U.S. equities fell Thursday, the first day of September, as traders continued to fret over the potential for higher Federal Reserve rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 260 points, or 0.8%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite declined 1.2% and 1.9%, respectively. The major averages are each on track to finish the week down by about 3%.
Nvidia shares also contributed to the losses, falling more than 8% after the chipmaker said the U.S. government is restricting some sales in China.
Weekly U.S. jobless claims fell to 232,000 for the week ending Aug. 27. That was weaker than economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected. It was also a decline from the previous period and the lowest level since June 25.
The major averages are coming off four straight days of losses. On Wednesday, the final day of August, the Dow slid nearly 0.9%. The S&P 500 lost about 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell roughly 0.6%.
The Dow closed the month down about 4.1%, while the S&P and Nasdaq recorded losses of 4.2% and 4.6%, respectively.
Investors are debating whether stocks will again challenge the June lows in September, a historically poor month for markets, after weighing recent hawkish comments from Fed officials who show no signs of easing up on interest rate hikes.
“If we retest the lows, I think it happens in September,” SoFi’s Liz Young said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” However, she added, “I think in order to do so, something would have to get materially worse than it was on June 16,” when stocks bottomed, such as earnings revisions that come in worse than investors are expecting.