Stock futures start new month with gains


U.S. equity futures are trading higher heading into the first trading session of the new month.

The major futures indexes suggest a gain of 0.3% at the opening bell.

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Wall Street ended August with a gain for the seventh straight month.

The S&P 500 declined 0.1% on Tuesday from the previous day's record but ended August with a 2.9% gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% to 35,360.73 and the Nasdaq slipped less than 0.1%, to 15,259.24.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also finished the month higher, gaining 1.2% for August and notching its second consecutive monthly gain. The Nasdaq Composite added 4% for August, its third consecutive monthly win.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 35360.73 -39.11 -0.11%
SP500 S&P 500 4522.68 -6.11 -0.13%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 15259.235135 -6.65 -0.04%

Investors are optimistic about stronger U.S. corporate profits and took comments by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell on Friday as assurance interest rates will stay low. But that is being tested by signs the coronavirus is depressing economic activity.

On Tuesday, a U.S. business group, the Conference Board, reported consumer confidence fell sharply in August. Most of the decline was tied to the delta variant, which has inundated hospitals with patients.

Wednesday will be busy with a ton of economic news being released.

Investors will get the first of this week's labor-related reports when payroll processing firm ADP releases its National Employment report for August. Economists are looking for a gain of 613,000 private-sector jobs, up sharply from July’s much weaker-than-expected tally of 330,000.

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On Friday, the Labor Department is due to report U.S. employment conditions for August.

The big number to watch on Wednesday will be the ISM’s manufacturing purchasing managers index for August. It’s expected to slip to 58.6 from 59.5 in July. For context, March’s reading of 64.7 marked the fastest pace of expansion in more than 37 years. A number above 50 signals an expanding manufacturing sector.

Construction spending will also be released.

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In Europe, London's FTSE gained 0.9%, Germany's DAX added 0.6% and France's CAC rose 1.1%.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 1.3%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.6% and China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7%.

A survey found Chinese manufacturing decelerated in August as demand weakened and factories struggled with supply disruptions. 

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In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 15 cents to $68.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 71 cents on Tuesday to $68.50. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 14 cents to $71.77 per barrel in London. It fell 42 cents the previous session to $72.99.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.