U.S. equity markets finished mixed on Monda yet ended August with a fresh batch of milestones, including a fifth straight month of gains.
The S&P 500 registered its best August since 1984 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its best August since 1986, both rallied over 7 percent. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, booked its best August since 2000, rising 9.6 percent.
On the day, the Dow slid 223 points, or 0.78%, while the S&P fell 0.22%. The Nasdaq bucked the trend, rising 0.68%.
The final trading day for the month featured two high-profile stock splits. Tesla Inc. shares split 5-for-1 while Apple Inc. shareholders received three shares for every one owned.
Heavy demand for those stocks coincided with technical difficulties reported by several trading platforms including Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab. Robinhood told FOX Business its issues were unrelated to the splits. E*Trade did not respond to inquiries.
Apple’s split caused a rejiggering of the Dow, which welcomed Salesforce.com Inc., Amgen Inc. and Honeywell International Inc. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil Corp., Pfizer Inc. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. were removed from the index.
Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway unveiled a 5% stake in Japanese trading houses Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui & Co. and Sumitomo Corp. The stakes, which are worth $6.21 billion and give Berkshire exposure to companies outside the U.S., could be raised to as high as 9.9%, the firm said.
On the deal front, Swiss multinational Nestle S.A. agreed to pay $2 billion for full ownership of peanut allergy treatment maker Aimmune Therapeutics Inc. Nestle, which already owned an approximate 25.6% stake in Aimmune, will pay $34.50 per share, a 174% premium to Friday’s closing price of $12.60.
Elsewhere, United Airlines Inc. will permanently remove the $200 change fee for most domestic flights as it hopes to gain a competitive advantage amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Delta announced a similar policy.
Also in the space, American Airlines Inc. cut its October flying capacity by 55% due to a continued drop in demand amid the pandemic. The airline said last week it would furlough or layoff 19,000 workers by Oct. 1.
Chinese Tesla rival Nio Inc. sold 88.5 million American depository shares, raising $1.5 billion. The electric-vehicle maker, which initially planned to sell 77 million shares, boosted the size of the offering amid red-hot investor demand for EV shares.
Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 36 cents to $42.61. However, August marked a four-month gain of 126%, the largest since September 1990. Gold added $3 to $1,967.60 an ounce. The yellow metal has added 26% since the beginning of March, the biggest six month net and percentage gain since August 2011.
U.S. Treasurys were little changed with the 10-year note yield holding near 0.695%.
European markets were lower with France’s CAC off 1.11%, Germany’s DAX slipping 0.67% and Britain’s FTSE weaker by 0.61%.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 1.12% after the announcement of Buffett’s investment in the Japanese trading houses, while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.24% and 0.96%, respectively.