By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street advanced on Friday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow on track for their best June in generations, ahead of the much-anticipated trade talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit now underway in Japan.
All three major U.S. stock indexes were higher near the close of the week, month, quarter and first half of the year, during which the U.S. stock market has had a remarkable run.
The S&P 500 was poised to have its best June since 1955. The Dow was on track for its best June since 1938.
From the start of 2019, after investors fled equities amid fears of a global economic slowdown and sending stock markets tumbling in December, the benchmark S&P 500 is up 17%, its largest first-half increase since 1997.
"This has largely been a rebound from the fourth quarter," said Doug Cohen, managing director of portfolio management at Athena Capital Advisors in Boston. "Since then, the market's been able to climb the proverbial wall of worry."
Trump expressed hopes that his meeting with Xi at the Group of 20 summit will be productive, but said he had not made any promises about a reprieve from escalating tariffs.
"Right now, the consensus is that there will be a six-month reprieve from the tariff increases threatened by Trump. I think that's more or less baked in to the markets," Cohen added.
"People don't want to be on the wrong side of good news."
Financial stocks led the gains in the S&P 500 and the Dow after the big U.S. banks passed Federal Reserve's "stress test," with the central bank giving the companies a clean bill of health. The S&P 500 Bank index was up 2.4%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56.08 points, or 0.21%, to 26,582.66, the S&P 500 gained 10.38 points, or 0.35%, to 2,935.3 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.69 points, or 0.22%, to 7,985.45.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but technology and healthcare were trading in positive territory.
Financials, energy and tariff-vulnerable industrials were the biggest percentage gainers.
Morgan Stanley advanced 1.6% following an exclusive Reuters report that the broker would likely gain majority control of its China securities joint venture in the latter half of the year.
Constellation Brands Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its full-year guidance due to healthy beer demand, sending its shares up 5.5%.
In economic news, consumer spending rose moderately in May and prices edged higher, implying a slow-down in economic growth and benign inflation pressures, providing the Federal Reserve rationale for a possible interest rate cut in July.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.97-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.72-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 64 new highs and 34 new lows.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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Updated Date: Jun 29, 2019 01:07:00 IST