U.S. stocks fluctuated after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had its best month since February, as investors awaited data estimated to show manufacturing in the world’s biggest economy continued to expand in August.
A drive to update plants and equipment is propelling gains in business investment that will probably keep American factories busy even as consumer spending shows signs of cooling. Better wage growth could broaden household purchases beyond automobiles and help sustain the pickup in manufacturing.
The labor market has shown signs of strength this year, with employers adding more than 200,000 jobs for the last six months -- the first time that’s happened since 1997. Payrolls grew by 209,000 last month, while the unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent as more people entered the labor force.