Stocks are off to a muted start for September; tech gains

National News

FILE – In this June 16, 2021 file photo, the facade of the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street, Wednesday July 21, as the market continues to recover from a sharp drop at the beginning of the week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(AP) — Stocks edged higher in early trading on Wall Street Wednesday as investors continue monitoring the latest economic data for a better sense of the economic recovery’s path forward.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.1% as of 10:02 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 46 points, or 0.1%, to 35,315 and the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.

Technology and communications stocks made solid gains that helped lift an otherwise choppy market. More stocks were falling than rising in the benchmark S&P 500.

Investors were weighing a weak survey from payroll processor ADP that showed U.S. companies added jobs at a much slower pace than economists had anticipated. The weak report follows a disappointing consumer confidence survey on Tuesday and comes ahead of the Labor Department releasing its August jobs report on Friday.

The broader market has been pushing higher all year, with the S&P 500 closing out August with its seventh straight monthly gain, marking its longest such winning streak since early 2018. Much of the momentum has been sustained by low-interest rates favoring stock investments and steady economic recovery, but investors are growing more cautious.

COVID-19’s more contagious delta variant has raised concerns that consumers could pull back on spending and a much-needed recovery in the jobs market could stall.

The focus on broader economic data comes as the market quiets down following a solid corporate earnings season.

Elsewhere, oil prices slumped 1.5%, putting some weight on energy stocks. Occidental Petroleum fell 0.9%.

Copper prices slipped 2.2% and pushed some key copper mining companies lower. Freeport-McMoRan fell 3.2%.

Bond yields were stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 1.30% from late Tuesday.

Markets in Europe and Asia were mostly higher.

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