Stocks waver as market looks to end August in the green

<p><p>Stocks were wavering between small gains and losses in midday trading Tuesday, as the market looks to close out August solidly in the green.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 index was up 0.1% as of 11:25 a.m. Eastern after being down slightly most of the morning. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.2%.</p></p><p><p>Despite the declines, the market is on pace to close out August on a positive note.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 is up 3% in August, while the Nasdaq is up 3.9%.</p></p><p><p>The benchmark S&amp;P 500 is on track for its seventh straight monthly gain, which would be the longest such streak since early 2018.</p></p><p><p>The market has been lifted by a number of factors this month. Corporate earnings came in much better than expected, giving investors confidence to pay premium prices for an already lofty market.</p></p><p><p>Also the Federal Reserve has made it clear that it believes inflation will be temporary and any pullback of financial support from the central bank would be gradual.</p></p><p><p>Energy prices declined for a second day, as fears of widespread devastation to U.S. oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ida appeared be overblown. Oil prices were down 0.5%, with similar declines in natural gas prices.</p></p><p><p>The latest economic data showed once again the impact the delta variant of the coronavirus is having on the economy.</p></p><p><p><a href=”https://apnews.com/article/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-consumer-confidence-4e12e60b27fe5acaa2d7f963e6506e31″ target=”—blank”>Consumer confidence</a> in August fell sharply to a reading of 113.8 compared to a reading of 125.1 in July. Economists has been expecting a reading of 124.</p></p><p><p>Most of the decline was tied to the spread of the virus in the past month, which has inundated hospitals with patients and deaths are climbing again.</p></p><p><p>Investors’ eyes will be turning to key economic data later this week, when the Labor Department releases its August jobs report on Friday.</p></p><p><p>Economists are expecting that U.S. employers created 750,000 jobs last month, according to FactSet, with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.2%.</p></p><p><p>The bond market was quiet, with the 10-year Treasury note trading at a yield of 1.30%. That’s up from 1.28% the day before.</p></p>