Markets

Stock Market Today: Rally Slows, But Nasdaq Resets the Ceiling Again

Nasdaq advances, but Dow and S&P 500 take small steps back

The market's red-hot run lost some steam on a relatively calm Tuesday that added little to the economic-rebound narrative.

Labor Department data from April showed that 7.7 million people were laid off in the month, down from 11.5 million in March; however, hiring cooled to record lows, and April job openings declined to 5 million from 6 million the month before.

Most of the Dow's components finished in the red as the industrial average snapped its six-day win streak with a 1.1% decline to 27,272. But the Nasdaq set fresh all-time highs for the second consecutive day, gaining 0.3% to 9,953, led by big moves in large components Apple (AAPL, +3.2%), Amazon.com (AMZN, +3.0%) and Facebook (FB, +3.1%).

Speculators emboldened by the market's recent rally received a sharp warning today. As we mentioned in our A Step Ahead e-letter, several companies that have filed for bankruptcy recently (or warned that they might) have doubled in share price over the past few weeks, but they fell back to earth today – Hertz Global (HTZ) plunged 24.4%, Whiting Petroleum (WLL) crashed by 32.5% and Chesapeake Energy (CHK) collapsed by 66.0% after its trading was halted for three hours.

Just remember: There's nothing wrong with a little speculation, but stocks like these can wipe out shareholders overnight.

If you do want to take on a bit more risk, consider more realistic growth scenarios where the research points to real potential. These 11 small-cap stocks, for instance, have plenty of analyst support – so, too, do these 14 under-the-radar tech plays.

But if you're simply looking to build wealth over time, you want to start from a place of strength. Big, burly blue chips with strong liquidity aren't just less of a bankruptcy risk in the worst-case scenario of a prolonged recession – they also have the most flexibility to go on the offensive as soon as economic conditions are right. Here are 25 such stocks to start digging into.

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