Stocks - S&P's June Gain Is Its Biggest Since 1955

Investing.com - Stocks finished a historic June with modest gains Friday as weakness in big tech stocks offset gains in big banks freed to boost dividend payouts by the Federal Reserve.

But the real drama is still to come: a meeting between President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The leaders were set to meet Saturday local time for an hour in hopes of setting up a process to resolve Sino-U.S. trade differences. The Trump administration has raised tariffs on goods imported from China. China has retaliated by boosting tariffs on U.S. goods, with farm products very hard hit.

The S&P 500 finished with a 0.6% gain and a 6.9% gain for June. The Dow Jones industrials rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.5%. The S&P had its best June performance since 1955, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. The Dow's 7.2% gain for the month was its best since 1938. The Nasdaq was up 7.4% on the month.

But the finish had a familiar ring to it. The market opened with a big jump only to fall back as the day wore on. The Dow was up as many as 111 points in the session before falling back to a small decline. A last-minute surge of buying pushed the indexes to more respectable finishes.

Pressuring the Dow were components Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which retreated during the day. So, too, did health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), which fell in part because of an executive shakeup and worries about what might happen to the private health insurance business after most Democratic candidates spent much of the last two nights criticizing it. Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed to put them all out of business.

But big banks enjoyed a big day after the Federal Reserve said the nation's largest financial institutions passed their annual stress tests and could boost dividend payouts substantially. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) were the top Dow performers, with gains of 2.7% and 2.65% respectively. Together, they contributed 56 points to the Dow's gain.

The Nasdaq 100 index was down 10 points at about 3 PM ET (19:00 GMT) with Apple, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Cisco and Microsoft contributing cutting 29 points off the index. Late buying for those stocks trimmed the losses. Meanwhile, gains for such stocks as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and chip stocks including Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) pushed the index to a 0.2% gain.

Gold was up slightly, with the August contract up 0.1% to $1,413.70 an ounce. Gold was up nearly 8% for the month, nearly 9% for the second quarter and 10.3% for the year.

The gains are tied to falling interest rates and the Federal Reserve's vow to support the economic recovery. The U.S. 10-Year Treasury yield fell to 2% on Friday, a decline of 6.6% for June and 25.5% this year. Investors have worried about a global economic slowdown. In addition, Trump has criticized Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for not cutting interest rates quickly enough.

WTI oil futures settled down 96 cents to $58.47 a barrel. The August contract Brent oil futures, the global benchmark, closed flat at $66.55 a barrel. The more-active September contract fell 93 cent to $64.74.

Members of OPEC will meet next week on whether to continue cutting production to support prices. Oil prices were up about 2% on the week. For the year, WTI is still up 28.8%, with Brent up nearly 24%.

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