Market Wrap-Up for Aug.28 (PVH, MOV, HNZ, PSX, KLAC, FDX, more)


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It's "data divergence" day once again. On one hand, home sales prices in 20 US cities climbed in June from a year earlier, the first gain in almost two years. On the other hand, consumer confidence tumbled to its lowest level this year. The markets greeted today's contradictory data with a ho-hum feel, as the indices did a push-pull for much of the day.

Earnings results from the likes of PVH Corp ( PVH ) and Movado Group ( MOV ) pleased investors early on, and we also had buying going on in shares of H.J. Heinz ( HNZ ), which guided higher this morning . Positive Wall Street analyst commentary boosted stocks like Phillips 66 ( PSX ) while an analyst sell call had shares of semiconductor equipment giant KLA-Tencor ( KLAC ) ending in the red. The heavily-watched transports sector continues to stagnate as higher oil prices are putting pressure on the group, including stocks like FedEx ( FDX ) and United Parcel Service ( UPS ).

Avoiding the ATM (For Now)

I received an interesting text message from my teenage daughter the other day. While at work, she mentioned she'd forgotten her lunch money at home. She asked if she could go to the ATM machine to withdraw money (she just recently opened her first bank account and has never used an ATM before).

I know the inevitable day will come where she'll need to use an ATM for an unexpected emergency, or simply when she is not carrying enough money to cover an underestimated expense. Still, I'd like her to avoid that process for as long as possible, so my solution was to ask her manager for a same-day loan, which she would pay back when my wife picked her up from work later in the day. She followed my advice and the trip to the ATM was avoided.

You see, I want my daughter to think about her day a bit more carefully. She should not be simply running out of the house without considering what she might need that day, money-wise. This process is part of establishing a daily budget for herself, even when she goes back to school next week. Also, the ease at which you can use credit cards or ATM machines tends to lead to one taking out a bit more money than would otherwise be the case.

With college soon approaching, I want my daughter to be cognizant of common money mistakes. Focusing her spending power on monthly necessities and avoiding splurging on extras is a good habit to get into. A bit of sacrifice early on will get you into a good mindset to eventually looking to pay yourself as part of your monthly expenses. Now that I have my personal finance hat on, let me add some other points to consider affecting most families today.

For most people, the biggest aim should be to get any high-interest payments off your plate before doing anything else. So, if you're sitting with credit card debt, for example, I'd attack that area first. Once you have that dragon slayed, I'd consider building an emergency fund for 6-12 months of expenses in case of any job losses, etc. Keep that money in a high-yielding money market account (not that any accounts offer actual attractive yields these days) so you can access it very quickly. Your next priority should be saving for retirement and/or college - these two options are equally important.

Again, the most important thing is to get your high-interest debt off the table first and foremost. That process will help get put money on offense, not on defense. From that point on, you can begin to gain some serious ground when it comes to accumulating assets that produce income.

Income, Income, Income

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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