Wall Street posted a positive end for the month of August, capping the period off with gains as economic data and talk of U.S. tax reform cheered investors and set the Nasdaq Composite on a path to a record high.
The advances touched most of the sectors on the Standard & Poor’s 500, sending the benchmark up for a fifth straight day as a recovery in oil prices lifted energy shares and another rally in biotech names supported the health care group. The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw more than two-thirds of its blue chip components increase.
On the month, Dow was up 0.3%, the S&P 500 was just 0.05% higher and the Nasdaq jumped 1.3%.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Donald Trump’s administration has a “very detailed” tax plan ready and it will be released to the public at the end of September. That came a day after Trump kicked off his tax-reform push with a public event in Missouri that was light on details.
Investors were also digesting a heavy slate of economic data, all coming ahead of the Friday’s key jobs report. First-time unemployment claims increased 1,000 to 236,000 but was slightly below 237,000 estimates. Personal income rose by an as-expected 0.4% in July while a 0.3% gain in spending was slightly below estimates.
Stock gains were eroded slightly after the Chicago purchasing manager’s index which stayed unchanged at 58.9, while the pending home sales index unexpectedly declined.
But it was mostly an upswing day, with 10 of the 11 sectors on the SP 500 posting gains — only telecommunications ended in the red. DuPont ( DD ) and UnitedHealth Group ( UNH ) were the Dow’s best performers, while Walt Disney ( DIS ) retreated the most.
Here’s there the markets stood by the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 55.67 points (+0.25%)
S&P 500 was up 14.06 points (+0.57%)
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 60.35 points (+0.95%)
FTSE 100 was up 0.89%
Nikkei 225 was up 0.72%
Hang Seng Index was down 0.44%
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.08%
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