After Market: Social Media Takes a Hit on a Quiet Trading Day

Social networking stocks were among the best gainers this year, but they were also the big losers on Monday. Twitter (TWTR), which was hammered on Friday following a 'sell' recommendation, continued to lose ground. It fell another 5 percent. That dragged down some other social networking giants. Facebook (FB) and Groupon (GRPN) both fell 3 percent.

And the biotech firm Myriad Genetics (MYGN) was clobbered. Shares fell 14 percent after Medicare and Medicaid said they will slash the reimbursement rate for the company's BRCA test to detect genes linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. That prompted a flurry of analyst downgrades.

Overall, the major averages held within a very narrow range on this penultimate day of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 26 points, closing at another record high. But the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) slipped less than a point, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) fell 2 points.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%As you know, this has been a great year for investors –- the best since the late 1990s. Heading into the final trading day of 2013, the Dow is up nearly 26 percent, the S&P has rallied 29 percent and the Nasdaq is the biggest winner, soaring nearly 38 percent.

Among blue chip stocks, Boeing (BA) was the top gainer among the 30 stocks in the Dow Industrials -- up 80 percent this year. That's despite losing nearly 1 percent today.

The only stock in the Dow 30 that's in the red for the year is IBM (IBM), down about 3 percent.

Walt Disney (DIS) led the Dow's advance today, gaining about 2.5 percent.

Elsewhere, Crocs (CROX) jumped 21 percent after the giant money management firm Blackstone said it will invest $200 million in the maker of plastic clogs.

Trina Solar (TSL) gained 6.5 percent. The company signed an agreement to build a solar power project in Western China.

Cooper Tire (CTB) rose 5 percent despite calling off an agreement to be acquired by an Indian company.
And then there's WPCS International (WPCS). It soared on Friday after releasing a trading platform for bitcoins, but it tumbled 22 percent today as its auditor resigned.

The morning Money Minute and afternoon After Market reports will be on a brief New Year's hiatus. They will return on Thursday.

What to Watch Tuesday:
  • Standard & Poor's releases S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for October, 9 a.m.;
  • The Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for December, 10 a.m.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

8 Foolproof Ways to Grow Your Savings
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After Market: Social Media Takes a Hit on a Quiet Trading Day

This is my personal favorite! Think of yourself as a regular monthly bill you have to pay. All you have to do is arrange to have a set amount of money directly deposited from your paycheck into a savings account each month.

I recommend using a separate savings account because if you have access to your funds in your checking account, you're more likely to spend them. Again, it might hurt a bit at first to take home a little less every month, but trust me, after a while you won't even notice it's gone. Here's a moment when the "set it and forget it" strategy works wonders.

It feels great to be rewarded for your hard work. And it feels even better to spend that hard-earned bonus on something you’ll enjoy, like a trip to France or an iPad. At the same time, the pleasure of a vacation or new gadget is short-lived compared to financial security.

So make a pact with yourself to put every bonus you get from here on out to good use. If you direct 90 percent of your bonuses straight into your savings account as a rule, you’ll still have 10 percent to treat yourself with (plus the comfort of knowing that you're building a well-earned safety net). I live by this rule.

OK, OK, this seems like an obvious one -- and easier said than done. Actually, most people spend money on more unnecessary items than they think. So take time to look at where your money is going in detail and begin to cut back. Saving $10 here and there could help you put a lot away in the long run.
Many banks offer seasonal accounts meant to save for holidays like Christmas. These accounts give you reduced access to your accounts, charging a hefty penalty each time you withdraw more than permitted. Since emergencies don't occur often, a seasonal account could make sure you're touching it only when needed (just make sure you're not tempted to blow it all on Christmas gifts).
I love this one. Chalk it up to my massive craving for organization, but I'm all about getting rid of things I no longer use. Rather than throwing these unused goods away, start selling them, and put that money into your emergency fund. All you need to do is post them to a site like eBay or Craigslist or Amazon and you can get rid of items from the comfort of your home. You can also take your clothes to a consignment shop to have them sold for you.
Instead of saving your pennies, put aside any $5 bills that come your way. Never spend a $5 bill again, and you'll be surprised by how quickly this silly trick will help you come up with a few hundred dollars to add to an emergency fund.
You could pick up odd jobs via websites like,,, or
If you get a cash-back reward for any spending on your credit card, just make it a rule that those dollars will be dedicated to your freedom fund. It may only add up to $100 extra each year, depending on your spending, but every little bit counts.

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