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Nasdaq ends higher while S&P 500 posts biggest August gain since 1986

Stock Markets Aug 31, 2020 06:05PM ET
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By Sinéad Carew

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While the S&P boasted its steepest August percentage gain in more than three decades it ended Monday slightly lower and the Dow also lost ground as investors took a pause although the Nasdaq closed higher thanks to high-flying stocks including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).

The Federal Reserve's commitment to tolerate inflation and keep interest rates low, positive developments in vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and a rally in tech-focused stocks have helped the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs in August.

But while states such as New Jersey continued to ease restrictions on Monday, investors noted that across the United States, total coronavirus cases topped 6 million on Sunday as many states in the Midwest reported increasing infections, according to a Reuters tally.

"It's a momentum trade. People are flooding to the technology companies they think will do well regardless of the pandemic," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer, Independent Advisor Alliance.

"The U.S. just passed 6 million cases, a further reminder that the pandemic is here to stay until we do something about it. Clearly it has an impact on all businesses but some are more pandemic resistant," he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 223.82 points, or 0.78%, to close at 28,430.05, the S&P 500 lost 7.7 points, or 0.22%, to 3,500.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 79.82 points, or 0.68%, to 11,775.46.

Technology, then healthcare and utilities stocks were the biggest percentage gainers among the 11 major S&P sectors while energy was the biggest percentage decliner.

With the S&P reaching 3.8% above its pre-crisis record during the session, Mona Mahajan, senior U.S. investment strategist at Allianz (DE:ALVG) Global Investors in New York, said investors were showing some caution by favoring technology as they looked warily at U.S. and overseas COVID-19 numbers.

"After such a strong summer run we're reverting back to the old pandemic playbook so we see tech outperforming," she said. "Really that's a defensive move as people think about stay-at-home more as we're heading toward that fall season."

The Nasdaq, meanwhile, ended the day almost 20% above its pre-crisis record closing high. Its top two boosts for Monday were from Apple Inc and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc after their stock splits.

While the splits did not provide a fundamental reason to buy the stocks, Mahajan noted that the lower prices may be making the momentum stocks more attractive to some retail investors.

For the month the S&P showed a gain of 7.01%, its biggest advance for August since 1986 when it rose 7.1% that month.

The three main indexes showed their fifth straight monthly rise following March lows, even as economic data pointed to an uneven recovery from the steep downturn.

For the S&P, this was its longest winning steak on a monthly basis since a six-month run from April to September 2018.

And the benchmark's 35.6% gain since April marked the strongest five-month run for the S&P since 1938, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group.

Apple ended the day 3.4% higher at $129.04 while Tesla closed up 12.6% at $498.32.

Aimmune Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AIMT) Inc's shares soared 171.6% after Swiss food group Nestle SA (SIX:NESN) offered to pay $2 billion for full ownership of the peanut allergy treatment maker.

Shares of Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT), Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc and Oracle Corp (NYSE:ORCL) - all suitors for TikTok's U.S. assets - fell as China's new rules around tech exports meant a deal with TikTok owner ByteDance could need Beijing's approval.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.02-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.64-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 32 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 86 new highs and 24 new lows.

On U.S. exchanges 9.4 billion shares changed hands on Monday compared with the average of 9.18 billion for the last 20 sessions.

Nasdaq ends higher while S&P 500 posts biggest August gain since 1986
 

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Comments (10)
fishattackshark fishy
fishattackshark fishy Aug 31, 2020 1:20PM ET
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Nice, why hurrying on reopen the economy?
eddie glass
eddie glass Aug 31, 2020 12:59PM ET
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AAPl market cap up $70 billion and TSLA market cap up $30 billion today.... just because. amazing bubble. helping my boy trump get re-elected as the democrats implode...literally burning their own cities to the ground.
Ja He
Ja He Aug 31, 2020 12:59PM ET
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Cartel money pushing Tesla high
Shentong Lu
Shentong Lu Aug 31, 2020 12:53PM ET
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Wow!
momo solo
momo solo Aug 31, 2020 12:51PM ET
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THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!!! USUALLY BEFORE MAJOR CRASH LIKE THE GREAT DEPRESSION STOCKS FLY TO ATH and the sentiment is extreme bullish
Kenny Venezia
Kenny Venezia Aug 31, 2020 12:20PM ET
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LOL! OH, THIS IS HYSTERICAL! I'M CERTAINLY ENTERTAINED
Dark Side of the moon
Dark Side of the moon Aug 31, 2020 12:08PM ET
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...wow...world economy collapsed and the worst still to come but Sp500 flying as if this world were in its ideal prosperity.
Andrew carson
Andrew carson Aug 31, 2020 11:46AM ET
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The do nothing Dems crashing the party with no new stimulus plan. Such as a plan without an their radical nonsense... 🤯🚮
Chad krd
Chad krd Aug 31, 2020 10:13AM ET
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We have all the choice of anydevice and type too Sand rescsher the new industry
Peter Dikeakos
Peter Dikeakos Aug 31, 2020 9:08AM ET
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.....bets on an economic revival....yeah....any day...now.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Aug 31, 2020 7:51AM ET
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Over 100 USA residents die per day from gun crime. Is it really worth it for the NRA and gun owners?
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Aug 31, 2020 7:51AM ET
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.. when instead they should be using bow and arrow? All these deaths because gun manufacturers want to earn money and because hunters want to be lazy by pressing a button than pulling a bow string
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Aug 31, 2020 7:51AM ET
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.. and all those guns prolific got the police scared that robert blake was reaching for a gun .. But with a non-responsive blake its no wonder the police did what they did. Each police team should have a professional shooter solely trained in ending a stand-off. They should have shot him in the legs when he started walking away. Case closed with minimum damage. Why is Common sense not common?
 
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