Market Update & Important Indicators
The S&P 500 posted its strongest first half of a year since 2013, boosted by solid corporate earnings and investors' expectations for improving economic growth. The milestone capped a relatively rocky week, with technology shares swinging major indexes. Still, tech companies remain some of the best performers this year, propelling the Nasdaq Composite up more than 14% over the past six months, its best start in eight years. The index also has set 38 closing records in 2017, its most through the first half of a year since 1986. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8% in the first six months of the year, its best performance since 2013. The S&P 500 has gained 8.2% this year. Stocks were mixed on the last day of the second quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%. The S&P 500 climbed 0.2%, with the tech sector falling 2.9% for the week. The tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%. The Dow industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all posted weekly declines Friday. Even as consumer confidence has risen since the election, some economic readings have come in softer than expected recently, causing some investors to question the longevity of the stock market's gains. The U.S. gold price was lower, trimming 0.3% to finish at 1,241.20 US$/oz.
Germany's DAX 30 joined other European benchmarks in closing lower Friday, with Bayer ending a losing month for regional equities by cautioning investors that its profit was under pressure. The DAX slumped 0.7%, marking a fourth straight loss. The fall in German stocks hurt the broader Stoxx Europe 600, which finished lower by 0.3%. European equities had opened higher, after a 1.3% selloff on Thursday left the index as its lowest since April. But equities couldn't overcome hefty weekly gains in both the euro and the British pound against the U.S. dollar. For the week, the Stoxx 600 index stumbled 2.1%, contributing to a loss of 2.7% for June. That's the worst monthly performance since June 2016.
Asian equities declined Friday, echoing losses in the U.S. and Europe on Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei fell below 20000 for the first time in two weeks before recovering to end down 0.9%. Despite recent losses, the Nikkei ended the first half of the year up 4.8%. South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.2%, hit by a drop-in index behemoth Samsung. The Hang Seng fell 0.8% amid a decline in shares of Tencent, while the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1% as releases of better-than-expected PMI data on both the manufacturing and service sectors helped keep Chinese markets steady.
Australian stocks pulled back sharply Friday from strong gains the last two sessions, tracking global equity markets as trading volatility picked up during the week. Broad selling for the session eroded gains over the week and extended a decline over the last quarter. Ending near the day's low, the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.7%. It was the sharpest drop of 2017 for the index, leaving it up just 0.1% for the week and 2.5% lower for the quarter. Only about a dozen stocks rose for the session, as all industry subindexes retreated. For the Australian fiscal year, the ASX 200 was up 9.3%.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract lost 0.1% Thursday to close at $5,927/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Aluminium prices rose 0.1% to 1,914/t, lead prices lost 1.1% to 2,273/t, nickel prices gained 1% to 9,347t, tin prices shed 0.3% to 20,230/t, whilst zinc prices fell 0.1% to 2,753/t.
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