Shares bounce back after gloomy start to September

US equities were able to offset losses in Thursday’s final trading hour as equities appeared to recover from a bleak start to trading in September. The moves come after all three major averages registered their biggest August percentage declines since 2015.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average teetered into positive territory after plunging close to 300 points, and the S&P 500 fell 0.4%, recovering from a loss of more than 1% earlier in the session. Tech led losses, with Nasdaq Composite down 1%.

Meanwhile, the yield on US 10-year Treasuries as the benchmark reached 3.257%, the highest level since June, as investors brace for more aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve later this month.

A bleak start to September follows four consecutive sell-offs amid renewed fears of restrictive monetary policy and a potential recession.

In August, the S&P 500 benchmark fell 4.2%, the Dow fell 4.1% and the Nasdaq posted a monthly loss of 4.6%.

“A soft landing seems pretty unlikely,” Mike Schumacher, Wells Fargo’s chief of macro strategy, told Yahoo Finance Live. “A lot of things should be going incredibly well — you should be easing the energy situation, which is a miracle right now. COVID should probably be pretty moderate if you think of a surge this fall or this winter.”

Nvidia shares (NVDA) were among the biggest gainers on Thursday, falling as much as 10% after the chipmaker said US officials ordered the company to stop selling to China two of its top computer chips used for artificial intelligence. . Nvidia could lose an estimated $400 million in potential sales in China as a result of the restriction.

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, makes a point during his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Jan. 7, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, makes a point during his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Jan. 7, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

In commodities, oil prices continued their decline as concerns about the destruction of demand persist. West Texas Intermediate crude fell more than 2.5% to a low of $87.21.

The moves in crude oil futures come after the commodity fell for the third time in a row – the longest losing streak in more than two years. WTI crude fell more than 9% in August, the biggest monthly drop since November.

Turning to economic data, unemployment claims fell for a third week to their lowest level in two months on Thursday morning. The number of applications for first-time unemployment insurance fell unexpectedly to 232,000 in the week ending August 27. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the number of claims to come in at 248,000.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported Thursday that spending on new construction projects fell 0.4% in July, similar to economists’ estimates. June spending fell by a revised 0.5% compared to the strong earlier estimate of a 1.1% decline.

The main event of the week is the Labor Department’s official report for August, to be released Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET. According to data from Bloomberg, nonfarm payrolls are likely to have increased by 300,000 in August.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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