August 31st, 2010
06:24 PM ET

All 3 major indexes post monthly declines

A look at highlights from the day's business news.

Stocks end August with a whimper

Stocks were little changed at the end of a choppy session Tuesday, closing out a lackluster August for the market, as investors weighed meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve against upbeat economic reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 4 points, or less than 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 edged up less than 1 point. The Nasdaq composite lost 6 points, or 0.3 percent. All three indexes posted monthly declines. The Dow lost about 4.3 percent in August, while the S&P 500 fell 4.7 percent and the Nasdaq slumped 6.2 percent in the month.

The lackluster performance in August came after stocks rallied 7 percent in July on strong profit growth from major U.S. corporations. But the market is still down for the year. The Dow has lost nearly 4 percent so far in 2010. On Tuesday, stocks were supported earlier in the session by a larger-than-expected rise in consumer confidence and a jump in U.S. home prices.

The tone turned bearish late in the day after Fed released minutes from its Aug. 10 meeting. The minutes raised concerns that the central bank may not take steps to support the faltering economic recovery unless conditions deteriorate significantly, said Dan Cook, senior market analyst at IG Markets.

Demand for Treasurys surges at month's end

Treasury prices soared and yields tumbled as institutional investors plowed into the market to get their portfolios squared away before the month comes to a close.

At the end of any given month, portfolio managers will often adjust the bonds in their hedge funds or mutual funds to reflect changes in the major bond indexes they track. But August was particularly influential since the month included a mega $74 billion auction of government debt, said Kim Rupert, a fixed income analyst with Action Economics.

- reporters Annalyn Censky and Ben Rooney contributed to this report.

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. truthie

    This article is not true....obambie is in charge!

    September 1, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |