US stocks gain, concluding best quarter since 1998

Remote video URL
A view of the New York Stock Exchange on June 26, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rallied for a second straight session on Tuesday (June 30), concluding the best quarter for equities in more than two decades and shrugging off a resurgence in US coronavirus cases.

The S&P 500, the broadest of the three major indices, finished at 3,100.29, up 1.5 per cent for the day and around 20 per cent for the quarter, the biggest gain since 1998.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 per cent to 25,812.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.9 per cent to 10,058.77.

The second quarter comprised the period just after Wall Street stocks bottomed out in March in the immediate aftermath of sweeping shutdowns in the United States and Europe to stop Covid-19 outbreaks.

As it enters the second half of 2020, the US is once again embroiled in a coronavirus crisis, with major states including Texas and Florida rolling back some reopening measures as they face mounting public health problems.

On Tuesday, new coronavirus cases remained elevated as northeastern states broadened quarantines on visitors to include additional states and top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said the US was heading in the "wrong direction," warning cases could reach 100,000 a day if actions are not taken. analyst Patrick O'Hare questioned the market's response to the gloomy coronavirus trends in the US, but said investors may be concluding that restrictions imposed at the local level in the US will succeed.

"Collectively, everyone is on the page that we can flatten the curve again without having to go into a lockdown phase," O'Hare said.

The market is having a "momentum-driven rally," he added.

"A lot of people think the market should be where it is, yet it keeps going up."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.