The S&P 500 rose slightly Wednesday led by technology shares after the broad equity benchmark notched a seven-month win streak in August.
The large-cap index climbed 0.2% to kick off September trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.7% to hit a new intraday record high, thanks to a 2% jump in Apple shares to an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 45 points.
The major averages all finished higher for the month of August. The S&P 500 rose 2.9% for the month, posting its best winning streak since 2017. The Nasdaq Composite gained about 4% for its third positive month and while the Dow lagged, it still added 1.2%.
Solar stock Sunrun surged 7% after JPMorgan predicted a comeback that would take the shares 90% higher.
Zoom Video shares rebounded 2.8% following a 16% plunge Tuesday after Cathie Wood revealed she bought nearly 200,000 shares on the dip.
Investors digested a disappointing employment report. U.S. companies created far fewer jobs than expected in August with private payrolls rising just 374,000, according to payroll services firm ADP. That is well below the Dow Jones estimate of 600,000.
“With so much pressure on improvement on the labor market front coming from the Fed, this could send a signal that jobs growth is stagnating,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. “That’s likely a good thing for the markets though as it means easy money policy continues.”
The ADP report is a precursor to the official August U.S. non-farm payrolls data, which will be released Friday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 720,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%.
The S&P 500 has had a pretty smooth ride so far in 2021, up more than 20% without even a 5% pullback. The benchmark has closed above its 200-day moving average, a measure of the long-term trend, for 296 days in a row.
So some strategists are on the lookout for a correction in September given that stocks haven’t had a significant one since last October, combined with the highly anticipated meeting of the Federal Reserve Bank in September and the continued worry about the delta Covid variant.
“Although this bull market has laughed at nearly all the worry signs in 2021, let’s not forget that September is historically the worst month of the year for stocks,” said LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Even last year, in the face of a huge rally off the March 2020 lows, we saw a nearly 10% correction in the middle of September.”
He added any weakness could be short-term and contained in the 5% to 8% range.
“This bull market is alive and well and we would view any potential weakness as an opportunity,” he said.