Dow Logs Worst August in 9 Years
By JONATHAN CHENG And KRISTINA PETERSON
Stocks limped to their worst August since 2001, battered by a wave of discouraging data that cast doubt on the faltering economic recovery.
Investors now enter September, a month that has been historically challenging for the stock market, against a backdrop of broad uncertainty, including slow growth and deflation fears.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average battled to a stalemate on Tuesday, rising 4.99 points, or 0.05%, to finish at 10014.72. The blue-chip index's 4.3% drop for the month was the worst since a dismal May, and the measure's first down August in five years. The Dow had rallied 7.1% in July.
September Slump Superstitions August is typically a positive month for stocks, whereas September declines tend to come as companies begin issuing warnings ahead of third-quarter results and mutual-fund managers get back to work after the typically light volume in the summer.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 4.7% for August, while the Nasdaq shed 6.2%. Small-capitalization stocks, a leading indicator of the economy, took an even bigger hit. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks posted its worst August in 12 years, falling 7.5%.
Other barometers of economic activity are flashing warning signals, too. Technology stocks were the weakest performers on Tuesday, taking a hit after technology-research firm Gartner cut estimates for computer sales, reinforcing growing concern about the outlook for the sector.