US stocks end quarter mostly up

NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher on Friday (June 30) to end a strong first half of the year, although the Nasdaq faded into negative territory at the end of session.

Dow member Nike was the day’s big winner, surging 11 percent after reporting better-than-expected earnings and confirming a pilot venture to sell some goods on Amazon.

But technology shares were under pressure, with Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet and Netflix all declining.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 per cent to close the quarter at 21,349.63.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.2 per cent to end at 2,423.41, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 6,140.42.

Major indices won solid gains over the first half of 2017 amid improving economic data, better earnings and optimism that President Donald Trump would win passage of tax cuts and other growth measures.

However, analysts are more cautious about the second half of the year, pointing to the recent lurches in technology stocks as a potential harbinger of broader volatility.

Other challenges include moves by the Federal Reserve and other global central banks to tighten monetary policy and the fading prospects of Trump’s growth agenda.

Wells Fargo predicted that the S&P 500 would end the year between 2,230 and 2,330, down 100-200 points from current levels. Other dampening factors include lofty valuations and worries about inflation, Wells Fargo said in a note this week.