US stocks mixed as strong Q2 ends

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks on Monday turned in a mixed performance to close a strong second quarter after US pending home sales jumped but automaker General Motors announced another massive auto recall.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 25.24 points (0.15 per cent) at 16,826.60, while the broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.73 (0.04 per cent) to 1,960.23.

But the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 10.25 (0.23 per cent) to 4,408.18.

The Nasdaq also scored the biggest gains for the second quarter, rising 4.98 per cent. The Dow increased 2.24 per cent over the three-month period, while the S&P 500 advanced 4.69 per cent.

“People want to show the stronger stocks in their portfolio at the end of the quarter,” Michael James of Wedbush Securities said of the Nasdaq’s Monday gain.

The National Association of Realtors reported that the pending home sales index jumped 6.1 per cent in May to 103.9, the first time the index has topped 100 since last November.

But GM recalled another 8.4 million vehicles in North America following seven crashes and three fatalities. GM, under scrutiny following an ignition-switch recall scandal, also raised its second-quarter estimate of recall costs to US$1.2 billion (S$1.5 billion) from US$700 million.

GM shares dropped 0.9 per cent.

Micron Technology jumped 4.6 per cent after Credit Suisse added the chipmaker to its list of top investment ideas, citing a better pricing environment following industry consolidation.

Other tech companies to score gains include Apple (+1.0 per cent), Yahoo (+2.6 per cent) and video camera maker GoPro (+13.4 per cent).

Biotech company MannKind jumped 9.6 per cent on news that the Food and Drug Administration approved its Afrezza treatment for diabetes.

PPG, a supplier of paints, coatings and glass, announced a US$2.3 billion acquisition of Mexico’s Consorcio Comex, which manufactures coatings in Mexico. PGG rose 3.0 per cent.

Devon Energy announced the sale of non-core energy assets in Texas and other sites to Linn Energy for $2.3 billion. Devon dipped 0.1 per cent, while Linn rose 1.4 per cent.

Bond prices rose. The 10-year US Treasury dipped to 2.52 per cent from 2.53 per cent, while the 30-year declined to 3.34 per cent from 3.36 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.