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Stock Market Today: September Slump for Stocks? Maybe Later.

Improving manufacturing data and more momentum out of the tech space resulted in broad stock gains Tuesday to kick off September trading.

There's plenty of September left, but stocks didn't give any indication Tuesday that they were ready for their seasonal swoon.

The stock market was helped today by the Institute for Supply Management's national manufacturing index latest reading, which improved from July's 54.2 reading to 56.0 in August, indicating accelerating growth, even though factory employment continued to decline.

Walmart (WMT, +6.3%) surged after the company officially unveiled its Amazon Prime competitor subscription offering, Walmart+, a $98/year service featuring free delivery, fuel discounts and more, available starting Sept. 15. Apple's (AAPL, +4.0%) momentum continued another day after its stock split, though Tesla (TSLA, -4.7%), also fresh off its own split, dropped after it would raise up to $5 billion in a new stock offering.

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But Zoom Video (ZM) was the market's darling Tuesday, exploding 40.8% to a new record close after the video conferencing company reported blowout quarterly results.

"Jul-Q revenue increased 355%, with an astonishing 458% jump in the number of customers with more than ten employees and a 112% increase in customers generating more than $100k in trailing 12-month sales," writes CFRA analyst Keith Snyder.

"While we still believe the current valuation is ludicrously high, our upgrade to Hold reflects our view that the stock's current momentum is simply too strong," he continues. Much of the analyst community views Zoom similarly – consensus price targets are now 19% below the company's current price.

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Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.8% better to 28,645.
  • The S&P 500 also closed 0.8% higher, to 3,526, a new high.
  • The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.4% to a record 11,939.
  • The small-cap Russell 2000 kicked off the month with a 1.0% gain to 1,577.

A New Rise in Active Management?

Feeling uneasy even though much of the stock market is back at nosebleed levels? You're far from alone. Even the pros are noting the froth.

"It is not just stock prices that are at all-time highs; other valuation metrics are as well," writes Brad McMillan, Chief Investment Officer of Commonwealth Financial Network. "While price-to-earnings multiples are very flexible, other ratios provide less room for adjustment, and they are very high. The ratio of the stock market to the national economy, known as the Buffet indicator since Warren Buffet highlighted it, is at all-time highs.

"That doesn’t mean that a downturn is likely any time soon. It does mean that we should not get caught up in the excitement. All-time highs are great, and they often lead to further highs. But they can also signal increased risk."

But if trying to figure out how to manage your risk in this kind of environment is fraying your nerves, you might consider handing over the keys.

We frequently tout the low costs (but great track record) of our Kiplinger 25 mutual funds, but did you know that you can access adept management in exchange-traded funds, too? While ETFs are known for offering dirt-cheap indexed exposure to stocks, bonds and commodities, there's a blossoming community of products with pros behind the wheel. Here, we look at seven actively managed ETFs, covering everything from red-hot growth stocks to bonds to all-encompassing international investing.

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