US Markets

Stock prices turned in a mixed performance for September as large-cap issues trended higher and trade talks progressed. Meanwhile, technology stocks struggled, pulling the NASDAQ Composite down.

The Dow Jones Industrials picked up 1.9 percent while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.43 percent. The NASDAQ Composite Index lagged, falling 0.78 percent.1

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Markets opened on a weak note as technology stocks reacted to congressional testimony regarding social media's influence. Markets were further depressed by a slump in oil prices, as well as President Trump’s plans for further tariffs on Chinese goods.

All About Trade

Once the details of these tariffs were announced, investors were encouraged that U.S. tariffs were less harsh than expected and China’s retaliatory tariffs were lower than threatened.

The news came as a welcome relief, leading to a wave of new buying that propelled the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 to new historical highs. However, technology and small-capitalization stocks played a limited role in this run-up.

Fed Bumps Rates

With the month coming to an end, the Fed announced a 0.25 percent hike in the federal funds rate and raised the potential for an additional hike before year-end. Though the hike was telegraphed to investors, markets trended lower following the news.

Sector Scorecard

While the S&P 500 Index ended the month in positive territory, only selected sectors participated in the rally. Gains were seen by five industry sectors, including Consumer Discretionary (+2.37 percent), Energy (+1.15 percent), Health Care (+2.71 percent), Industrials (+0.98 percent), and Technology (+0.12 percent). Declines were recorded in Communication Services (-0.90 percent), Consumer Staples (-0.44 percent), Financials (-2.66 percent), Materials (-2.74 percent), Real Estate (-3.97 percent), and Utilities (-2.83 percent)

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Randall L. Franklin, CPA/PFS, CFP® 

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