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June 22, 2012 at 16:09 PM EDT
Market Wrap-Up for June 22 (R, CCL, DRI, JPM, TROW, KMB, more)

It was a bit of a weird tape as earnings news (which should be the ultimate driver for stock prices) out today were not as good as analysts had been expecting, but the market ignored the fundamental data (as it can often do from time to time). Part of the reason could be that yesterday’s late-day selling may have been a bit overdone.

Speaking of the earnings plays that disappointed investors, shares of Ryder Systems (R) closed lower on a reduced forecast, Carnival Corp (CCL) was down despite somewhat positive guidance, and Darden Restaurants (DRI) which did miss estimates, but announced an increase in its dividend payout. Looking at the financials which caught the brunt of yesterday’s selling, shares of JP Morgan (JPM) and Deutsche Bank (DB) paced the gains for the banking sector, while Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) drew in the higher-beta seeking traders. Finally, positive analyst comments had stocks like T.Rowe Price (TROW) and Kimberly Clark (KMB) gaining ground.

Authenticity Stands out These Days

I often scour the web for nuggets of information ranging from dividend company news, earnings analysis, and other things I enjoy, especially sports-related news. We as Internet users have access to thousands — if not millions — of news sources out there. Many of these sources simply deliver the standard news bytes you can find almost anywhere. Some sites stand out, however, by offering a fresh perspective that you won’t find in most places.

Still other companies work as aggregators, meaning they produce no content of their own. Sites like the Drudge Report, for example, simply cull news items from various sources and present them for readers to see — all in one place. Site founder Matt Drudge has done an excellent job building up a big web brand, despite very little in the way of original content.

Every news niche you can think of has its own website, or in some cases, several sites. You’ll find several sites dedicated only to news concerning Apple (AAPL), multiple sites for your favorite sports teams, and so on. Some of the sites draw a much bigger audience than their competitors, either because they have been around a long time and their following is strong, or some get big because they offer a well-thought-out opinion or perspective delivered consistently, day after day.

If you’re looking to build a brand with your business or yourself, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to just “do you” and avoid trying to simply mimic what is already out there. Now it’s perfectly fine to want to mimic others’ success, but make sure to do it with your own special touch. I guarantee you’ll make more headway with this strategy than simply repeating the other voices out there. Think of it like a musical artist — those artists who can bring a new sound to the table that no one’s heard before are often the most successful.

In summary, with so much duplication in the world today, aim for authenticity if you want you or your brand to stand out. That’s how we’ve carved out our niche in the dividend stock world right here at Dividend.com.

Who’s the Next Guy We Can Criticize?

As NBA superstar LeBron James finally won his first championship last night with the Miami Heat, talk on sports radio has now turned to other star athletes out there who haven’t won championships. The fact is, some of the greatest athletes of all time never won a title.

Guys like Ted Williams (baseball), Dan Marino (football), Patrick Ewing (basketball), and Charles Barkley (basketball) come to mind, just to name a few. Does the fact that these greats never won a championship hurt their legacy? I’m sure they’d all trade some of their personal statistical achievements for a shot at a title, but I doubt they look back on their careers with regret. The sports media and fans are another case, however. Many outsiders believe that unless you’ve “won it all,” then you don’t deserve a place among sports’ ultra-elite.

We all want to achieve our own personal glory, but our process is usually much different than an athlete winning a championship ring. Someone may look at getting a college diploma as their highlight in life. Others focus on becoming CEO/President of a big company. Still others want to become political leaders and help transform lives. Finally, some may just want to achieve financial security with a steady job and loving family.

I recently wrote about Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, and his perspective on the big contract he’d just signed. He recounted the struggles he faced with his family early in life, and how they all persevered. He then said a few words that pretty much summed up life when you think about it. Foster stated “We’re all people, we just want to smile.” That’s about as good as it gets for me.

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A Look to Next Week and a Weekend Preview

Looking ahead to next week, earnings will continue to be light, but we are expecting results from General Mills (GIS), Nike (NKE), Monsanto (MON), and Accenture (ACN), just to name a few. The focus will likely be on the economic data as well as the latest Wall Street analyst calls.

Be sure to catch up with our latest watchlist updates this weekend on Dividend.com Premium, including reports on earnings/story stocks, analyst upgrades/downgrades, dividend ETFs, and much more. And as always, you can view our current recommendations on our industry-leading Best Dividend Stocks List.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you this weekend! P.S. Please pass this e-mail on to someone you think can use some financial motivation as well as being kept in the financial news loop that could affect them.

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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