Tuesday August 31st


Stock futures fall slightly as the S&P 500 looks to wrap up its 7th winning month in a row

U.S. stock index futures slipped on Tuesday as the S&P 500 looks to wrap up its seventh straight month of gains at a record high. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 43 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures were down by roughly 0.2%, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 0.2%. The S&P 500 notched its 53rd record close of 2021 on Monday. Tuesday marks the last trading day of August, and major averages are poised to post solid gains for the period. The S&P 500 is up 3% this month, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has climbed 4%, on pace to post its third winning month in a row. The blue-chip Dow is up a more modest 1.3%. For the S&P 500, it will be its longest winning streak since a 10-month run ending in December 2017. This is also the benchmark’s 9th positive month in the last 10. “We believe that the momentum toward reopening and recovery is intact and that there is further upside to equities,” wrote Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of global wealth management at UBS, in a note. “The S&P 500 rally is underpinned by robust earnings growth...With the economic recovery broadening, we expect cyclical sectors, including energy and financials, to take the lead.“ Haefele sees the S&P 500 rising another 1.6% from here to 4,600 by year-end and then running to 5,000 by the end of 2022. The S&P 500 managed to climb up a wall of worry to record highs without even a 5% pullback this year. The broad equity benchmark has rallied more than 20% in 2021 and has more than doubled since its pandemic low in March 2020. Stellar corporate earnings have provided valuation support and the basis for stock prices to march higher. With the second-quarter reporting season winding down, the S&P 500 is on track to post an earnings growth rate of 95.4%, which would be the largest increase since the fourth quarter of 2009. “We believe we’re still in the early innings of the cycle and that strong economic and earnings growth and relatively low rates through 2022 should support higher equity prices and sustain the bull market,” Wells Fargo strategists said in a note. Zoom shares fell about 10% in premarket trading on Monday after the video-conferencing software company showed slowing revenue growth in the second quarter. The drop in shares came even as Zoom’s earnings beat estimates and the company raised full-year guidance as the pandemic took a turn for the worse. Investors are awaiting a key jobs report on Friday ahead of the Labor Day weekend. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 750,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%. On the political front, the Pentagon said the U.S. has finished its evacuation efforts from Kabul’s airport, effectively ending America’s longest war. Overseas, China’s non-manufacturing PMI for August came in at 47.5, signaling a contraction for the first time since early 2020. Meanwhile, euro zone inflation hit a 10-year high.  Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday, as data showed slowing Chinese factory activity growth in August. In mainland China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.45% to close at 3,543.94 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.659% on the day to 14,328.38. Hong Kong’s broader Hang Seng index rose 1.33% to close at 25,878.99. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.08% to close at 28,089.54 while the Topix index advanced 0.54% to finish the trading day at 1,960.70. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.75% to close at 3,199.27. Oil edged higher on Monday, but remained below session highs as Hurricane Ida weakened to tropical storm status after forcing shutdowns of U.S. Gulf oil production, and OPEC+ looked set to go ahead with a planned oil output increase. Brent crude rose 54 cents a barrel, or 0.74% to 73.23 by 1:44 p.m. ET (1744 GMT). The session high was $73.69, the highest since Aug. 2. U.S. crude rose 34 cents, or 0.548% to $69.08 a barrel. The session high was $69.64, the highest since Aug. 6. Gold prices rose back towards the previous session’s four-week high on Tuesday, supported by a weaker dollar and a fall in U.S. Treasury yields, as investors awaited August U.S. non-farm payrolls data due later this week. Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,815.11 per ounce by 0848 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 4 on Monday at $1,822.92. U.S. gold futures U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,817.20.