Labor Day in the U.S. is here, and that means an extended weekend for traders and investors alike as stocks regularly set fresh record highs.
Heading into the weekend, U.S. equities continued their upward march, boosted by technology stocks after private payrolls data on Wednesday suggested the Federal Reserve might not have to taper its bond purchases as soon as expected. The Fed has kept interest rates low and asset prices high by buying bonds.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average traded lower Friday after the government’s broader report on August hiring came in far short of expectations. The more contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 weighed on hiring, raising more concerns over economic growth.
While Hurricane Ida this week shut down much of U.S. oil production and refining capacity, boosting oil prices, financials proved to be the dogs of the index. Wells Fargo was the worst S&P 500 component for the week, while Capital One was third-worst.
The Labor Day holiday harks back to the 19th century labor movement during the height of the Industrial Revolution. New York City celebrated the first Labor Day on Sept. 5, 1882, and two years later President Grover Cleveland made the first Monday in September a national holiday.
Is the Stock Market Open on Labor Day 2021?
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are both closed on Monday, Sept. 6. The same is true for U.S. over-the-counter markets. They’ll reopen on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. U.S. bond markets will also be closed on Monday.
In Canada, the Toronto Stock Exchange is also closed Monday for what that country calls Labour Day. Generally, other international markets are open, including the London Stock Exchange, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Hong Kong stock exchange, and Tokyo Stock Exchange.
How Will Covid-19 Impact Labor Day?
Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this week that unvaccinated people shouldn’t travel over the Labor Day weekend, as the U.S. is wrestling with a surge of cases linked to the highly contagious Delta variant. She added that people who are vaccinated—currently adults and adolescents age 12 and over are eligible for shots—can travel but should take precautions such as wearing masks in crowded locations and on public transportation.
Some services will be closed on Labor Day because it’s a federal holiday. Mail, for example, won’t be delivered. Most banks also shut their branches in honor of the holiday. But there are also some festivities normally held on the day that have been canceled because of the pandemic, including New York City’s West Indian Day parade and local parades and celebrations across the country.
Labor Day is a popular weekend for sales, especially because it falls in the middle of the back-to-school shopping season. Bed Bath & Beyond, (ticker: BBBY) for example, is offering up to 60% off select bedding, kitchen and bath items, and vacuums. Macy’s (M) is also advertising a sale of 20% to 60% off. Kohl’s (KSS) is offering 40% off on jeans, and Wayfair (W) has discounts up to 70%.
How Have Stocks Performed Historically During the Week After Labor Day?
September is generally considered a bad month for stocks, with the broad market giving up an average of 1% for the month in the years going back to 1928.
Labor Day week can be particularly brutal. Last year, the S&P 500 fell 2.51% during the holiday week, its worst Labor Day week performance since 2008, when it fell 3.2%.
Write to Liz Moyer at Liz.Moyer@barrons.com