Stocks rose Monday to kick off the final trading week of August, boosted by gains in tech. Tech favorite Tesla added 2.1% in premarket trading, while shares of the electric vehicle maker have slumped overall about 11% in August. Those moves come as tech tries to regain its footing late in August. The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) is so far the second-worst performing sector of 11 peers, trailing only materials.But a second-consecutive blowout earnings report from chipmaker Nvidia may be turning the tide. Shares of 3M popped more than 6% after a Bloomberg News report that the company was ready to settle lawsuits alleging some earplugs were faulty. Stocks are coming off a winning session following fresh remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained or 0.7% on Friday but finished the week 0.45% lower. The S&P 500 added about 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced about 0.9%. The latter indexes notched their first winning week in four. Speaking Friday at the annual central bank conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell pointed to some signs of continued economic growth and strong consumer spending, but indicated that the central bank would “proceed carefully” with additional hikes. “Although inflation has moved down from its peak — a welcome development — it remains too high,” Powell said in prepared remarks. “We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving sustainably down toward our objective.” As of Monday morning, traders were pricing in a nearly 20% chance that the Fed will hike rates again at its upcoming September meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. The Dow and S&P have slumped 3.4% and 4%, respectively, since the start of the month, while the Nasdaq lost about 5.3%. Investors will weigh the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the personal consumption expenditure index, out on Thursday. Wall Street will then turn its attention to a fresh non-farm payroll report on Friday. Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong stocks led gains in the region, as Asia-Pacific markets started the final trading week of August higher. Chinese authorities trimmed the stamp duty on stock trades, effective Monday. The finance ministry said the move was meant to “invigorate the capital market and boost investor confidence.” The benchmark CSI 300 surged 1.17%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 0.95%, led by consumer cyclicals and health-care stocks. Shares of the world’s most indebted property developer China Evergrande Group tumbled 87% as trade resumed after 17 months. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 1.73% to end at 32,169.99 while the Topix was up 1.47%, closing at 2,299.81. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.96% to 2,543.41, while the Kosdaq advanced 1.11% to 909.38. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.63% to close at 7,159.8 after the country’s retail sales climbed 0.5% month on month, higher than the 0.3% expected by economists polled by Reuters. Oil was little changed on Monday after China took steps to bolster its flagging economy, though investors remained worried about the pace of growth as well as further U.S. interest rate hikes that could dampen demand. China halved stamp duty on stock trading in its latest attempt to boost struggling markets. The market is also keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Idalia and any risk it poses to oil and gas output in the U.S. Gulf. Brent crude slipped 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $84.33, with an earlier rally fizzling out just short of the $85 mark. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 5 cents to $79.88. Gold held its ground on Monday as investors digested hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell before a slew of U.S. economic data this week that is expected to shed light on inflation and the labor market. Spot gold was steady at $1,914.59 per ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.1% to $1,942.10.
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