Wall Street’s Gloomy Close Ends Winning Streak Since February

wall street s gloomy close ends winning streak since february.jpg Business

In a capricious turn of events, Wall Street concluded its first losing month since February, with stocks finishing modestly lower on Thursday. The Standard & Poor’s 500, despite a promising start, closed 0.2% lower, marking a 1.8% decrease for August. However, a four-day winning streak dating back to last week softened the blow of this decline. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite saw a fall of 0.5% and a marginal gain of 0.1% respectively.

The market’s August pullback stems from concerns that the Federal Reserve might prolong higher interest rates due to the U.S. economy’s remarkable resilience. This apprehension emerged following reports on job openings, consumer confidence, and inflation, which kindled hopes that the Fed might maintain steady rates at its forthcoming policy meeting in September. This speculation helped mitigate the market’s losses for August. Despite the recent downturn, the S&P 500 is still up 17.4% for the year, following a significant 19.5% surge through July. The tech-heavy Nasdaq and the Dow also show promising annual gains of 34.1% and 4.8% respectively.

Wall Street Suffers First Losing Month Since February

Wall Street ended August with a decline, making it the first losing month since February. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) closed 0.2% down, while the Dow Jones industrial average fell by 0.5%. The Nasdaq composite, on the other hand, managed a slight 0.1% gain. Despite a four-day winning streak, the S&P 500 ended the month 1.8% lower.

The Impact of Economic Reports

Uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s intentions regarding interest rates led to a market pullback in August. Reports on job openings, consumer confidence, and inflation prompted hopes that the Federal Reserve may not raise rates at its next policy meeting in September. This helped limit the market’s losses for August. The S&P 500, which had soared 19.5% through July, remains 17.4% higher for the year, while the Nasdaq is up 34.1% and the Dow is up 4.8%.

Market Strategist’s Insight

Michael Antonelli, a market strategist at Baird, pointed out that the market’s expectations for economic data and earnings are mostly set at this point in the year. However, a shift in jobs data, inflation data, or spending data could lead to a significant decrease in rates and a boost to stocks.

Inflation and Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising its main interest rate since 2022 to curb inflation back to the target of 2%. The latest inflation report supports hopes for the Fed to pause interest rate hikes. Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) growth was 3.3% in July, down from 7% a year ago. This, along with positive data on jobs and consumer confidence, suggests that the Fed may hold rates steady.

Wall Street Awaits Employment Data

Wall Street is eagerly awaiting the government’s employment data for August. The robust job market, combined with consumer spending, has so far helped avert a recession that analysts expected in 2023. However, this strong data also complicates the Fed’s task of controlling inflation, as it fuels wage and price increases.


Despite the August downturn, the market’s confidence seems to be holding up, with the likelihood of a severe recession appearing to diminish. The Federal Reserve’s future decisions on interest rates will be crucial and will be based on the latest economic data. The performance of healthcare stocks and banks, along with the upcoming employment data, will be key factors to watch in the coming weeks.

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