Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- S&P 500 takes win streak into historically tough September
- ADP's look at monthly hiring at U.S. companies disappointed, again
- Oil prices up ahead of OPEC+ meeting as Gulf Coast assesses Ida damage
- Biden to meet with Ukraine leader, defends Afghanistan war end
- CDC chief urges unvaccinated Americans to refrain from Labor Day travel
1. S&P 500 takes win streak into historically tough September
U.S. stock futures started off the new month higher Wednesday after the S&P 500 logged seven straight monthly gains, its longest winning streak since a 10-month run that ended in December 2017. The broader market index, while falling slightly Tuesday, rose 2.9% in August. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq also fell a bit Tuesday but rose 1.2% and 4% in August, respectively. Ahead of Wednesday's open, the Dow was just over 0.7% away from last month's record close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were just shy of Monday's record closes. September can be a perilous for stocks, with the month historically lower more often than higher.
2. ADP's look at monthly hiring at U.S. companies disappointed, again
ADP said on Wednesday that U.S. companies added just 374,000 jobs in August, far short of estimates for 600,000. ADP's look at July private sector jobs gains was also a big miss. These numbers have not been a great barometer during Covid of what the government's monthly jobs data might show. Economists expect the Labor Department's report Friday to show 720,000 nonfarm payrolls additions in August and a dip in the nation's unemployment rate to 5.2%. The economy created a better-than-expected 943,000 new jobs in July as the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%. The latest weekly tally of initial jobless claims is out Thursday.
3. Oil prices up ahead of OPEC+ meeting as Gulf Coast assesses Ida damage
Oil prices rose modestly ahead of Wednesday's OPEC+ meeting. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia are expected to stick to a plan to add 400,000 barrels per day each month through December. U.S. oil prices broke four months of gains in August, falling nearly 7.4% in their worst month since October. That's despite last week's gain of 10.6% in advance of Hurricane Ida, which slammed the Gulf Coast on Sunday, temporarily halting oil production and refinery operations. About 985,000 customers in Louisiana remained in the dark early Wednesday as the region suffers from sweltering heat.
4. Biden to meet with Ukraine president, defends end of Afghanistan war
President Joe Biden will unveil a wide-ranging humanitarian and military aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday, during a visit by Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to the White House. A now infamous call between Zelenskyy and Donald Trump in 2019 was a cornerstone of the former U.S. president's first impeachment case.
In an address to the nation Tuesday afternoon, Biden defended his decision to end the U.S. war in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years, saying the era of large U.S. military deployments to rebuild other nations has ended. The Taliban, ousted from power after the 9/11 attacks, now control nearly all of Afghanistan.
5. CDC chief urges unvaccinated Americans to refrain from Labor Day travel
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is advising unvaccinated Americans against traveling over the Labor Day weekend, as the U.S. battles a surge in Covid hospitalizations driven by the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. Walensky on Tuesday also recommended spending time outside with other vaccinated family members during the holiday, urging people to wear masks indoors. As of Monday, the seven-day average of new daily Covid cases in the U.S. rose 6% to nearly 160,000. Over the same period, new U.S. Covid deaths on average increased 29% from a week ago to 1,329.