By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK — The Nasdaq ended higher Monday for a ninth straight day following gains in Apple, while the Dow and SP 500 eased off recent record highs as lower oil prices dragged down energy shares.
Nasdaq’s winning run was its longest since September 2010, putting the index closer to its 5,132.52 all-time intraday high, reached in March 2000 just before the dot-com bubble burst. Giving Nasdaq its biggest boost were shares of Apple (AAPL), which rose 2.7 percent to $133, another record close.
Oil prices fell, with WTI crude off 2.7 percent at $49.45 a barrel on oversupply concerns and a stronger dollar, pushing the SP energy index down 0.4 percent.
The PHLX housing sector index was off 0.5 percent after existing home sales fell to their lowest in nine months in January.
Investors were also reluctant to make big bets before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semiannual testimony this week before the Senate Banking Committee, which will be closely watched for any indications on the timing of an interest rate hike.
That is always a potentially big market mover, said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BBT Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
“We had some disappointing housing data this morning, and oil prices were lower,” which were enough to dampen sentiment, he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 23.6 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,116.84, the Standard Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 0.64 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,109.66 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC)
added 5.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,960.97.
The Dow and SP 500 eased off record highs from late last week, when a conditional agreement was reached by eurozone finance ministers to extend Greece’s bailout.
Health Shares Rise
Insurer stocks gained after the government proposed late Friday to make only a small cut in payments to Medicare plans, a reversal from the much larger cuts in recent years. The announcement was more clearly presented this year than in previous years, analysts said, giving investors more certainty that the worst was behind for this program.
Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) agreed to acquire gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) in an all-cash deal valued at about $10.1 billion, the companies said Sunday. U.S. listed shares of Valeant gained 14.7 percent to $198.75 while Salix slipped 1.3 percent to $155.76.
About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 7 billion average for the month to date, according to BATS Global Markets.
NYSE decliners outnumbered advancers 1,539 to 1,506, for a 1.02-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,547 issues fell and 1,182 advanced, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The SP 500 posted 68 new 52-week highs and 1 low; the Nasdaq composite recorded 117 new highs and 39 lows.
–With additional reporting by Caroline Humer in New York.
What to watch Tuesday:
- Standard Poor’s releases SP/Case-Shiller index of home prices for December and the fourth quarter at 9 a.m. Eastern time.
- At 10 a.m., the Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for February; and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.
These selected companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial statements:
- Boston Beer Co. (SAM)
- Comcast (CMCSA)(CMCSK)
- Domino’s Pizza (DPZ)
- First Solar (FSLR)
- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)
- Home Depot (HD)
- Macy’s (M)
- Office Depot (ODP)
- Pinnacle Foods (PF)
- Toll Brothers (TOL)
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX)
High medical care bills don’t go away once you qualify for Medicare. Although Medicare covers a large amount of the medical treatments older people need, there are several popular services that it doesn’t. For example, Medicare won’t cover routine eye exams, eyeglass, dental care or hearing aids. And Medicare only covers up to 100 days in a nursing home. Retirees who require additional long-term care will need to find another way to pay for it. And while many preventive care services are covered by Medicare with no cost-sharing requirements, if something concerning is found, additional tests and procedures will be considered diagnostic, and copays and coinsurance are likely to apply. “You really need to understand what health benefits you can receive from Medicare and check how it will cover any ongoing health issues,” says Christopher Rhim, a certified financial planner for Green View Advisors in Norwich, Vermont.
4. Medicare doesn’t cover everything