US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends best quarter since 1998 on a high note

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 

 (Updates to market close)
    By Chuck Mikolajczak
    NEW YORK, June 30 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 rallied on Tuesday
to finish higher and secure its biggest quarterly percentage
gain in more than two decades as improving economic data
bolstered investor beliefs that a stimulus-backed rebound for
the U.S. economy was on the horizon.
    Coming off a drop of 20% in the first quarter, the biggest
quarterly decline since the financial crisis in the fourth
quarter of 2008, the S&P rallied more than 19% to notch its
biggest quarterly gain since 1998, at the height of the tech
boom. 
    The gains have been fueled by unprecedented levels of fiscal
and monetary stimulus and the easing of restrictions. 
    But the S&P 500 is still down about 4% on the year, and
gains in June stood just over 1% due to the flare-up in virus
cases that has threatened to delay reopenings and derail a
tentative economic recovery. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome
Powell reiterated in comments on Tuesday that the path of the
economy is "highly uncertain."  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nW1N26P02D
    "What everybody sees is if we can get something that puts an
end to the spread or the spread becomes less, there is literally
so much money out there that the Fed has put out there that when
we turn, it is going to be a rocket ship the other way," said JJ
Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.  
    Still, 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," were a reminder
that a full economic recovery could be a long road.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2E71GY
    Gains were capped on the Dow, pressured by a drop in Boeing
Co  BA.N , as the airplane maker gave back some of Monday's 14%
surge after Norwegian Air  NWC.OL  canceled orders for 97
aircraft and said it would claim compensation.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2E66NS 
    Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose
241.16 points, or 0.94%, to 25,836.96, the S&P 500  .SPX  gained
48.55 points, or 1.59%, to 3,101.79 and the Nasdaq Composite
 .IXIC  added 190.65 points, or 1.93%, to 10,064.81. 
    While coronavirus cases continue to surge in many states,
the U.S. economy is showing signs of pickup, with data
indicating consumer confidence increased much more than expected
in June.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2E712N        
    Simmering U.S.-China tensions also remained a possible
headwind, 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   
    All of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors traded higher, with
energy  .SPNY  stocks leading the pack.
    Micron Technology Inc  MU.O  jumped 3.9% 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 and
lifted the Philadelphia semiconductor index  .SOX .  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2E644A
    Uber  UBER.N  rose after reports that the ride-hailing
services company was in talks to buy food-delivery app
Postmates.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2E62DN
    

 (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York
Editing by Matthew Lewis)
 ((charles.mikolajczak@tr.com; @ChuckMik; Reuters Messaging:
charles.mikolajczak.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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