Stocks Score Monthly Win; Nasdaq Notches Record Close

The S&P managed to notch a fifth straight daily win

by Emma Gilkey

Published on Aug 31, 2017 at 4:36 PM
Updated on Sep 11, 2017 at 10:53 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) ended higher today, amid talk of tax reform and after the latest economic data. Expectations for a December rate hike from the Fed were dimmed after inflation increased at its slowest rate in two years. Traders are now awaiting another Fed-watched data point, with the government's monthly jobs report out tomorrow. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP)  also ended higher, with the former extending its winning streak to five sessions to eke out a monthly win, and the latter notching its highest close on record. 

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

  • The blue-chip stock to short right now, if past is prologue.
  • 3 stocks that gapped lower after earnings.
  • Wells Fargo found more fake accounts.
  • Plus, the historically bearish ETF heading into September; the auto stock expected to double; and the pharma stock crushing shorts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 21,948.10) ended with a gain of 55.7 points, or 0.3%, as 20 of its 30 stocks managed to end higher. UnitedHealth (UNH) led the advancers with its 1.5% gain, while Walt Disney (DIS) stock paced the 10 losers with a 1.6% loss. For the month, the DJIA added 0.3%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,471.65) closed up 14.1 points, or 0.6%, extending its daily and monthly winning streaks to five. For the month, the SPX added 0.1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 6,428.66) gained 60.4 points, or 1%, while notching a record close. For August, the COMP gained 1.3%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 10.59) lost 0.6 point, or 5.6%, and settled at its lowest close since Aug. 7. For the month, the "fear gauge" added 3.2%.

Closing Indexes Summary August 31

  NYSE & Nasdaq August 31

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed orders to begin sending more troops to Afghanistan in an effort to move forward with President Trump's new war strategy. While the exact number and use of the troops was not specified, it has been reported that Mattis could deploy up to 4,000 more troops. (CNBC)
  2. While U.S. inflation was tame, the inflation rate in Venezuela is up 460% year-over-year. Bloomberg's Cafe Con Leche Index -- created after Venezuela stopped reporting economic data -- indicated the price of a cup of coffee just skyrocketed 22% to 2,800 bolivars this week. (Bloomberg)
  3. The historically bearish ETF heading into September.
  4. Goldman thinks this auto stock could double
  5. The pharma stock crushing shorts.

Corporate Earnings Chart August 31

Unusual Options Activity August 31
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities

October-dated crude finally managed a gain after a long battle with Hurricane Harvey's effects. The crude futures finished up $1,27, or 2.8%, settling at $47.23 per barrel. Oil lost more than 6% in the month of August, though. Meanwhile, September-dated gasoline futures surged 13.5% to $2.140 per gallon -- in two-year-high territory -- and skyrocketed 28% for the month.

North Korea tensions and an ailing U.S. dollar helped gold end higher Thursday. December-dated gold futures finished up 0.6%, or $8.10, at $1,322.20 per ounce -- an 11-month high. Gold also managed to finish the month up 4%, its largest monthly gain since January.
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