Stocks surrendered early gains to end mixed, and shares of the luxury carmaker Tesla hit a big pothole.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 32 points. They briefly topped the record high set last week before retreating. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) slipped 2 points, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell 16 points.
Many of the volatile Internet stocks steadied today. Google (GOOG) edged higher, Amazon.com (AMZN) fell 1.5 percent and Twitter gained back 4 percent after Morgan Stanley (MS) upped its rating on the stock to "neutral."
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) may need a tune-up after dropping 11 percent. The company posted a quarterly loss and warned that costs will continue to rise for new vehicle development and its planned battery factory. Telsa shares are well off their high, but have still more than tripled in price over the past year.
Elon Musk is the founder and chairman of Tesla. One of his other companies is SolarCity (SCTY), which fared much better. It gained 12 percent despite posting a loss.
Coffee-roaster Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) was also hot, jumping 13 percent. It beat earnings expectations and expanded a partnership agreement with J.M. Smucker (SJM), owner of the Folger's brand. This is another stock that's been a standout gainer over the past year, up 74 percent.
Also higher on earnings news, 21st Century Fox (FOXA) gained 6.5 percent, helped by the broadcast of the Super Bowl in February. And the online real estate firm Zillow (Z) rose 4 percent after topping expectations.
On the downside:
Dish Networks (DISH) fell 4 percent as net fell from a year ago;
Caesars Entertainment (CZR) fell 6.5 percent as its loss widened. The casino company has not posted a profit since 2009.
Dean Foods (DF) lost 5 percent after posting a loss;
Gulfport Energy (GPOR) slid 19 percent after falling short of expectations.
Elsewhere, Ford (F) rose more than 2 percent after saying it plans to buy back up to $1.8 billion of its stock.
Costco (COST) led retailers, rising 2.5 percent on a solid sales gain in April. L Brands (LB) gained nearly 5 percent, and Zumiez (ZUMZ) zoomed ahead by 11 percent.
Among airline stocks, United Airlines (UAL) rose 1 percent and American Airlines (AAL) gained 2.5 percent.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.
What to Watch Friday:
At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for March, and the Labor Department releases its job openings and labor turnover survey for March.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results.
After Market: Blue Chips Rise But Most Stocks End Lower
"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.