Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks finished lower Tuesday, a day after the S&P and Dow hit records, and the Nasdaq retreated along with technology stocks.

Soft auto sales numbers and Iran commentary also gave some investors pause after a strong run-up for major indexes in February. Traders were also waiting for a slew of economic data later this week, culminating with the monthly payrolls report.

We just came a little too far fast. It made sense to have little bit of a pullback here.

“We just came a little too far fast. It made sense to have little bit of a pullback here,” said Brian Lazorishak, portfolio manager at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Given the level of optimism, the overbought condition, we wouldn’t be surprised to see at least a couple of days of consolidation,” he said.

Technology stocks fell as investors took profits a day after the Nasdaq hit the 5,000 milestone for the first time since the peak of the bubble in March 2000.

Microsoft (MSFT) weighed most on the Nasdaq and S&P 500 with an 1.4 percent drop to $43.28, followed by a 2.2 percent decline in shares of Cisco Systems (CSCO), which gave back most of Monday’s gains.

Semiconductor chips were some of the worst-hit, with the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index closing off 1.94 percent after a February gain of more than 12 percent. The S&P 500 technology sector finished down 0.8 percent

The biggest percentage decliners in the S&P 500 were Micron Technology (MU), down 5 percent to $29.66, and Applied Materials (AMAT), which fell 4.5 percent to $24.48.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 85.26 points, or 0.47 percent, to 18,203.37, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 9.61 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,107.78 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 28.20 points, or 0.56 percent, to 4,979.90.

Weather-Impacted Auto Sales

For the second year in a row, tough winter weather slowed U.S. vehicle sales in February, with several automakers missing analyst projections. U.S.-listed Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) shares fell 3.3 percent to $15.31 while Ford Motor (F) declined 2.4 percent to $16.17.

Adding to investors’ caution, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President Barack Obama against accepting a nuclear deal with Iran. His comments caused some investors to pull back but helped boost oil prices.

Utilities and energy were the only two of 10 S&P 500 sectors that ended the session higher.

About 6.3 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.5 billion average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,810 to 1,249, for a 1.45-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,784 issues fell and 948 advanced, for a 1.88-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 70 new highs and 32 new lows.


What to watch Wednesday:

The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for February at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
The Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book survey of regional economic conditions at 2 p.m.

While everyone’s heading to Cancun and the Caymans, you can enjoy an equally relaxing and beautiful vacation for less by choosing a destination that isn’t quite so popular.

Off-the-beaten-path destinations like Roatan, Honduras (pictured), Tobago and Grenada offer sandy beaches and plenty of sun at a more affordable cost than traditional hotspots. If you’re really in the mood for something different, find a city on the map you’ve always been curious about and head to Airbnb to snag discount accommodations there. Airbnb rentals aren’t just rooms in people’s houses; you can also rent a yurt, a modern loft, a houseboat, a beach house and more.
1. Vacation off the beaten path

Enjoy the finer things in life for less than sticker price by learning to be a savvy shopper.

Sites like Groupon (GRPN), Amazon Local (AMZN) and Scoutmob can help you score great deals on upscale restaurants, travel packages, spa treatments and more. Daily deals sites like Rue La La and Gilt can help you snag luxury and designer goods (clothing, furniture and more) at a fraction of the cost.

Learn to scope out a good deal and make use of discounts, and you can live like a million bucks for as much as half-price.
2. Never pay full price

In the market for a new car? If you want to splurge a little and get a set of wheels that gets you noticed, consider buying a gently used, preowned vehicle. According to, you can get a used luxury car for $30,000 or less — the equivalent of buying a new middle-of-the-line four-door sedan.

No one needs to know your "new-to-you" Acura isn’t  new; all they’ll know is you’ve got an Acura.
‚Äč3. Buy a preowned car

Gourmet coffee, fresh flowers for your kitchen table, luxury shampoo and shower gel — sometimes the small things can make a big difference in how much we enjoy our day and how pampered we feel. Identify the little things that mean a lot to you and treat yourself with these tiny splurges on a regular basis, while simultaneously cutting costs on big-ticket items like housing and cars. You’d be surprised how much these small treats can boost your mood.
4. Splurge on small luxuries

Move to a city with a lower cost of living — or move from a fancy ZIP code to a more modest neighborhood — and you can get a bigger, nicer-quality home for the same price.

That said, "bigger" isn’t always "better." Don’t buy more home than you need; rather, focus on getting the best home  your needs. For instance, you may find you love a modern and updated two-bedroom condo in a nice building much more than you enjoy owning a four-bedroom single-family house that you have to maintain yourself. Or you may discover the opposite. The key is to buy a home that suits you – not the home that society says you should own at a particular stage of life.
5. Get more home for your money

Stock your closet with high-quality, well-constructed staples that will last you year after year and won’t fall out of style. Think: a white button-down shirt, a dark pair of dress pants, a flattering pair of dark wash jeans, a classic coat like a pea coat or trench coat. (Notice that these recommendations apply to both men and women.)

These foundational pieces can be used to create a wide variety of outfits, and you can keep your look current by updating it each year with a few select accessories like scarves. It’s much less expensive than revamping your whole closet each season to stay on top of the trends.
6. Build a renewable wardrobe

Quit Your Job, Travel, and Live Remarkably
Stop Crying That There Are No Jobs. Create One.
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