Dow Jones Industrial Average Wraps Up Worst Month Since 2010

Stocks Face Scary September; Plus, the Solar Sell-Off That's 'Overdone'

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Aug 31, 2015 at 4:21 PM

While oil prices staged a huge turnaround in afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) wasn't as fortunate. The blue-chip barometer logged a triple-digit drop, pressured by discouraging reports out of China and jitters ahead of Friday's jobs report, which could have major implications for the highly anticipated September Fed meeting. By the close, the Dow and its index peers wrapped up their worst month in years, and are staring down the historically plunge-prone month of September.

 

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 16,528.03) was down nearly 200 points at its intraday low, but shaved its deficit to 115 points, or 0.7%, by the close -- dodging correction territory. Only six blue chips avoided the red, with Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) once again leading the advancers, up 0.7%. Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) paced the blue-chip decliners with a 2.8% loss. For the month, Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) was the worst-performing Dow member, shedding 15.1%, while American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was the lone blue chip to eke out a win. Meanwhile, the Dow ended August with a 6.6% drop -- its worst month since May 2010.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,972.18) gave up 16.7 points, or 0.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,776.51) surrendered 51.8 points, or 1.1%. For the month, the SPX dropped 6.3% while the COMP slid 6.9% -- their worst monthly performances since May 2012.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 28.43) added 2.4 points, or 9.1%, bringing its August gain to a whopping 134.6%.

 

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

 

  1. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said there is "no quick fix" for oil prices, which are just off six-year lows. The cartel also said it will talk to other producers about scaling back production. The report, along with a decline in domestic oil production, helped black gold rebound. (MarketWatch)
  2. In blue-chip news, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) are joining forces to bring more iPhones and iPads to the corporate world (subscription required); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is cutting workers' hours after a round of wage hikes; Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) is hosting a massive global event to unveil "Star Wars" merch; and McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is getting "real" with the McMuffin.  (Wall Street Journal; Yahoo! Finance; MarketWatch; CNBC)
  3. A Caijing journalist was among those "confessing" to a role in China's dramatic stock market action.
  4. Energy stocks just racked up the most selling climaxes since 2011. Is it a bullish sign?
  5. Why Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is saying goodbye to Hunger Games.

 

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Commodities:

 

Oil performed an about-face around midday, due to the aforementioned OPEC comments and a report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which showed a surprise decline in June oil production. By the close, October oil surged $3.98, or 8.8%, to end at $49.20 per barrel -- crude's loftiest finish since July 21. For the month, black gold advanced 4.4%, comparing most-active contracts.

 

Gold ended lower for the fifth session in six, as traders exercised caution amid rate-hike speculation. By the close, December-dated gold was down $1.50, or 0.1%, at $1,132.50 per ounce. For the month, however, the malleable metal enjoyed a 3.4% gain -- its biggest since January.


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