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NAB and “friend” kills the bank dividend party as Telstra hits another high

You can’t be a winner every day.

Just ask shareholders in National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB). Shares in the lender fell over 2% in morning trade despite the company reporting a 9% increase in profit and an 8% increase in its final dividend.

It seems the market wasn’t impressed with the quality of NAB’s earnings, given as they were boosted by a sharp fall in bad debts.

Or perhaps it didn’t like the front page headline in The Australian Financial Review

Banks told to restrict dividends

The same publication says a request by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) “effectively scuttles special or extra dividends in the current bank reporting season.”

Thanks for nothing, APRA. Talk about killing the bank dividend golden” fully franked” goose.

It looks like dividend-hungry, income-starved investors might have to look in other places… like Telstra (ASX: TLS), Woolworths (ASX: WOW), Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL) and yes, even BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP).

More on Telstra a little further down…

Investing fortunes are not made in a day, and definitely not this day

As of writing, the S&P/ASX 200 is trading 0.05% higher. It’s safe to say investing fortunes are not going to be made today.

Perhaps it’s a case of the Halloween blues — after all, the market’s had a pretty good run over the past few weeks, the leading index jumping 5.6% higher.

A pause for breath is both welcome, and healthy. Breathe in, breathe out…

As to the market’s next move, as ever there’s a wide divergence of opinion.

“Stock market crash coming”

You don’t have to look far to find some random doomsayer predicting the next market crash

A Prediction Of Epic Proportions: Stock Market Crash Coming. This stock market crash will occur within the next 6 months from today, October 24th, 2013. The markets will fall within a combined day/few days a total of at least 20%. Bookmark this article.”

— Gareth Soloway, InTheMoneyStocks.com, October 24 2013.

One bet I’m confident of winning

20% declines are so few and far between that I’ll happily bet against such a crash in the next six months.

Investing is about putting the odds in your favour. I can’t guarantee we’ll get through the next six months without a crash, but I can guarantee the odds are strongly in my favour.

Seems I’m not the only one putting the prospect of a stock market crash firmly to one side…

In U.S. the S&P 500 is trading within a whisker of its all time high.

Here, the S&P/ASX 200 continues to trade near a five-year high. According to The Australian Financial Review, respected Goldman Sachs broker Richard Coppleson remains bullish on the sharemarket and the prospect of a recovery in corporate earnings, saying…

… I can easily see the market going to a PE of 16 times within the next few months as it moves to 5600.

Step right up, folks. Fear is dead. Long live the bull.

Fear… I’ll be back

Stock market volatility is low today, but rest assured, it shall return.

Fear keeps most investors, including the so-called professionals, out of the market at precisely the time they should be buying.

Worse, not only don’t they buy, they sell, often when fear is at its peak and the market is at its lowest.

It’s utter madness, of course, but it happens time and time again.

You may have spotted Motley Fool Share Advisor Investment Analyst Scott Phillips on Sky Business News last week. Now a regular, he’ll be back on your screens this afternoon.

Between Scott and myself, we’ve got around 40 years of investing experience under our belts. Crashes, booms, busts… we’ve seen just about everything the market can throw at an investor, and come out the other side, smiling and wealthier.

Our Foolish purpose is to help the world invest better. If you learn just three things from us, let them be…

1) Invest for the long-term.

2) Where possible, reinvest your dividends.

3) Don’t let your emotions rule your investing.

The great dividend dash, and a 52-week high for Telstra

You may have spotted Telstra shares hitting a 52-week high today at $5.23.

Think back to 2011, when Telstra shares were languishing at $2.80, despite them, at the time, trading on a dividend yield of over 10% – and that’s before franking credits!

Back then, it was unthinkable to most investors that two and a half years later, shares in this lumbering giant — its fixed line business shrinking, and the National Broadband Network (NBN) threatening to wreak havoc on its finances and competitive position — would be trading some 94% higher, dividends on top.

Long-time Motley Fool readers might recall, in August 2011, we called Telstra our “…number one ASX 20 pick for the long term as it provides excellent cash returns, limited downside and reasonable upside potential.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

“The stock market has served me well…”

The Motley Fool is helping people take control of their financial lives, improve their financial positions, and allowing them to help others in their family and elsewhere.

Yesterday we proudly received this email from a happy, and seemingly wealthy Motley Fool Share Advisor subscriber…

“Let me again thank you, Scott, and your team for your consistently valuable and sage advice. The stock market has served me well over the last 10 years and is enabling me to give financial assistance to my six married children as and when they need it. We will always be grateful for the part you’ve played in recent years.”

It’s no wonder we love our jobs.

The Australian Financial Review says "good quality Australian shares that have a long history of paying dividends are a real alternative to a term deposit." Get "3 Stocks for the Great Dividend Boom" in our special FREE report. Click here now to find out the names, stock symbols, and full research for our three favourite income ideas, all completely free!

Of the companies mentioned above, Bruce Jackson has an interest in Telstra, Woolworths and BHP Billiton.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

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