Dow drops 280 points as markets end August on four-day skid

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Aug. 31 (UPI) — U.S. markets fell for the fourth consecutive session Wednesday, dampening hopes of a summer rally on August’s final day of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 280.44 points, or 0.88%, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.78% and the Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.56%.

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The Dow fell 4% for August, while the S&P 500 declined 4.1% and the Nasdaq slid 4.5%.

Despite the late losses, a summer rally that reached a peak on Aug. 16 helped lift the Dow and S&P about 6% and 9% above their June 16 lows, while the Nasdaq climbed more than 12% above its low.

Shares of Bed, Bath & Beyond stock fell 21.3% as the retailer said that it would close 150 of its stores, lay off approximately 20% of its workforce and get rid of several of its in-house home goods’ brands.

Shares of Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. rose 8.58% after the company confirmed reports it would lay off 20% of its workforce and discontinue or decrease investment in certain projects as it undertakes a broad restructuring effort.

“The extent of this reduction should substantially reduce the risk of ever having to do this again, while balancing our desire to invest in our long term future and reaccelerate our revenue growth,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in a statement.

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Shares of Chewy fell 8.26% as the pet retailer missed second-quarter sales that fell short of Wall Street expectations and cut its full-year guidance.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil — the U.S. benchmark — fell nearly 3% to $88.92 per barrel, while Brent crude — the International benchmark — declined 3.3% to $96.06 per barrel.

Investors also weighed ADP data that showed private sector employers added 132,000 jobs in August, down from 268,000 in July for the second straight month of decline ahead of Friday’s Labor Department numbers.

Markets have begun to slide as investors have expressed concerns about aggressive rate hikes from the Federal Reserve after Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday said the central bank will keep hiking interest rates until inflation returns to a healthy level.

“Markets were counting on limited rate increases and quick rate cuts,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. “The speech was clear, however, that the increases will be larger, and the cuts more delayed, than anyone expected.”