Stocks close out best quarter since 1998 with more gains | National News

Technology, health care and financial companies powered much of the market’s broad gains Friday. The buying accelerated after a report showed stronger-than-expected improvement in consumer confidence this month.

“Broadly speaking, the market is reacting to economic data that is better than expected,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.

Schutte said the market is being supported by the likelihood that there won’t be a nationwide shutdown again, aggressive monetary policy and hopes for a vaccine sooner rather than later. “The path of least resistance is still two steps forward, one step back,” he said.

The quarter featured steady gains in technology stocks, which climbed 27.6%, second only to the consumer discretionary sector’s 30.2% gain. And airlines and cruise operators traded wildly after being battered for much of the first quarter.

Apple, once again the most valuable company in the S&P 500, gained 43.5% for the second quarter, American Airlines climbed 7.2% for the quarter, while Royal Caribbean Cruises vaulted 56.4%. Still, they each remain down nearly 60% for the year.

Crude oil had a similar rebound as stocks through the second quarter, though it’s still well below where it was before the pandemic struck. Energy companies mounted a solid comeback, with three energy companies — Apache, Halliburton and Marathon Oil — showing the biggest percentages gains for the quarter.

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