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Dow Closes 200 Higher on Last Trading Day of Second Quarter

Stocks came on strong late on the final day of the second quarter, finishing higher and posting their best quarterly results in decades.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 217 points, or 0.85%, to 25,812, the S&P 500 gained 1.54% and the Nasdaq was ahead by 1.87%.

The DJIA saw its biggest one-quarter gain, almost 18%, since 1987 and the S&P 500 had its best quarter, up 20%, since 1998.

The Dow industrials were up 1.7% for June. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up 1.8% and 6%, respectively, in the month.

Consumer confidence rose more than expected in June – to 98.1 vs. expectations of 90.8 – as lockdowns in the U.S. were loosened, according to the Conference Board.

But Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement, “Faced with an uncertain and uneven path to recovery, and a potential Covid-19 resurgence, it’s too soon to say that consumers have turned the corner and are ready to begin spending at pre-pandemic levels.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that a rebound in the U.S. economy could stall if the spread of the coronavirus isn’t contained just as consumer confidence in June rose more than expected.

”We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected,” Powell said in testimony Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee. “While this bounceback in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges – notably, the need to keep the virus in check.”

Powell was joined Tuesday before Congress by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Lawmakers have pumped more than $3 trillion into the world’s biggest economy, leading to a pickup in job gains and an increase in consumer spending.

But Powell noted that more than 20 million American have lost their jobs since the pandemic took hold in mid-March.

“The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” he said. “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities.”

Katerina Simonetti, senior portfolio manager at UBS Private Wealth Management in Philadelphia, said Wall Street should be ready for that uncertainty.

“The recent increase in the numbers of reported Covid-19 cases has resulted in considerable market uncertainty,” Simonetti said. “Further market decline cannot be ruled out.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, told a Senate panel Tuesday that new cases of the virus in the United States could rise to 100,000 a day if behaviors don’t change.

“The numbers speak for themselves. I’m very concerned. I’m not satisfied with what’s going on because we’re going in the wrong direction,” Fauci said. “Clearly we are not in total control right now.”

The U.S. has 2,618,480 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 126,628, also the most in the world.

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide have risen to more than 10.37 million, according to Johns Hopkins.

The World Health Organization warned the “the worst is yet to come,” six months after it started tracking the virus.

Boeing traded lower on Tuesday after receiving word from Norwegian Air Shuttle that it will not be moving forward with buying nearly 100 Boeing-built planes, and that it was suing Boeing over losses from the grounding of the 737 MAX.

Uber Technologies rose on reports the ride-hailing giant has made a takeover offer to buy meal-delivery startup Postmates for about $2.6 billion.