Friday marked the final day of June and the second quarter. Here's what you need to know.
Where Markets Ended
Wall Street closed out the second quarter with gains, though they weren't as impressive as quarters past. Strong fundamentals and a positive earnings season supported markets over the past three months. However, a string of tech selloffs in June ate into markets' momentum.
The S&P 500 ended the second quarter with gains of 2.6%, its seventh-straight quarter in the green. However, that also marks the S&P 500's smallest rate of growth since the second quarter a year earlier.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended June with a quarterly gain of 3%, while the Nasdaq increased 4%.
The Tech Selloff
The technology sector had a rough final third of its second quarter, pulling back from lofty heights achieved during the first several months of the year.
Tech names, particularly the FAANG stocks (Facebook Inc. (FB) - Get Report , Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) - Get Report , Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report , Netflix Inc. (NFLX) - Get Report and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) - Get Report ), have been under pressure after a steep run-up year to date. The FAANG stocks had contributed a hefty portion to the S&P 500's gains in the period. The stocks comprising the acronym began their slide earlier on June 9.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR XLK, an index that tracks S&P 500 tech stocks, rose 2.9% for the quarter. The index climbed double that from the beginning of April to the end of May and declined by 3% in June. The first quarter saw an increase of more than 10%, outpacing the S&P 500's 5.5% growth.
The second quarter was all about tech, said Helene Meisler over on our premium site for investors, Real Money. Get her insights with a free trial subscription.
How Oil Is Faring
It was a painful quarter for crude oil, which suffered its worst three-month loss in more than a year and plunged briefly into bear market territory.
West Texas Intermediate crude declined by 10% over the past three months, its sharpest decline since the fourth quarter of 2015. Crude logged monthly losses throughout the second quarter with a selloff picking up speed in June. Crude ended June nearly 6% lower amid worries over global oversupply and stubbornly high production.
The commodity fell into bear market on Tuesday, June 20, having fallen more than 20% from its 52-week high reached in February. Crude fell even lower a day later, settling at its lowest level in 10 months. West Texas Intermediate has since pulled back from its bear market and is now down around 16% from its February peak.
The U.S. Economy
Economic growth is expected to pick up in the second quarter. Barclays analysts anticipate the U.S. economy to have grown at a pace of 2.5% from April to June. Analysts upwardly revised estimates by 10 basis points after strong personal income and spending data for May. The first estimate of second-quarter growth is scheduled for release on Friday, July 28.
The U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster pace than previously estimated over the first three months of the year, according to the final print of first-quarter GDP released on Thursday, June 29. The pace of expansion was increased to 1.4% from the original estimate of 1.2%. Consumer spending was bumped up to 1.1% from 0.6%, largely driven by increases in healthcare spending.
The State of the Consumer
The U.S. consumer is feeling fairly confident over the state of the economy. Consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in June, according to the Conference Board. The measure ticked up 118.9 in June from 117.9 in May. Analysts expected the reading to moderate to 116, according to FactSet figures.
Consumer sentiment weakened slightly in June, though beat estimates, according to the final reading from the University of Michigan. The overall index slipped to 95.1 from 97.1 in May, though beat estimates of 94.5. Consumer expectations dipped, while sentiment on current conditions strengthened.
Strong confidence and sentiment has not translated into retail sales. Retail sales for May declined by 0.3% and increased by 0.4% in May. The June retail sales report will be released on July 14. Consensus is for 0.1% growth.
Still No Deal on Healthcare
President Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare on the first day of his four-year term. Yet, by the end of the second quarter, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land and the Senate GOP is struggling to present an alternative with broad party appeal.
On Tuesday, June 27, the Senate spiked its vote on an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faced lack of support from even within his own party. The Senate decided to delay a vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act until after the July 4 recess to give McConnell more time to gin up support.
The bill had come under attack from members on both sides of the aisle. The latest iteration of the Republican plan would increase the number of people without health coverage by 22 million and cut the deficit by $321 billion through 2026, according to estimates released by the Congressional Budget Office released on Monday, June 26. The healthcare bill crafted by Senate Republicans was released last week.
A delay to the GOP's healthcare bill raises more uncertainty over the Trump administration's agenda. Roadblocks in the Obamacare repeal-and-replace process have increased doubts over when tax reform could come to pass. House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted on Tuesday, June 20, that tax reform would come by year's end.
The healthcare sector has generally performed well over the second quarter as delays in Congress were overshadowed by promises from the Trump administration of industry-friendly regulatory rollbacks. The Healthcare Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) - Get Report increased more than 6% over the past three months, its second quarter of growth in a row.
Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer manages as a charitable trust, is long FB, AAPL and GOOGL.