Wall Street wrapped the final trading day of the month on a mixed note, capping a challenging August that dragged all three major averages into the red.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) sank roughly 0.5%, or about 170 points, even as it was buoyed by a jump in Salesforce shares (CRM) after the software giant’s AI-fueled earnings beat. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) lost 0.16%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) added roughly 0.11%, notching its fifth-straight winning day.
The monthly performance all the major averages suffered. The S&P 500 had its worst month since February, while the Dow had its worst month since May. The Nasdaq hasn’t performed this badly since November of last year.
After closing the month of August in the red, the S&P and the Nasdaq ended what had been a five-month win streak.
Thursday’s update to the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index showed the Fed’s preferred inflation measure edged higher in July, with both headline and “core” readings in line with expectations.
“Despite the apparent strength of real demand, inflationary pressures continued to ease,” Capital Economics economist Paul Ashworth wrote in a note to clients.
Investors took heart from signs of a soft landing for the US economy in this week’s clutch of data. That is spurring bets the Fed could ease off on its interest rate hikes at its upcoming September meeting.
Meanwhile, US jobless claims fell to 228,000 last week, undershooting expectations for 235,000, according to official figures released Thursday. That sets the scene for Friday’s August jobs report, seen as key to the Fed’s decision making in its mission to temper price pressures.
Correction: A previous version of this article listed the incorrect place of employment for Capital Economics economist Paul Ashworth. We regret the error.