US STOCKS-Wall St ends August strong with muted performance


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* Zoom plummets due to faster-than-expected demand drop

* Apple has reached a high standard of living, because the technology weighs globally

* All major indices show strong monthly performance (New throughout, price updates)

Aug.31 (Reuters) – The main Wall Street indices closed slightly lower on Tuesday, although the slightly subdued end of August did not detract from a strong monthly performance in what is traditionally seen as a quiet period for the actions.

Having all posted lifetime highs in the second half of the month, including four record-breaking five-session closings for the S&P 500 before Tuesday, all three benchmarks were weighed by technology stocks on the last day of August.

For the S&P, this was a seventh straight month of gains, reflecting the level of investor confidence in US stocks derived from the Federal Reserve’s still-accommodating tone towards cutting its massive stimulus package.

“After all the monetary and fiscal interventions, the question is where are we going? Does the S&P change to 5,000 and how does it get there? Said Eric Metz, CEO of SpringRock Advisors.

While a strong rebound in economic growth and corporate earnings boosted US stocks in August, investors are concerned about the increase in coronavirus cases and the direction of Fed policy.

A Reuters poll last week showed strategists believe the S&P 500 is expected to end 2021 not far from its current level.

“Where will the leadership come from so that the actions take height?” Is it profit growth, growth versus value, technology or energy? This needs to be defined, but I think the next step for equities will be sector focused, ”Metz added.

Tech stocks have continued to attract investor interest in recent days, given the benefits that lowering rates have on their future earnings, although the industry index was among the worst performers on Tuesday.

Apple shares fell after hitting a lifetime high in the previous session, while Zoom Video Communications Inc fell as it reported a faster-than-expected easing in demand for its video conferencing service after a boom triggered by a pandemic.

A majority of the top 11 S&P sectors fell. Among those who did not were the indexes of real estate and communications services, which had reached intraday highs earlier in the session.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41.42 points, or 0.12%, to 35,358.42, the S&P 500 lost 6.13 points, or 0.14%, to 4,522.66 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 6.28 points, or 0.04%, to 15,259.61.

Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru and David French in New York; Editing by Aditya Soni and Lisa Shumaker


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