Stock Market Today (8/31/22): Stocks Extend Losing Streak as Fed Fears Persist – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Stocks once again erased early gains to end lower for a fourth straight session as investors continued to fret about an extended rate-hike campaign from the Federal Reserve.

Wednesday’s decline came after Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said during this morning’s speech in Dayton, Ohio, that “it is far too soon to say that inflation has peaked.” Mester, a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), added that she does not anticipate any rate cuts this year or next. 

Wall Street also got another read on the labor market, with this morning’s ADP employment report estimating the U.S. added a lower-than-expected 132,000 private-sector jobs in August, down from July’s reading of 270,000. This comes ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report – the last major check on employment ahead of the Fed’s September meeting.

“So it begins,” says Edward Moya, senior market strategist at currency data provider OANDA. “The labor market is cooling as private payrolls clearly showed a more conservative pace of hiring. ADP’s new methodology was in place and showed job growth slowed for a second consecutive month as companies added the fewest jobs since early 2021.” 

The Friday jobs report is likely to continue this narrative. The consensus estimate is for 300,000 jobs, compared to the 528,000 new positions added in July. “A slower pace of hiring still gives the Fed the greenlight for more aggressive rate hikes over the next couple of FOMC meetings,” Moya adds.

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At today’s close, the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.6% at 11,816, with the S&P 500 Index (-0.8% at 3,955) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.9% at 31,510) also ending lower. All three indexes finished August with monthly losses of more than 4%.

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 shed 0.5% to 1,846.
  • U.S. crude futures fell 2.3% to finish at $89.55 per barrel, bringing their monthly decline to 9.2%. This marked the third straight monthly decline for oil prices, the longest such streak since early 2020.
  • Gold futures ended the day down 0.6% at $1,726.20 an ounce, and ended the month off 3.1%. It was the fifth consecutive monthly drop for gold prices, the lengthiest losing streak since 2018.
  • Bitcoin rose 1.3% to $20,212.29. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) plunged 21.3% after the homegoods retailer unveiled a strategic update, which includes plans for a 12 million common stock offering, the closing of roughly 150 underperforming stores and a round of layoffs. BBBY also …….


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