The major domestic equity indexes ended a volatile week on a modestly high note on Friday, led by a surge in Nike shares At the same time, the S&P 500 index chalked up its largest gain for the first half of the year since 2013 while the Nasdaq Composite’s first-half gain was its best in eight years.
Nike was up 11 percent on Friday after the world’s largest footwear maker said it would launch a pilot online sales program with Amazon. Nike provided the largest boost to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.
Even as technology shares limped through June, the sector has been the big story of the first six months of the year. Tech shares gained 16.4 percent in the first-half, double the S&P 500’s 8.2 percent rally so far this year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq surged 14.1 percent in the first half.
The S&P technology index ended the trading day down 0.1 percent. For June it posted its first monthly loss of the year. A decline in biotech shares, which had surged of late, also limited the Nasdaq.
The Industrial sector index was the top-performer, rising 0.8 percent.
The S&P 500’s percentage gain in the first half was its largest since climbing 12.6 percent in the first six months of 2013. The Nasdaq posted its largest first-half gain since 2009.
Consumer spending rose in May and inflation was lower, pointing to a slow-but-steady economic expansion. The Commerce Department data did aid the view that the economy is continuing to recover in the second quarter.
The has some concerns over the recent less than ebullient economic data at a time that the Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates from very low levels.
The release of second-quarter corporate results is set to begin in earnest in the coming weeks, with S&P 500 companies expected to post an 8 percent rise in earnings, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Investors have been looking for earnings to support historically high valuations. The S&P 500 has been trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months compared with the long-term average of 15 times.
Approximately 6.6 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, a number that was below the 7.3 billion share daily average over the last 20 sessions.
Consumer Spending Rises
Consumer spending rose modestly in May and inflation fell slightly, pointing to a slow-but-steady economic expansion that could still lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by the end of the year.
According to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday morning, consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of all our economic activity, rose 0.1 percent last month. Consumer prices excluding food and energy rose 1.4 percent on a yearly basis, compared to a 1.5 percent gain in April.
Some Fed policymakers are worried that inflation may fall further below the central bank’s two percent target. However, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said earlier this month that inflation would likely be soft in the coming months due to temporary factors.
Solid consumer spending is supporting the outlook for faster inflation and continued economic growth. The slower spending growth in May followed two monthly increases of 0.4 percent, which suggests economic growth is on track to accelerate in the second quarter after a meager expansion in the first three months of the year.
The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index fell 0.1 percent in May from April, dragged lower by drops in prices for consumer goods and energy. When food and energy were excluded, the index was up 0.1 percent.
The 12-month reading for the so-called core inflation has been slowing since March. The slowdown in inflation has raised consumer spending power. After-tax personal income adjusted for inflation rose 0.6 percent in May, making it the largest gain since April 2015.
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