As a member of our 10% Promise team, I see a lot of wild swings in the market. Sometimes there's an easy explanation and sometimes the market knocks us for a loop without telling us why. But every week I learn something new. Here are a few things from this week.
Rare-earth elements are still hot
Just last week, I finally came to the conclusion that this rare-earth bubble wasn't going to pop. This week, Molycorp
There doesn't seem to be anything but good news coming from Molycorp, but if you're looking for another way to invest in the sector, Rare Element Resources
When does it end? I have no idea, but I've learned that being anything but bullish on rare earth stocks is a futile endeavor, for now.
I should still be cautious in China
Shares of L&L Energy
A double overnight
It's like seeing a unicorn or Santa's reindeer on the rooftop, but this week, we saw a double overnight. Shares of InterMune
Knowing the rules is still half the battle
There was more confusion about dividends again this week, and I've learned I'm still no expert. China Digital TV
But here is what we should take away from this. It's important to understand the difference between the ex-dividend date and the record date for a dividend. The ex-dividend date is the first day a stock trades without dividend (and the stock price should adjust downward accordingly), while the date of record is usually two days after the ex-dividend date (I say usually because we saw a special case last week). This is because it takes time for exchanges to clear trades, so if you owned the stock overnight before the ex-dividend date, you would indeed be a holder of record two days after the ex-dividend date.
Also, take note that special dividends are treated differently than regular dividends for other purposes, such as option exercise prices. You may want to do some research if a stock you own declares a special dividend; it could save you some money.
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Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings, or follow his Motley Fool CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.
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