with a $28 price target. That target implies an 11% upside to the stock’s Friday closing price of $25.25. Goldman noted that a transitional period in Lowe’s management structure could limit the stock’s upside. Meanwhile, the analyst upgraded HD from “Neutral” to “Buy” and boosted its price target from $37 to $42. That new target suggests a 14% upside to the stock’s Friday closing price of $36.70. Goldman also raised its 2010, 2011, and 2012 earnings estimates for Home Depot as part of the upgrade, noting the company has well-planned strategies that could drive further profits. Lowe’s shares fell 26 cents, or -1%, in premarket trading Monday, while Home Depot shares rose 60 cents, or +1.7%. The Bottom Line Shares of Home Depot ( HD ) have a 2.56% dividend yield, based on Friday’s closing stock price of $36.70. Shares of Lowe’s ( LOW ) have a 1.74% dividend yield, based on Friday’s closing stock price of $25.25. Lowe’s Companies, Inc. ( LOW ) and The Home Depot, Inc. ( HD ) are both rated “Neutral,” with both stocks holding a DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars. Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of

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Stanley Black & Decker Downgraded to “Hold” at KeyBanc (SWK)

Toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. ( SWK ) on Monday saw its shares downgraded by analysts at Keybanc. The firm said it cut its rating on SWK from “Buy” to “Hold,” citing the stock’s fair valuation. A KeyBanc analyst commented, “With Stanley’s success in 2010 and robust sales guidance of 5-6% organic growth in 2011, we see little upside near-term given its valuation at roughly 15x our $4.96 estimate ($4.75-$5.00 guidance), supporting our downgrade to HOLD. We raised our 2011 from $4.55 to $4.96 and expect free cash flow of $1.1 billion in 2011 (9% yield) to solidify investors’ confidence in management’s ability to execute further cost savings and or accretive acquisitions into the 2H, offering the stock momentum in time.” Stanley Black & Decker shares fell 72 cents, or -1%, in premarket trading Monday. The Bottom Line Shares of Stanley Black & Decker ( SWK ) have a 1.87% dividend yield, based on Friday’s closing stock price of $72.72. The stock has technical support in the $65 price area. The shares are trading at all-time highs and have little overhead resistance. Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. ( SWK ) is not recommended at this time, holding a DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars. 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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Market Wrap-Up for Jan.24 (MCD, RSH, HAL, CLF, JCP, more)

Filed in ceo, dividend, downgrade, earnings, Gold Investing, lead, Lear, o, Rio Tinto, shares, upgrade by on January 24, 2011 0 Comments

Let me just start by saying it was a tough night trying to get to sleep after watching the Jets nearly make it all the way back from the hole they put themselves in against the Steelers yesterday. It was an exciting year, but once again the team falls short. One day, the Jets will win it all again (as will every team at some point). Good luck to the Steelers (sold this stock too early as I was a fan in my younger days – still enjoyed watching them win their first four Super Bowls – and Packers!) The Super Bowl should certainly be an outstanding match-up. In investing, you can always dig yourself out of a hole, as long as the hole doesn’t swallow up your entire portfolio. What I mean is you should never put all your eggs in one or two baskets. It’s easy to say “I should have just owned Stock XYZ” in hindsight. Unfortunately I have seen too many cases where investors pick the wrong “horse” or couple of “horses” to bet on — sometimes this practice is done in one’s 401k regarding their employer’s stock. How many millions were lost in stocks like Enron, Lucent, Nortel, etc, when these stocks tumbled and never bounced back? One thing is always for certain: companies’ fortunes change at one point or another, but if an investor doesn’t accept the fact it may be time to ring the register and sell, the inherent risk to one’s nest egg increases dramatically. Even if you take a decent-sized loss and don’t stick to my 25% off the 52-week high” checkpoint, you can easily recoup those losses by getting back to the investing basics and put your money to work in quality dividend-paying stocks over the next several years. It never makes sense to give up on the markets, despite the magnitude any correction has on your portfolio. I can’t stress enough that if you adopt a sell discipline for your portfolio, you will always have a portfolio that will be performing at or better than most money managers in the business today. Just before we take a look at today’s action, I just wanted to remind everyone to check out today’s new recommendations if you did not read the alert we sent out earlier. As we start another busy week of earnings, the markets got off to a solid start. Halliburton ( HAL ) and McDonald’s ( MCD ) closed with minors following both companies’ earnings reports. J.C. Penney ( JCP ) had a good day following some new board members coming on board, as speculation of a potential sale makes the rounds. On the flipside, Radioshack ( RSH ) shares got hurt on news the CEO will be stepping down in May. Commodity names are bouncing following the recent selling. Cliffs Natural Resources ( CLF ) and Rio Tinto ( RTP ) paced the gains. I wanted to go over some investing strategy one-liners that were highlighted on my friend and respected market-watcher Charles Kirk’s “Kirk Report”. Investing Strategy #1 – “Keep it…

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Market Wrap-Up for Jan.21 (GE, COF, STI, FCX, BTU, MCD, JNJ, more)

We sometimes hear from dividend investors who simply over-analyze their investments. For instance, dividend stock prices are automatically negatively adjusted on the ex-dividend date to reflect the upcoming payout. This practice, put into place by the exchanges themselves, prevents people from “gaming” the dividend system. Investors sometimes panic at these price drops, despite them being a natural part of dividend investing. A one- or two-point drop in a high-quality dividend stock, especially as a result of an ex-dividend adjustment, is nothing to be concerned about! Now if the stocks gets down 20-25% off its 52-week high, then and only then you may have something to worry yourself with. This illustrates the danger of focusing on the short term, which usually causes investors to start trying to time the markets. Trying to time every movement perfectly is trading, not investing, so forget about looking for immediate price gains as soon as you purchase a security! Before we look at today’s market action, just a quick note to check out today’s new recommendation changes in the link below if you did not read the e-mail alert we sent out earlier. The market got off to a decent start on the back of solid earnings results from General Electric ( GE ). We also saw positive reactions to financial plays SunTrust Banks ( STI ), Capital One Financial ( COF ), and BB&T Corp ( BBT ). Wall Street analyst upgrades also helped lift shares of Eaton Corp ( ETN ) and Parker-Hannifin ( PH ). Sellers hit commodity plays once again, with Freeport McMoran ( FCX ), Walter Energy ( WLT ), and Peabody Energy ( BTU ) taking a hit. I’m hearing from some gold and silver investors about the recent pain they have seen with the recent price drop. I don’t see any particular long-term worries at this point, but with signs of the economy getting its mojo back, the case for the metals may not be as seductive as it has been. Overall, it may be a good time to get some gold stock candidates ready to examine on healthy pullbacks. I have been consistently saying here that the metals could be in for a pullback, and urged caution back in late November, so hopefully anyone that was sitting on nice profits was able to ring the register at higher levels. I still believe that this generation of investors is not afraid of looking at commodities for a part an investment portfolio, so I doubt that we will go back to long-term periods of gold and silver languishing. We finish up …

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Annaly Capital Downgraded to “Hold” at Jefferies & Co. (NLY)

Filed in dividend, downgrade, Gold Investment, o, shares, target by on January 19, 2011 0 Comments

Mortgage-related investment securities firm Annaly Capital Management, Inc. ( NLY ) on Wednesday saw its rating cut but analysts at Jefferies & Co. The firm said it downgraded NLY from “Buy” to “Hold” noting that investment spreads could be squeezed over the next several quarters. Jefferies currently has a $15 price target set on NLY, which implies a 16% downside to the stock’s Tuesday closing price of $17.84. Annaly Capital shares fell 11 cents, or -0.6%, in premarket trading Wednesday. The Bottom Line Shares of Annaly Capital ( NLY ) have a 14.35% dividend yield, based on last night’s closing stock price of $17.84. The stock has technical support in the $15-$17 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $20 price level. Annaly Capital Management, Inc. ( NLY ) is not recommended at this time, holding a DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars. 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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SYSCO Downgraded to “Hold” at BB&T Capital (SYY)

Filed in dividend, downgrade, earnings, Gold Investing, Gold Investment, o, shares by on January 18, 2011 0 Comments

Food distributor SYSCO Corporation ( SYY ) on Tuesday caught a downgrade from analysts at BB&t;T on earnings growth concerns. The firm said it downgraded SYY from “Buy” to “Hold,” citing flat near-term earnings growth. SYSCO provides products and food services to around 400,000 customers, many of which are restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, and lodging establishments. SYSCO shares fell 45 cents, or -1.5%, in premarket trading Monday. The Bottom Line Shares of Sysco ( SYY ) have a 3.42% dividend yield, based on last night’s closing stock price of $30.45. The stock has technical support in the $27-$28 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $32-$34 price levels. SYSCO Corporation ( SYY ) is not recommended at this time, holding a DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars. 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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Market Wrap-Up for Jan.14 (JPM, PNC, STT, GS, NEM, MEE, GE, more)

As I progress through my early 40′s, I like to think back to how I approached money in my earlier years. Being an entrepreneur, there is always a constant need to invest in your business and in yourself. That said, I still regret not being more proactive when it came to thinking about long-term wealth and financial security. The beauty of compound interest (which dividend stocks are great at providing when you re-invest those dividends) is something to marvel at when you start tabulating the numbers. You can use our Compounding Interest Calculator to measure your hypothetical rate of return, based on the number of years and amount of money you invest. Of course, getting married, having kids, and buying a home can put quite a dent in your best-laid plans. What was Mike Tyson’s famous line? I believe it was “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Now I’m not trying to liken a boxing match to your family life, but the fact remains that the expenses you incur in adulthood can take quite a toll on your financial goals. Some investors are now in a position of making up for lost time, scrambling to start or build their retirement nest egg at a later stage in their lives than they’d prefer. The way I see it, the solution to this problem is simple: put more money each month to work for you. Some things you learn with age, and when it comes to money, most of us don’t start to really appreciate the power it has in our lives until we look up at the scoreboard and realize we’ve lost some initial ground. The key word I used there is “initial”, because it is NEVER too late to come back and make a difference. My dad had a barber friend who bought his first house at 77 years old! That’s the way you have to look at life. Never stop trying to achieve your goals, no matter how late you are in the game. I don’t care if all you can afford is $25 a month to start investing. Pick an online broker and get an account open if you don’t have one already. If you’re employed, set up an IRA and fund it with the maximum contribution you can make every year. And if you have kids, get a Coverdell Education Savings Account started for each of them and fund those as well. If your employer matches your 401k contributions, then do that too! Do whatever you can to make it happen. In time, you’ll look back …

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Sleeping Easy Despite Moody’s Downgrade Threat

Filed in BP, downgrade, economy, Gold, Lear, moodys, o, silver, US Credit by on January 14, 2011 0 Comments

Hmmn… There must have been change in the Matrix. We experienced a major deja vu this morning. It began when we read this headline from The Wall Street Journal: “S&P, Moody’s Warn on US Credit Rating.” “We have become increasingly clear,” the Journal quotes a Moody’s statement “about the fact that if there are not Sleeping Easy Despite Moody’s Downgrade Threat originally appeared in the Daily Reckoning . The Daily Reckoning, offers a uniquely refreshing, perspective on the global economy, investing, gold, stocks and today’s markets. Its been called “the most entertaining read of the day.”

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