US STOCKS-S&P 500 on track for best quarter since 1998 even as virus fears grow

Reuters

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    * U.S. consumer confidence in June rises more than expected 
    * Boeing tumbles after Norwegian Air cancels orders
    * Uber up on reports of potential bid for Postmates 
    * Dow down 0.11%, S&P 500 up 0.67%, Nasdaq up 1.12%

 (Adds comment, details; updates prices)
    By Uday Sampath Kumar and Devik Jain
    June 30 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 on Tuesday inched closer to
finish its best quarter in more than two decades as improving
economic data restored faith in a stimulus-backed rebound for
the U.S. economy.
    However, gains were kept in check by comments from Anthony
Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious diseases expert, who
said there was no guarantee the United States will have an
effective COVID-19 vaccine and warned the virus spread 'could
get very bad'.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2E71GY
    The Dow slipped 0.1%, pressured by a 6.1% drop in Boeing Co
 BA.N  after Norwegian Air  NWC.OL  canceled orders for 97
aircraft and said it would claim compensation.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2E66NS
    While cases continue to surge in many states, the U.S.
economy is showing signs of pick-up, with data showing consumer
confidence increased much more than expected in June.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2E712N
    "There is optimism that the U.S. economy will get to the
other side of this and investors have an expectation of
improving economic circumstances," said Michael Cuggino,
president at Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds in San
Francisco.
     Analysts warned that portfolio rebalancing at the end of
the quarter could lead to choppy trading in the session.
     "We are finishing up one of the best quarters in history,
so we wouldn't be surprised to see a little bit of window
dressing taking place on the last day," said Sal Bruno, chief
investment officer at IndexIQ in New York.
    The benchmark S&P 500 has rebounded nearly 19% since April
on unprecedented levels of fiscal and monetary stimulus and the
easing of restrictions. 
    But it is still down about 5% on the year, with gains for
the S&P 500 and Dow in June remaining muted due to the flare-up
in virus cases that has threatened to delay reopenings and
derail a tentative economic recovery. 
    Simmering U.S.-China tensions also weighed on sentiment,
with Washington beginning to eliminate Hong Kong's special
status under U.S. law in response to China's national security
law for the territory. China said it would retaliate.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2E60GH   
    Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading higher,
with real estate  .SPLRCR  and technology  .SPLRCT  stocks
leading gains.
    At 1:06 P.M. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI 
fell 28.74 points, or 0.11%, to 25,567.06, the S&P 500  .SPX 
gained 20.53 points, or 0.67%, to 3,073.77 and the Nasdaq
Composite  .IXIC  added 110.99 points, or 1.12%, to 9,985.14.   
    Micron Technology Inc  MU.O  jumped 4.6% as it forecast
higher-than-expected current-quarter revenue on strong demand
for its chips that power notebooks and data centers. 
    The company's results also boosted other chipmakers, with
the Philadelphia semiconductor index  .SOX  up 2%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2E644A
    Uber  UBER.N  rose 4.5% after reports said the ride-hailing
services company was in talks to buy food-delivery app
Postmates.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2E62DN
    Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.57-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.60-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
    The S&P 500 posted eight new 52-week highs and one new low;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 63 new highs and 12 new lows.

 (Reporting by Pawel Goraj in Gdansk, Uday Sampath and Devik
Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani, Sriraj
Kalluvila and Arun Koyyur)
 ((UdaySampath.Kumar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223
8780; Twitter: @sampath_uday; Reuters Messaging:
UdaySampath.Kumar.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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