More records fell on Wall Street Tuesday, but there are still lots of doubters about the market. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose for a fifth straight day, grabbing its second-straight record high along the way. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) briefly topped 1,900 for the first time, and the Dow Transports also set a new high.
Despite the records, or maybe because of them, many investors are worried the market is due for a correction.
Good news about business inventories and small business sentiment was offset by a disappointing increase in retail sales last month. The Dow gained 20 points, the S&P 500 edged slightly higher, but the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell 13 points.
There were no big mergers announced Tuesday, but there was plenty of talk about deals that could happen. Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) rose 7½ percent on news that Coca-Cola (KO) had boosted its stake in the single cup coffee maker. That prompted speculation that Coke could eventually buy the company outright.
Allergan (AGN) gained another 1 percent after Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) said it plans to increase its hostile takeover offer.
But DirecTV (DTV) fell more than 1 percent despite reports that AT&T (T) is preparing a bid for nearly $50 billion. DirecTV shares have jumped 34 percent over the past six months.
Some homebuilders gained ground after the new head of the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said they should focus on making more credit available to potential homebuyers. D.R. Horton (DHI) gained 2 percent, while Lennar (LEN), Pulte (PHM) and KBHome (KBH) all gained about 1 percent.
Most of the big name Internet and social media stocks traded in a fairly narrow range for a change, even though LinkedIn (LNKD) fell 3 percent.
On the earnings front, the web hosting company Rackspace (RAX) jumped 8½ percent after beating expectations.
Drug wholesaler McKesson (MCK) gained more than 3 percent as both net and revenue jumped.
But cosmetics maker Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) tumbled 22 percent after posting an unexpected loss.
And DXP Enterprises (DXPE), which does maintenance and repairs for industrial companies, could use some repairs of its own. It slid 39 percent as both net and revenue fell short of expectations.
What to Watch Wednesday:
The Mortgage Bankers Association releases weekly mortgage applications at 7 a.m. Eastern time.
The Labor Department releases its Producer Price Index for April at 8:30 a.m.
The National Association of Home Builders releases its housing index for May at 10 a.m.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements:
After Market: Another Record Day; S&P Tops 1,900 for First Time
"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.