Stocks moved higher on Monday. They also moved lower. Then, they reversed course once again.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) was up by triple-digits in the early going, then sank into negative territory by early afternoon, then rallied once again -- ending the day up 87 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 6, but the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 1 point.
Many of the Nasdaq's momentum stocks, which tumbled on Friday, continued to lose ground, but did end above their worst levels of the day.
Netflix (NFLX) fell 2½ percent as Microsoft (MSFT) said it will begin to produce original programming for its Xbox customers. Netflix shares have lost nearly a third of their value since peaking at the beginning of March.
Amazon (AMZN) fell 2 percent, Facebook (FB) fell 3 percent, and LinkedIn (LNKD) lost 6½ percent.
Priceline (PCLN) fell another 1½ percent, and a broad group of travel and leisure stocks followed suit. Casino operators Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) both lost more than 3 percent. Hotel operators Marriott (MAR) fell 2 percent and Starwood (HOT) fell 1 percent. The vacation rental firm HomeAway (AWAY) fell 2 percent.
Elsewhere, Bank of America (BAC) dropped more than 6 percent because of a big accounting error in filings with the Federal Reserve. As a result of the mistake, the company is suspending its stock buyback and dividend increase.
Under Armour (UA) fell 3½ percent. It was announced last week that the stock is being added to the S&P 500. Usually that sparks a round of buying, but over the past week, the stock is down 12 percent.
The one bright spot for the market was a series of acquisitions and takeover offers.
Pfizer (PFE) gained 4 percent after renewing its bid for AstraZeneca (AZN), which jumped 12 percent. A deal could be worth more than $100 billion.
Furiex Pharmaceutials (FURX) surged 29 percent after agreeing to be bought by Forest Labs (FRX), which was slightly lower on the day.
Susser Holdings (SUSS) rallied 36 percent as the operator of convenience stores agreed to be acquired by Energy Trust Partners.
But Newmont Mining (NEM) fell nearly 7 percent. It ended talks with Barrick Gold (ABX), which lost 3 percent.
I'm Karina Huber with the Daily Finance After Market report. What to Watch Tuesday:
Standard & Poor's releases the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for February at 9 a.m. Eastern time.
The Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for April at 10 a.m.
Federal Reserve policymakers begin two-day meeting on interest rates.
The following major companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:
After Market: A Volatile Roller Coaster Ride on Wall Street
"Your daily habits and routines are the reason you got into this mess," writes Trent Hamm, founder of TheSimpleDollar.com. "Spend some time thinking about how you spend money each day, each week and each month." Do you really need your daily latte? Can you bring your lunch to work instead of buying it four times a week? Ask yourself: What can I change without sacrificing my lifestyle too much?
Remove all credit cards from your wallet and leave them at home when you go shopping, advises WiseBread contributor Sabah Karimi. “Even if you earn cash back or other rewards with credit card purchases, stop spending with your credit cards until you have your finances under control,” she writes.
If you do a lot of online shopping at one retailer, you may have stored your credit card information on the site to make the checkout process easier. But that also makes it easier to charge items you don't need. So clear that information. "If you’re paying for a recurring service, use a debit card issued from a major credit card service linked to your checking account," Hamm writes.
Reward yourself when you reach debt payoff goals. "The only way to completely pay off your credit card debt is to keep at it, and to do that, you must keep yourself motivated," Bakke writes. Just make sure to reward yourself within reason. For example, instead of a weeklong vacation, plan a weekend camping trip. "If you aim to reduce your credit card debt from $10,000 to $5,000 in two months," Bakke writes, "give yourself more than a pat on the back."
“Establish a budget,” writes Money Crashers contributor David Bakke. “If you don't scale back your spending, you'll dig yourself into a deeper hole." You can use personal finance tools like Mint.com, or make your own Excel spreadsheet that includes your monthly income and expenses. Then scrutinize those budget categories to see where you can cut costs.
Sort your credit card interest rates from highest to lowest, then tackle the card with the highest rate first. "By paying off the balance with the highest interest first, you increase your payment on the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate while continuing to make the minimum payment on the rest of your credit cards," writes Mint.com spokeswoman Hitha Prabhakar.
To make a dent in your debt, you need to pay more than the minimum balance on your credit card statements each month. "Paying the minimum -– usually 2 to 3 percent of the outstanding balance -– only prolongs a debt payoff strategy," Prabhakar writes. "Strengthen your commitment to pay everything off by making weekly, instead of monthly, payments." Or if your minimum payment is $100, try doubling it and paying off $200 or more.
If you have a high-interest card with a balance that you’re confident you can pay off in a few months, Hamm recommends moving the debt to a card that offers a zero-interest balance transfer. "You’ll need to pay off the debt before the balance transfer expires, or else you’re often hit with a much higher interest rate," he warns. "If you do it carefully, you can save hundreds on interest this way."
Have any birthday gifts or old wedding presents collecting dust in your closet? Look for items you can sell on eBay or Craigslist. "Do some research to make sure you list these items at a fair and reasonable price," Karimi writes. “Take quality photos, and write an attention-grabbing headline and description to sell the item as quickly as possible." Any profits from sales should go toward your debt.
If you receive a job bonus around the holidays or during the year, allocate that money toward your debt payoff plan. "Avoid the temptation to spend that bonus on a vacation or other luxury purchase," Karimi writes. It’s more important to fix your financial situation than own the latest designer bag.