The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index all ended the session with fifth consecutive quarterly gains.
Wall Street recorded its fifth consecutive quarterly gain on Wednesday, a sign that the recovery from the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is continuing.
The S&P 500 posted its fifth consecutive closing record, while the Dow Jones rose slightly and the Nasdaq fell slightly as investors ended the month and the first half of 2021 in a tug of war of optimism against caution.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 210 points, or 0.61%, to end the quarter at 34,502.51.
The broader S&P 500 Index – a gauge of the health of retirement and education savings accounts – gained 0.13% to end the session at 4,297.50, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.17% to 14,503.95.
The S&P 500 posted its second best first half performance since 1998, up 14.4%.
In June, the S&P 500 recorded its fifth straight advance, while the Dow ended its four-month winning streak. The Nasdaq also ended the month higher.
While the possibility of a return to normal looks promising, fears over inflation and COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant, continue to threaten the United States’ economic recovery.
Strong data on work and housing
The private sector created 692,000 jobs in June, suggesting that severe labor shortages are starting to ease, payroll processor ADP reported on Wednesday.
The sectors reopening and resuming activity performed well.
Recreation and hospitality created 332,000 jobs while the education and health sectors gained 123,000, manufacturing added 19,000 and construction increased by 47,000 jobs.
But some economists say ADP’s numbers are warmer than what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll report is expected to release on Friday.
“Since the ADP survey has overestimated the monthly gains in the official private payroll measure by more than 400,000 in recent months, we are not revising our forecasts only the official measure,” said Michael Pearce of Capital Economics. in a note Wednesday.
“We forecast a smaller increase of 500,000, in line with the recent pace of gains, and a number that would provide another signal that the Fed is still a long way from making ‘substantial further progress’ towards its targets,” added Pearce.
Pending home sales rose 8 percent in May, led by a robust 15.5 percent gain in the northeast, according to US data. The boost came despite economists predicting a slowdown.
“The rebound in pending home sales suggests a more sustained pace in existing home sales early in the summer,” Goldman Sachs’ Jan Hatzius wrote in a note Wednesday.