NEW YORK -- The Nasdaq ended higher Monday for a ninth straight day following gains in Apple, while the Dow and S&P 500 eased off recent record highs as lower oil prices dragged down energy shares.
Nasdaq's winning run was its longest since September 2010, putting the index closer to its 5,132.52 all-time intraday high, reached in March 2000 just before the dot-com bubble burst. Giving Nasdaq its biggest boost were shares of Apple (AAPL), which rose 2.7 percent to $133, another record close.
Oil prices fell, with WTI crude off 2.7 percent at $49.45 a barrel on oversupply concerns and a stronger dollar, pushing the S&P energy index down 0.4 percent.
The PHLX housing sector index was off 0.5 percent after existing home sales fell to their lowest in nine months in January.
Investors were also reluctant to make big bets before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's semiannual testimony this week before the Senate Banking Committee, which will be closely watched for any indications on the timing of an interest rate hike.
That is always a potentially big market mover, said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
"We had some disappointing housing data this morning, and oil prices were lower," which were enough to dampen sentiment, he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 23.6 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,116.84, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) lost 0.64 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,109.66 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC)
added 5.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,960.97.
The Dow and S&P 500 eased off record highs from late last week, when a conditional agreement was reached by eurozone finance ministers to extend Greece's bailout.
Health Shares Rise
Insurer stocks gained after the government proposed late Friday to make only a small cut in payments to Medicare plans, a reversal from the much larger cuts in recent years. The announcement was more clearly presented this year than in previous years, analysts said, giving investors more certainty that the worst was behind for this program.
Shares of Humana (HUM) were up 5.4 percent at $164.52 while UnitedHealth (UNH) gained 3.4 percent to $116.40.
Boeing (BA) fell 2.3 percent to $154.74, the biggest drag on the Dow, after Goldman Sachs (GS) cut its rating to "sell" from "neutral."
Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) agreed to acquire gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) in an all-cash deal valued at about $10.1 billion, the companies said Sunday. U.S. listed shares of Valeant gained 14.7 percent to $198.75 while Salix slipped 1.3 percent to $155.76.
About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 7 billion average for the month to date, according to BATS Global Markets.
NYSE decliners outnumbered advancers 1,539 to 1,506, for a 1.02-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,547 issues fell and 1,182 advanced, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 68 new 52-week highs and 1 low; the Nasdaq composite recorded 117 new highs and 39 lows.
-With additional reporting by Caroline Humer in New York.
What to watch Tuesday:
Standard & Poor's releases S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for December and the fourth quarter at 9 a.m. Eastern time.
At 10 a.m., the Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for February; and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.
These selected companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial statements:
Market Wrap: Nasdaq Gains Again; S&P, Dow Slip with Energy
After decades of accumulating enough money to retire, it can be psychologically and emotionally challenging to spend down that money and watch your nest egg get smaller each year. "They are going to feel like they spent a lifetime accumulating this pile, and the idea of spending this down is just repulsive to them," says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and co-author of "Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and What to Do About It." "For anyone who is retiring, I would give them permission to spend their money," she says.
Saving enough to retire is not your final goal. You should also develop a plan to make that money last the rest of your life. "You need to understand how you can minimize your risk in the portfolio, but you also need a component of that strategy that gives you growth because you need to stay ahead of inflation and taxes," says Laura Mattia, a certified financial planner and wealth management principal for Baron Financial Group in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
Social Security is a significant source of income for most retirees. Almost all retirees (86 percent) receive income from Social Security, and Social Security payments make up at least half of the retirement income of 65 percent of retirees and comprise 90 percent of retirement income for 36 percent of retirees. "Most seniors do not have much income other than Social Security," says Nancy Altman, co-director of the Strengthen Social Security coalition and co-author of "Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All." The average monthly retirement benefit was $1,282 in December 2014.
High medical care bills don't go away once you qualify for Medicare. Although Medicare covers a large amount of the medical treatments older people need, there are several popular services that it doesn't. For example, Medicare won't cover routine eye exams, eyeglass, dental care or hearing aids. And Medicare only covers up to 100 days in a nursing home. Retirees who require additional long-term care will need to find another way to pay for it. And while many preventive care services are covered by Medicare with no cost-sharing requirements, if something concerning is found, additional tests and procedures will be considered diagnostic, and copays and coinsurance are likely to apply. "You really need to understand what health benefits you can receive from Medicare and check how it will cover any ongoing health issues," says Christopher Rhim, a certified financial planner for Green View Advisors in Norwich, Vermont.
Without a job to go to every day, you could find yourself spending an increasing amount of time alone. Some 44 percent of Americans ages 65 and older live alone, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Unless you sign up for a volunteer position or make an effort to socialize on a regular basis, you could become bored and lonely.
If you outlive your spouse or divorce, you might find yourself single again in retirement. While just over half (55 percent) of Americans age 65 and older are married, the rest are widowed (28 percent), divorced (12 percent), separated (1 percent) or never married (5 percent), according to census data. Some of these single seniors begin meeting new people and dating. There are a variety of online dating services that cater to people over 50.
As attractive as it sounds to move to the Sunbelt, most retirees don't relocate for retirement. Only 5.7 percent of Americans age 65 and older moved to a new residence between 2009 and 2013, and the people who do move most often relocate to the same state and even the same county, the Census Bureau found. Only 1 percent of retirees moved to a new state, and just 0.3 percent went overseas. Relocating to a new community in retirement often means leaving behind family and a support system that can be difficult to rebuild in a new place.
While the act of aging is an expected part of retirement, the loss of independence typically isn't as welcome. There may come a time when you can't drive, shovel your own walkway or climb on a chair to change a light bulb. You may even eventually need help with meals and bathing. Although the beginning of retirement is often full of fun and adventures, it's also a good time to make contingency plans for later down the road when you might not be able to care for yourself.
Retirees spend over half of their leisure time watching TV. Seniors ages 65 to 74 tune in for 3.92 hours on weekdays, and those 75 and older watch TV for an average of 4.15 hours each day, according to the 2013 American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Compared to the overall population, retirees ages 65 to 74 spend extra time lingering over meals, working on home improvement or garden projects and shopping, the American Time Use Survey found. Retirees also spend more time reading, relaxing and volunteering than younger folks.