Stocks recover after a bearish start to September

U.S. stocks pared losses in the final hour of trading Thursday as stocks sought to recover from a bearish start to trading in September. The moves come after the three major averages recorded their biggest percentage drops in August since 2015.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung into positive territory after plunging nearly 300 points, and the S&P 500 fell 0.4%, recouping a loss of more than 1% earlier in the session. Technology led the losses, with the Nasdaq Composite down 1%.

Meanwhile, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield hit 3.257%, its highest level since June, as investors brace for more aggressive interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve more later this month.

A pessimistic start to September follows four consecutive selling sessions amid renewed fears of tight monetary policy and a possible recession.

In August, the benchmark S&P 500 fell 4.2%, the Dow Jones fell 4.1% and the Nasdaq recorded a monthly loss of 4.6%.

“A soft landing seems pretty unlikely,” said Mike Schumacher, head of macro strategy at Wells Fargo. says Yahoo Finance Live. “A lot of things should go incredibly well – the energy situation should improve, which is far from a miracle at this point, COVID should probably be pretty mild if you think of a surge this fall or this l ‘winter.”

Nvidia Shares (NVDA) were among Thursday’s biggest movers, dropping as much as 10% after the chipmaker said U.S. officials ordered the company to suspend sales to China of two of its key computer chips used for artificial intelligence. Nvidia could lose around $400 million in potential sales in China due to the restriction.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang makes a point during his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 7, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang makes a point during his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 7, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

On the commodities side, oil prices extended their downward slide as fears of demand destruction persist. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell more than 2.5% to $87.21.

Movements in crude oil futures come after the commodity recorded its third consecutive monthly decline – the longest losing streak in more than two years. WTI crude fell more than 9% in August, its biggest monthly drop since November.

On the economic data front Thursday morning, jobless claims fell for a third week to their lowest level in two months. First jobless claims dropped unexpectedly to 232,000 in the week ended August 27. Economists polled by Bloomberg expected claims to hit 248,000.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported Thursday that spending on new construction projects fell 0.4% in July, matching economists’ estimates. Spending in June fell a revised 0.5% from the previous heavier estimate of a 1.1% drop.

The main event of the week is the Department of Labor’s official report for the month of August, which is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday morning. Nonfarm payrolls likely rose by 300,000 in August, according to Bloomberg data.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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