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Wall Street is wrapping up its best quarter in decades

CNBC logo CNBC 6/30/2020 Fred Imbert and Maggie Fitzgerald

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose Tuesday as Wall Street wrapped up its best quarterly performance in decades.

The S&P 500 traded 0.7% higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced more than 1%. Shares of Facebook and Netflix rose more than 1% each to lead the gains while Amazon advanced 2.2%.

Micron also contributed to the gains, climbing more than 4% on the company’s better-than-expected earnings report. Micron also gave strong forward revenue guidance. Shares of Lululemon gained 5.2% on news it will acquire at-home fitness company Mirror for $500 million.

The Dow lagged, however, slipping 20 points. The major averages hit their session highs after Florida reported a 4.2% increase in coronavirus cases, which is below a seven-day average of 5.6%.

Stocks were headed for their biggest one-quarter gains in years. Both the Dow and S&P 500 were on pace for their best quarterly performance since 1998, surging more than 16% each. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, was up 29.7% quarter to date and was headed for its biggest quarterly gain since 2001.

“A combination of 1) Stimulus, 2) Positive trends in the virus, 3) Economic reopenings and 4) Hopes for a vaccine drove stocks higher in Q2,” wrote Tom Essaye, the founder of The Sevens Report. “As we begin Q3, only one of those tailwinds is currently in place: Stimulus. That doesn’t mean we’ll see a correction, but be suspect of market rallies until we can add more forces supporting stocks, because we’re one stimulus disappointment away from an ugly day.”

Wall Street was coming off sharp gains, with the Dow surging 580 points Monday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also rallied more than 1%.

Those gains came amid a backdrop of increasing coronavirus cases in the U.S. and states attempt to reopen from the shutdown. U.S. governors are walking back or delaying reopening plans as Covid-19 cases climb around the country. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state will delay a resumption of indoor dining that was planned for Thursday.

Tuesday marked the last day of the month, with the major averages entering the session on pace for their third consecutive monthly gain. The Dow was up 0.7% for June. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 0.9% and 5.2%, respectively, month to date.

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified before the House Financial Services Committee. The joint hearing addressed the Fed and Treasury’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In remarks he will deliver Tuesday, Powell said uncertainty reigns over the outlook for the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels. The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” Powell said. “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities. “The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed,” Powell added.

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