Stocks drift higher on Wall Street after big gain in August

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Photo credit FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2020 file photo, the Wall St. street sign is framed by American flags flying outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks are starting the new month on a weak note on Wall Street, a day after notching their biggest monthly gains since April. The S&P 500 was waffling between small gains and losses in the early going Tuesday, Sept. 1, while gains for Apple and other tech stocks pushed the Nasdaq higher. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Wall Street shook off a sluggish start and was moving tentatively higher on Tuesday morning, a day after the market wrapped up its fifth monthly gain in a row.

The S&P 500 was up 0.3%, as more strength in technology stocks offset declines in health care, financial and most of the index's other sectors. Treasury yields fell slightly.

The modest gains followed a broad slide in European markets and a mixed finish across stock indexes in Asia.

Zoom Video Communications soared 39.4% a day after the now-ubiquitous video conferencing service reported another quarter of explosive growth. Tesla fell 1% after the electric car maker said it would sell up to $5 billion in stock.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 62 points, or 0.21%, to 28,493 as of 10:52 a.m. Eastern time after waffling between small gains and losses in the early going. The Nasdaq was up 1% a day after closing at an all-time high.

The stock market has continued its remarkable turnaround since plunging nearly 34% early this year as the coronavirus pandemic knocked the economy into a recession. The S&P 500 closed out August with a 7% gain, its best showing since April.

Encouraging data as broad swaths of the economy have reopened this summer have helped stoke investor optimism about a recovery. The question is whether that’s going to be enough to keep the market moving higher when so much uncertainty remains about the pandemic’s lasting impact on companies and consumers.

Investors will be looking for clues on the state of the economic recovery this week amid what is going to be a busy week for economic news, including the government's monthly U.S. jobs report on Friday. On Tuesday, the monthly U.S. manufacturing survey from the Institute for Supply Management showed a better-than-expected increase for August.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.70% from 0.71% late Monday.

Oil prices were headed higher. Benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 1.6% to $43.29 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 2% at $46.17 a barrel.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 was down 0.7%, while Germany’s DAX dropped 0.4%. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 2.1% a day after it was closed for a public holiday.