The Oklahoman

Stocks end with tiny gains, enough to nudge Nasdaq to record

- Damian J. Troise

Stocks inched mostly higher on Wednesday, enough to nudge the Nasdaq composite index to an all-time high. Markets continue to remain quiet ahead of Friday’s jobs report and the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. on Monday.

The S&P 500 index rose 1.41 points, less than 0.1%, to close at 4,524.09. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.20 points, or 0.1%, to 35,312.53; and the Nasdaq climbed 50.15 points, or 0.3%, to 15,309.38.

Small-company stocks did better than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index rose 0.6%.

Technology and communicat­ions stocks made solid gains that helped lift an otherwise choppy market. Consumer staples also rose more than other sectors.

Investors had a weak survey to work through from payroll processor ADP, which showed U.S. companies added jobs at a much slower pace in August than economists had anticipate­d. The weak report follows a disappoint­ing consumer confidence survey Tuesday and comes ahead of the Labor Department’s release of its August jobs report on Friday.

“Friday’s (jobs) numbers are going to be very carefully looked at on all levels,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investment­s.

Economists expect that U.S. employers created 750,000 jobs in August, according to FactSet, pushing the unemployme­nt rate down to 5.2%.

The report should provide more clues about the strength of the job market and might give investors a clearer sense of whether the Federal Reserve will decide at its upcoming September meeting on a timeline for paring back the $120 billion in bond purchases it’s making each month. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has signaled that the central bank will continue to keep interest rates low for the foreseeabl­e future, even when it tapers the bond buying.

Trading is likely to pick up next week, once Wall Street is through the Labor Day holiday. September is historical­ly a more volatile month for the stock market.

Meanwhile, The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported that growth in U.S. manufactur­ing accelerate­d in August despite the fact that companies were still struggling with supply chain problems. The supply chain issues, along with improvemen­ts in employment, are key factors in how investors are gauging the direction and potential impact of inflation, Martin said.

PVH, which owns the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, jumped 15.1% after raising its profit forecast for the year. Other stocks making big gains include video-compressio­n chipmaker Ambarella, which gained 27.4% after reporting solid secondquar­ter financial results.

Bond yields were stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 1.30% from late Tuesday.

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