clear
Friday February 12th, 2016 7:37PM

After tough August, investors face scary September

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- August was tough on the stock market. Now, investors face an even scarier September.

Disappointing news on consumer spending helped pull stocks lower Friday in a quiet end to the market's worst month in more than a year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed August with a loss of 3.1 percent while the Dow Jones industrial average lost 4.4 percent. Both had their biggest one-month drop since May 2012.

The month began on a high note. On Aug. 2, news that unemployment fell to its lowest level in more than four years helped lift the S&P 500 index to a record high of 1,709.67. Then things quickly changed.

Bond yields jumped, sending mortgage rates up, as investors began speculating that the Federal Reserve would withdraw some of its support for the economy as early as September.

An array of questions weighed on investors' minds, said Lawrence Creatura, a money manager at Federated Investors.

The latest wild card is Syria. The possibility that the U.S. could strike Bashar al-Assad's regime propelled oil prices to a two-year high earlier in the week.

"The Syria situation is a strong dose of uncertainty," Creatura said. "And investors hate uncertainty."

Before the market opened Friday, the government reported that Americans' income and spending both increased just 0.1 percent in July. The scant rise suggested that economic growth was off to a weak start in the second half of the year. It followed other reports showing steep drops in new-home sales and orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in July.

The major indexes headed lower after the market opened Friday and never recovered. The S&P dropped 5.20 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,632.97. Retail stores and other consumer-discretionary companies led eight of the index's 10 industry groups to slight losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 30.64 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 14,810.31, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 30.43 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,589.87.

Many investors say the recent slide is hardly a surprise after the stock market had such a strong run. The S&P 500 is still up 14.5 percent this year.

September could be even more difficult. Craig Johnson, a technical market strategist at Piper Jaffray, said he expects trading to turn increasingly turbulent. That's because September is stacked with so many events that could shake investors' confidence.

Germany holds national elections that could change how the eurozone handles rescue loans for troubled countries. The U.S. Congress will need to pass a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. And many people expect the Fed to reduce its bond purchases, which have bolstered the economy and stock market.

"Most people I talk to have scaled back and are taking a more defensive posture," Johnson said. "They're bracing for volatility."

Over the long run, September is also the stock market's worst month. Since 1945, the S&P 500 index has slumped nearly six out of every 10 Septembers, with an average loss of 0.6 percent.

Salesforce.com jumped to an all-time high after the cloud-computing company reported strong quarterly results and raised its sales forecast late Thursday. Salesforce.com was up $5.48, or 13 percent, to $49.13, the biggest gain of any company in the S&P 500 index.

In the government bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.77 percent from 2.76 percent late Thursday.

Among other companies making moves Friday:

- General Electric reportedly plans to spin off its credit-card division through an initial public offering of stock. The IPO could come early next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. GE's stock rose 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.14.

- Big Lots gained 78 cents, or 2 percent, to $35.42. Early Friday, the operator of discount-stores reported lower quarterly earnings and U.S. sales, but its overall results still topped the estimates of financial analysts.

- Krispy Kreme Doughnuts plunged 15 percent. Late Thursday, the company posted a drop in quarterly profits, which came in below analysts' estimates. Krispy Kreme's stock lost $3.51 to $19.72.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 2 years ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 2 years ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 2 days ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 3 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 6 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )