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Dow futures subdued action but tech stocks look ready to extend run-up to start September

U.S. benchmark stock indexes looked likely to drift higher at Tuesday’s open, despite what is expected to be a seasonally challenging month for equities, following the best August returns in more than 30 years.

How are stock benchmarks performing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average


were up 14 points at 28,430, a gain of less than 0.1%; those for the S&P 500 index

were trading 11.35 points higher, or 0.3%, at 3,510.25; while Nasdaq-100 futures


advanced 120.25 points at 12,233,75, a rise of 1%.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

shed 223.82 points, or 0.8%, to end at 28,430.05. The S&P 500

fell 7.70 points, or 0.2%, ending at 3,500.31. The Nasdaq Composite

rose 79.82 points, 0.7%, to end at a record 11,775.46, its 41st record close of 2020.

The S&P 500 clinched its best August return since 1986 and the Dow its best return for that month since 1984, while the Nasdaq recorded its strongest August since 2000

What’s driving the market?

Buying of large-capitalization growth and technology stocks, a major theme of trading since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March, appeared set to continue to start trade in September.

Tesla and Apple, underscored that theme early Tuesday, with shares of the electric-vehicle maker and the iPhone creator on pace to extend a rally after splitting their popular shares on Monday.

Still, investors are anxious going into the new month as they wrestle with stock valuations elevated against a backdrop of a Federal Reserve that has implied that it will keep rates ultra-low even if inflation pressures begin to percolate.

Read: The stock market is on a tear, but now comes September, the worst month of the year

“Technology has regained leadership with broad-based movement back to new highs, and Growth dominating, but bifurcation is growing larger,” Mark Newton, technical analyst at Newton Advisors, said.

He cautioned that breadth, or the number of stocks rising versus those declining, is offering a cautious sign. “Breadth has tailed off ‘big-time’ with more than 5 occurrences in the last few weeks of more decliners than advancing issues,” he said.

Read:Here’s what could trigger more stock market pullbacks this year, says Schwab trading expert

The Fed’s new stance on inflation targeting is still being digested on Wall Street and has so far resulted in more pressure on the U.S. dollar, a factor that may also support further buying in stocks that boast large overseas businesses.

Looking ahead, the market is awaiting the U.S. IHS Markit purchasing managers index at 9:45 a.m. ET and the purchasing managers index report on manufacturing activity from the Institute for Supply Management for August at 10 a.m., with a consensus forecast for 54.7.

Overnight the eurozone IHS manufacturing purchasing managers index pointed to improving conditions in August, as the region’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continued, while in China the Caixin purchasing managers index, which is weighted toward small, private manufacturers, rose to 53.1 in August from 52.8 in July.

A report on U.S. construction spending for July also is due at 10 a.m., with report on motor vehicle sales coming throughout the day.

Among Fed speakers, Fed Gov. Lael Brainard is slated to speak at 1 p.m.

Which stocks are in focus?
  • Shares of Tesla Inc.

    extended its recent rocket ride by surging 6.3% in premarket trading Tuesday, putting them on track to open in record territory well above the $500 mark.

  • Zoom Video Communications Inc.

    made as much money in May, June and July as it did in all of 2019, beating even the outsize expectations of Wall Street and sending its stock, its recent quarterly results out on Monday revealed.

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