Shares of retailers and other consumer-services companies were higher, led by consumer discretionary stocks.
Americans briskly increased spending at retailers last month, while employers have largely resisted the urge to lay off workers, the government reported, both signs of strong demand in the economy. Sales at the nation's retailers rose 0.7% in August, rebounding from a drop in July, the Commerce Department said. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected retail sales to decline last month.
Meanwhile, initial jobless claims - a proxy for layoffs across the U.S. - rose 20,000 last week to 332,000 but remained near a pandemic low, the Labor Department said. Layoffs caused by Hurricane Ida, which hit Louisiana in late August, likely contributed to the increase, economists said.
General Motors is extending its plans to idle some of its North American factories, compounding the effects of the world-wide semiconductor shortage on the auto maker's production. The company said it will add to scheduled downtime at seven plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires