Dow clinches best August since 1984, tech leads, Tesla surges

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Dow, S&P finish best August since 1980s

The Dow fell shortly before the close to finish roughly 230 points, or 0.8%, lower. The S&P 500 fell slightly, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7%. By avoiding a sharp selloff on Monday, the Dow and S&P 500 clinched their best August since 1984 and 1986, respectively. — Jesse Pound

Correction: The S&P 500 had its best August since 1986. An earlier version misstated the year.

Final hour of trading: Stocks are mixed to end best August in over 30 years

The major averages were mixed with one hour left in the session as Wall Street wrapped up its best August since 1984. The S&P 500 was up marginally while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 185 points, or 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced more than 1%. Both the S&P 500 and Dow were up more than 7% for their biggest August rally since 1984. — Fred Imbert

More S&P 500 gains potentially ahead after five-month winning streak, SunTrust says

Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust/Truist Advisory, pointed out the S&P 500 was on pace for just its 27th five-month winning streak since 1950. In 96% of those previous instances, the S&P 500 has sported a gain the following year. “This is consistent with other studies … that provide evidence that strong momentum in the first stage of a bull market is common and typically a good longer-term sign,” said Lerner. “However, it is notable that after such strong monthly winning streaks, near-term stock returns tend to moderate as one would expect.” —Fred Imbert

‘Monday seasonality’ has been persistent pattern during rally, Jefferies says

The major indexes were mixed on Monday afternoon, but the first day of the week has typically been the strongest day of the week during the market’s rally off the lows, according to Jefferies. The firm called the phenomenon “Monday seasonality” in a new note to clients.

“Since April, there has been a distinct pattern of stock buying on Mondays. 93% of times stocks have rallied on Mondays with no obvious pattern in any other day of the week … with almost three quarters of positive performance happening on Mondays,” the note said.

Jefferies strategist Mohit Kumar theorized that the pattern could be due to algorithmic trading or to investors buying in after a weekend passes without unexpected negative news. — Jesse Pound, Michael Bloom

Netflix’s growth slowed in recent months, JPMorgan says

Netflix’s growth in daily active users and app downloads was considerably slower over the past two months than during the second quarter, according to JPMorgan. A slowdown was expected after the company reported a massive gain of more than 10 million subscribers during the second quarter, which coverd much of the stay-at-home period in the United States. JPMorgan, which kept its outperform rating on the stock, examined data from third party provider Apptopia to find out how much the growth has dropped off. — Jesse Pound

Here are some of the biggest movers around midday

  • Beyond Meat — Shares of the alternative meat company perked up after a Citi analyst upgraded the stock to neutral from sell, saying they expect more food-service operators to add plant-based meat offerings to their menus.
  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals — The pharmaceutical company’s stock popped after an analysts at SVB Leerink said Alexion was well positioned for industry competition for treatments for a rare blood disease.
  • Amazon — Shares of the e-commerce giant rose after the FAA approved plans for the use of drones in the company’s Prime Air delivery service.

Click here to read more. —Fred Imbert

Markets at midday: Dow and S&P 500 fall, but still headed for best August since 1980s

Both the Dow and S&P 500 were lower around midday, but those declines are not enough to derail their best August performances in more than 30 years. The Dow traded 213 points lower, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 dipped 0.1%. However, both indexes were up more than 7% each month to date. The Nasdaq outperformed on Monday, rising 0.6%. — Fred Imbert

Fed’s Clarida affirms low rates even if unemployment starts falling

The Federal Reserve won’t raise short-term interest rates simply because of falling unemployment that could lead to inflation, Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Monday. Speaking days after Chairman Jerome Powell announced a landmark policy shift, Clarida affirmed the Fed’s commitment to boosting inflation to 2% and even allowing a slight overshoot for a period of time. Previously, the Fed had sought to head off inflation by raising rates preemptively when unemployment falls. But Clarida said the models that drove such moves “can be and have been wrong.” In a Q&A session following his speech to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the central bank official said the Fed is “willing to allow the economy to operate at full strength even if it means a modest overshoot of the inflation objective.” — Jeff Cox

Newly split Tesla shares jump more than 10%

Shares of Tesla surged 10.4% in early trading in the first session following its stock split. The stock has now gained more than 78% since the company announced the 5-for-1 split on Aug. 11. — Jesse Pound

Rubenstein on market rally: ‘I think there will be a pause at some point’

David Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity powerhouse The Carlyle Group, told CNBC he sees more upside for the stock market but he’s “still a little nervous.”

“I think the market has somewhere more to go; but on the other hand, I don’t think it can keep going up forever at this pace,” the billionaire investor and philanthropist said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “I think there will be a pause at some point.”

Referring to last week’s announcement from the Federal Reserve that it’s willing to let inflation run hotter than in the past, Rubenstein said, “Inflation of about 3% or 4% would not be bad for the economy, probably would be good for the economy.” — Kevin Stankiewicz

Cooperman: Biden ‘decent character,’ unclear policies; Trump ‘limited character,’ good economic policies

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC he’s undecided on the presidential election, saying both President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden bring positive and negative attributes to the table.

Cooperman suggests that in Biden, “we have a man of decent character who I’m not sure what he stands for.” In Trump, Cooperman suggests, “we have a man with limited character who has good economic ideas, but he’s very divisive in his dialogue.”

One thing Cooperman said he’s sure about is that America needs to remain a capitalist country. “Everybody thinks that Biden is a socialist. I don’t think so, but he’s got to speak out. He’s got to speak out loudly and clearly what he stands for,” the Omega Advisors founder said in a “Squawk Box” interview.—Kevin Stankiewicz

Trump’s reelection chances rising, says JPMorgan

JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic said Monday that Trump’s reelection chances are rising and investors need to position their portfolios accordingly. 

“We currently believe that momentum in favor of Trump will continue, while the most investors are still positioned for a Biden win,” he wrote in a note to clients. Kolanovic correctly called stocks’ bottom in March.

CNBC PRO subscribers can read more about JPMorgan’s call here. – Pippa Stevens

S&P 500 slips, Dow drops 200, but Nasdaq holds positive

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 45 minutes into the month’s final trading session. The Dow shed 200 points as losses in Walmart, Home Depot and Boeing eclipsed gains in Apple and UnitedHealth. The S&P 500 shed a more modest 0.1%.

The Nasdaq Composite, however, added 0.3% as the iPhone maker climbed 2.6%, Amazon advanced 1.8%, Tesla popped 3.4% and Advanced Micro Devices rose 1.5%. — Thomas Franck

AT&T in talks with private equity about DirecTV sale, sources tell CNBC

Telecommunications giant AT&T is in talks with private equity firms over a potential sale of its DirecTV business, people familiar with the discussions told CNBC’s David Faber. AT&T is looking to offload the unit given declining subscriber and cord-cutting trends resulting in reduced earnings power, Faber reported. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the process is still at an early stage but that potential bidders include Apollo Global Management and Platinum Equity. — David Faber, Thomas Franck

Here are Monday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Walmart, Beyond Meat, Virgin Galactic & more

  • KeyBanc downgraded Vail to sector weight from overweight
  • Credit Suisse raised its price target on Abbott Labs to $136 from $109
  • Citi upgraded Beyond Meat to neutral from sell
  • R5 Capital downgraded Walmart to hold from buy
  • Cowen initiated Virgin Galactic as outperform.

Pro Subscribers can read more here. — Michael Bloom

Split Apple and Tesla equity outperform at market open

Shares of both Apple and Tesla gained shortly after the opening bell on Monday as investors snapped up the equities in the minutes after their respective stock splits took effect. 

Apple, which announced its 4-for-1 stock split at the end of July, saw its shares rise 1.5% within the first 10 minutes of regular trading. Though the split greatly reduces its weight in the price-weighted Dow, Apple’s stock is up more than 70% in 2020 and has contributed a significant portion to the S&P 500’s comeback from its March bottom.

Tesla, which unveiled its own 5-for-1 split on August 11, gained 0.5% on Monday and was last seen trading around $445 per share. — Thomas Franck

Stocks open little changed as Wall Street closes its best August in more than 30 years

The major U.S. stock indexes opened little changed on Monday as investors prepared to celebrate the end of the Dow and S&P 500’s best August since 1984.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average started Monday’s session with a 50-point decline, a slip of about 0.2%. The S&P 500 held around the flatline at the open with gains in technology and utilities offsetting losses in staples and energy.

The Nasdaq Composite, the relative outperformer, added 0.1% at the open and is up more than 8% for the month. — Thomas Franck

Dow shake-up takes effect as Salesforce, Amgen and Honeywell join blue-chip names

The price-weighted Dow will kick off the week with three new constituents and with Apple having a much smaller influence on the 30-stock average after its stock split. Come Monday’s open, Salesforce, Amgen and Honeywell will be included in the Dow, replacing outgoing components Exxon Mobil, Pfizer and Raytheon Technologies. — Fred Imbert

Leon Cooperman: ‘Everybody understands splits don’t create value’

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman said he sees “signs of euphoria” in the market and the massive rally following Apple and Tesla’s stock split announcements is one of them.

“Look at Tesla and Apple. Everybody understands splits don’t create value,” the CEO and chairman of Omega Family Office said on”Squawk Box” on Monday. “My dad once told me if he gave me 5 singles for a $5 dollar bill, I’m no better off.”

The two stock splits took effect on Monday. Apple shares gained 1% in premarket trading as a 4-for-1 split took effect. Tesla shares added nearly 3% following its 5-for-1 split. These two stocks have significantly outperformed the broader market since they announced the splits a few weeks ago.

“We see Tesla up 54% since they announced the split, and the S&P 500 is up less than 4%. Apple is up 30% with the S&P up 6%. And everybody is talking about the split,” Cooperman said. — Yun Li

Berkshire Hathaway buys stakes in 5 Japanese trading companies

Warren Buffett said Sunday that his Berkshire Hathaway has acquired stakes of more than 5% in each of the five leading Japanese trading companies — Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co., and Sumitomo Corp. Berkshire said it acquired the holdings over a roughly 12-month period through regular purchases on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Based on Friday’s closing prices for the trading houses, a 5% stake in each would be valued at roughly $6.25 billion, making it the 7th biggest investment in Berkshire’s equity portfolio. Berkshire said it intends to hold the investments for the long term, and that it may increase its holdings in any of the companies up to a maximum of 9.9%, depending on price. — Becky Quick, Yun Li 

Airlines climb to start the week

Airlines stocks moved higher in premarket trading on Monday on the heels of news last week about impending layoffs in October. The support for the industry from the CARES Act barred the companies from making layoffs until October, but airline executives have said they will need to cut thousands of jobs without additional support. Shares of American Airlines rose 1%, and United Airlines gained 1.6%. — Jesse Pound 

Markets’ August

As the final trading day of August kicks off, here’s a look at how markets have performed month to date: 

  • The Dow is up 8.42% month to date, on pace for its fifth positive month in a row for the first time since Jan. 2018
  • The Dow is on pace for its best August performance since 1984
  • The S&P is up 7.24% for August, on pace for its fifth positive month in a row for the first time since Sept. 2018. 
  • The S&P is on pace for its best August since 1984
  • The Nasdaq Composite is up 8.84% month to date, on pace for its fifth positive month in a row
  • The Nasdaq Composite is on pace for its best monthly performance since 2000 
  • The Nasdaq 100 is up 9.99% for August, on pace for its fifth positive month in a row. 
  • The Russell 2,000 is up 6.61% month to date, on pace for its fifth positive month in a row for the first time since Aug. 2018           
  • Ten of 11 S&P sectors are positive for the month, led by tech, up 11.43%
  • The NYSE Arca Airline Index is up 22.09% for August, on pace for its best monthly performance since 2009
  • The iShares US Home Construction is up 7.05% month to date, on pace for its 5th positive month in a row. — Chris Hayes

Futures rise slightly as stocks round out best August since 1984

U.S. equity futures rose with about two hours ahead of the opening bell and pointed to more gains on the month’s final day of trading. Dow futures advanced 60 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures climbed 0.3% and Nasdaq-100 contracts climbed 0.4%. The premarket moves implied modest gains between 0.2% and 0.4% for all three indexes when August’s final day of regular trading begins at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 was up 7.2% for the month, putting the broad market index on track for its best August since 1984. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 8.4% for the month while the Nasdaq Composite has outperformed with an 8.8% climb. — Thomas Franck

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