The S&P 500 rose slightly on Wednesday, led by technology stocks after the broad equity benchmark posted a seven-month winning streak in August.
The large cap index rose 0.2% to start trading in September. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7% to hit a new intraday record high, thanks to a 2% rise in Apple stock to an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 45 points.
The most important averages all finished higher in August. The S&P 500 gained 2.9% for the month, its best streak since 2017. The Nasdaq Composite gained about 4% in its third positive month and while the Dow lagged it was still up 1.2% .
Solar stock Sunrun rose 7% after JPMorgan forecast a comeback that would send the stock up 90%.
Zoom Video shares rebounded 2.8% from a 16% plunge Tuesday after Cathie Wood announced that she had bought nearly 200,000 shares in the slump.
Investors digested a disappointing employment report. US companies created far fewer jobs than expected in August, with the number of private employees increasing by just 374,000, according to payroll firm ADP. That is well below the Dow Jones estimate of 600,000.
“With so much pressure from the Fed to improve the job front, it could be a signal that employment growth is stagnating,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. “That is probably a good thing for the markets, however, as it means the easy money policy will continue.”
The ADP report is a precursor to the official U.S. payroll data for August outside of agriculture, which will be released on Friday. Economists polled by Dow Jones estimate that 720,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.2%.
The S&P 500 has been performing pretty smoothly so far in 2021, up more than 20% without seeing a 5% decline. The benchmark closed 296 consecutive days above its 200-day moving average, a measure of long-term trend.
With this in mind, some strategists are on the lookout for a correction in September as stocks haven’t seen a significant correction since last October combined with the eagerly anticipated Federal Reserve Bank meeting in September and ongoing concerns about the Delta-Covid variant.
“While that bull market laughed at almost all of the worrying signs in 2021, let’s not forget that September is historically the worst month of the year for stocks,” said Ryan Detrick, LPL Financial’s chief market strategist. “Even last year, in the face of a huge rally from the March 2020 lows, we saw a correction of nearly 10% in mid-September.”
He added that any weakness could be short-term and could be in the 5 to 8% range.
“This bull market is alive and well and we would see any potential weakness as an opportunity,” he said.