After Market: Hiring Rises, Airlines Descend and Stocks Fly Level

Stocks were mostly treading water Wednesday despite a surprisingly strong report on private sector hiring, but airline shares went into free-fall. Hiring grew as the private sector added 281,000 in June, according to ADP. That was much higher than expected, but not enough to really boost the markets ahead of Thursday's federal jobs report, which covers a wider swath of the economy.

Still, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) closed 20 points higher, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was up 1 point, but the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) was down almost 1 point. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 again reached new record highs.

Airline shares tanked after Delta Airlines (DAL) reported that excess capacity on some of its international routes had caused it to cut fares in June. Good news for travelers -- not so good for shareholders. Delta was down 5 percent, United Continental (UAL) fell 7 percent, Jetblue (JBLU) lost 2 percent, and Southwest (LUV) was lower by 1 percent.

GoPro (GPRO) also finally headed south after 4 winning sessions. Shares were off by almost 14 percent. But since going public last Thursday shares are up 55 percent.

Tesla (TSLA) couldn't gain any traction on Wednesday either. Shares were down 4 percent after it revealed that it sold fewer cars in Norway, one of its top markets in Europe. Tesla is still up more than 51 percent year to date.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Google (GOOG) was also slightly lower after announcing it was buying radio streaming service Songza for an undisclosed sum.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) fell 1 percent. CEO Jamie Dimon announced he has been diagnosed with early stage throat cancer but will continue to run the bank during his treatment. Rival Bank of America (BAC) gained 1.5 percent on the day thanks to an upgrade from Deutsche Bank.

Other top upward movers on the day were:
  • Shutterfly (SFLY), up almost 15 percent. Rumor has it that it's looking for a buyer.
  • Rackspace Hosting (RAX), which works in the cloud space, also rallied on reports it was in talks to go private.
  • And Constellation Brands (STZ), which distributes Corona and Svedka Vodka gained more than 2 percent after topping earnings results.

U.S. markets have a half-day on Thursday, closing at 1 p.m., and they're closed Friday for Independence Day. The After Market and Money Minute reports are taking both days off, but will be back on Monday. Until then, you can still get your fix of business news on DailyFinance.

-Produced by Karina Huber.

What to Watch Thursday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims and employment data for June, and the Commerce Department releases international trade data for May.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, 10 a.m., and the Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for June.
The 7 Best Things to Buy in July
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After Market: Hiring Rises, Airlines Descend and Stocks Fly Level
It's time to hit the thrift stores, consignment shops and furniture outlets. Now that most people have done their spring cleaning and renovating, their used furniture is on the market. That means a hefty supply, plus low prices since stores only have so much space. You can also find discounted new furniture in July, because the next year's models arrive in stores in early August. Don't be afraid to try to negotiate on prices. It often works.
Electronics -- computers and tablets specifically -- see decreases in price starting in early July. These prices continue to drop as the school year gets closer, and best way to stay on top of the hottest deals is to sign up for e-newsletters from retailers. Remember to take advantage of company and educational discounts that may be available to you, and to negotiate for free or discounted accessories.
Bottled water goes on sale throughout July as a lure to get you into stores. it also gets purchased more frequently throughout the summer -- the natural result of barbecue and picnic season, when people entertain and spend more time outdoors. So if you drink bottled water year-round, stock up now.
If you can manage, hold off purchasing your new grill until after the Fourth of July, when mark-downs approach 50 percent off. This applies to grilling accessories, too, including grill baskets and utensils. Also, check consignment shops and thrift stores. Many people buy new grills for the Fourth of July and donate or sell their old ones.
Speaking of grilling, among the hottest buys during July are condiments for burgers and hot dogs: mustard, ketchup, relish, sour cream, sauerkraut, mayonnaise and pickles, etc. Buy in bulk, and pair in-store specials with coupons for super-low prices on these summer must-haves.
If you're in the market for a sweet new pair of jeans, July is the best time to buy them. Few people buy jeans during one of the hottest months of the year, so retailers put them on sale to move them. Stores also get new jeans in the late summer in anticipation of fall shopping season, so they're eager to sell old ones to make room for new duds.
Formal suits are also seldom purchased during the middle of summer. Consequently, many suit retailers will hold sales to keep business moving. If you have an upcoming formal wedding to attend -- or if you simply need new suits for work and special occasions -- July is the best time to buy.
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