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 
    * Dow up 0.85%, S&P 500 up 1.54%, Nasdaq up 1.87%

 (Updates to market close, adds market details)
    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 19.95% 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 at just 2% 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 5.75% 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 
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose 217.08 points,
or 0.85%, to 25,812.88, the S&P 500  .SPX  gained 47.05 points,
or 1.54%, to 3,100.29 and the Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  added
184.61 points, or 1.87%, to 10,058.77.
    The 17.78% gain in the Dow marked its best quarterly
performance since a 21.56% rally in the first quarter of 1987
while the Nasdaq's 30.63% jump was its best quarter since a
48.18% gain in the fourth quarter of 1999. 
    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 a
2.2% rise in energy  .SPNY  stocks leading the pack.
    Micron Technology Inc  MU.O  jumped 4.8% 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  by 2.7%.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2E644A
    Uber  UBER.N  advanced 4.9% after reports that 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
2.02-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.09-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
    The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 76 new highs and 16 new lows. 
    Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.72 billion shares, compared
with the 13.55 billion average for the full session over the
last 20 trading days.       

 (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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