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02 Sep 2021
2 min read

Nasdaq Kickstarts September with New High, Dow Slides

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Key Takeaways

  • Stocks waver to start September deals but Nasdaq notches a new record, lifted by tech gains
  • US futures little changed ahead of the opening bell on Thursday

Nasdaq Notches a New Record

Stocks mostly wavered on the first trading day of September with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping into negative territory. The Nasdaq Composite, in contrast, continued to outperform as it pushed to a new all-time high, building on its solid 4% gain in August.

The tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite advanced 50.15 points, or 0.33%, to finish Wednesday’s session at 15,309.38. The broader S&P500 index eked out a minor gain of 1.41 points, or 0.03%, to 4,542.09, a level slightly below its all-time record. The 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average fell moderately by 48.20 points, or 0.14%, to 35,312.53.

The relatively muted trading session to kick off September’s market activity came after a strong performance in August for all three main stock gauges. Moreover, traders and investors have been confident the market rally will continue on its upward trajectory. Accordingly, they have been increasing their bets consistently, resulting in dozens of record highs over the last few months.

Concerns around a possible slowdown in the economic recovery have prompted investors to pivot to shares of tech and other growth-focused companies. Among individual stocks, shares of Netflix gained $12.88, or 2.3%, to close at $582.07. Apple and Twitter were among the best performers yesterday, adding 0.5%, and 1.6%, respectively.

Continued Optimism Characterizes the Markets

Heightened optimism has been keeping the S&P500 grinding higher for nine of the past ten months and is now less than 0.2% away from its record close set Monday. The broad-based stock average has not experienced a 5% retreat since October and has climbed for seven straight months, the longest winning stretch since 2018.

Potential risks remain that could pose a challenge before the stock market’s seemingly never-ending upward momentum. The upcoming Federal Reserve policy meeting slated for Sept. 21-22 will be closely scrutinized by investors to see if Fed officials have reached an agreement to dial down the ample monetary stimulus of $120bn in monthly bond purchases.

Other risks include the accelerating crackdown on technology companies from Chinese authorities, as well as rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in the US.

Still this week, the market will be on the lookout for the latest nonfarm payrolls report. The August labor-market data will indicate whether the workforce in the US continues to expand, following the significant gain of 943,000 new jobs created in July.

In overseas stock market action, the Stoxx Europe 600 ticked up 0.5%, propelled higher by travel and leisure stocks.

Thursday’s futures market levels are little changed. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were positive by roughly 0.1%. S&P500 futures and Nasdaq futures were also gyrating higher as US investors prepared to enter the second trading day of September.

Meanwhile, in cryptocurrency, Ethereum’s native token, ether, is trading at a three-month high on Thursday. Ether’s price has surged over 15% this week to levels near $3,800 per coin. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has reached its resistance level at $50,000, a milestone that has been keeping a lid on bitcoin’s price over the past two weeks.

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