London CNN Business —  

It’s the last trading day in August, which makes it a good time to sit back and examine how the stock market has fared in the past month. In short: Not too well.

US stocks on Thursday had their best day in roughly two weeks on hopes that trade tensions between the United States and China could ease.

The trigger: China’s Ministry of Commerce said the country is willing to solve the dispute “with a calm attitude,” adding that “the most important thing at the moment is to create the conditions needed for the two sides to continue the negotiations.”

But the rally is unlikely to make up for sharp falls in recent weeks.

August is shaping up to be the second worst month for stocks this year, in sharp contrast with climbing bonds. As of Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 was down about 1.9% for the month. That’s behind only May, when the index lost 6.6% amid another bout of trade anxiety.

Hat tip: LPL Financial’s Ryan Detrick pointed out at the beginning of the month that August has historically been tough on stocks. The S&P 500 has been down an average of 0.8% in August over the past 10 years, worse than any other month, he noted.

Remember: In this moment, traders are choosing optimism, and US stock futures are up. But a fresh wave of US tariffs on Chinese exports, and Beijing’s retaliation, go into effect on Sunday. That could quickly change the mood.

“Tariffs speak louder than words and as yet, there’s little to suggest either side is backing down on a pledge to implement more this weekend,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, a currency broker.

Trade pressure has been particularly brutal for emerging markets, which are expected to post their worst month since November 2016, according to a new report from the Institute of International Finance. Investors in August pulled $13.8 billion from emerging market securities, per the group.

Investor insight: September isn’t poised to be much calmer. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, is finishing the month sharply higher, suggesting more wild swings to come.

India faces an economic crisis. It needs to do more

At the end of last year, India was still the world’s fastest growing major economy. Since then, it’s surrendered that title back to China — and its slump only appears to be getting worse, according to my CNN Business colleague Rishi Iyengar in New Delhi.

GDP fell to a five-year low of 5.8% in the first quarter of 2019. Economists surveyed by Reuters predict that data due Friday will show another drop, this time to 5.7%.

The government has scrambled to boost the economy, Rishi writes. Last week, India unveiled tax breaks for startups, cheaper home and car loans and an injection of 700 billion rupees ($9.8 billion) into state-run banks. A few days later, it said it would ease rules on foreign investment.

The problem: “Those short term solutions may not do enough to address deeper concerns about India’s economic health,” per Rishi. They risk causing inflation to spike, and do nothing to reform the country’s labor market. Unemployment is at its highest level in decades.

Read more from Rishi’s story here.

Single women are changing the US economy

By 2030, 45% of prime working age women in the United States will be single. That could have a major impact on the US economy, according to new research from Morgan Stanley.

My CNN Business colleague Anneken Tappe in New York took a look at the findings. Morgan Stanley notes that single women outspend the average household, and certain sectors can expect a boost as a result. Potential beneficiaries include apparel, luxury and electric vehicles and food away from home.

But it’s not all about lipstick, cars and yoga pants, as Anneken points out. This demographic shift will also put new pressure on companies to think critically about the types of benefits they provide to their workforce. You can read her whole story here.

Up next

Today’s big data release is US personal income and personal spending for July. That arrives at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Also today:

  • Campbell Soup earnings will post before the US market open.
  • The final reading of the University of Michigan survey on consumer sentiment for August is set for release at 10 a.m. ET.

Coming this weekend: The next batch of US tariffs arrive at midnight on Sunday. Keep an eye on your inbox for more analysis.