Updated from 1:44 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 28.
Stocks were higher on Wednesday, June 28, as broad increases propelled the S&P 500 to its third best day of the year.
The S&P 500 was up 0.9%, its best gains since April 24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.71%. The Nasdaq gained 1.3%, setting the index up to snap a two-day losing streak. Markets were in rebound mode, bouncing back from their worst losses on Tuesday, June 27, since May 17.
Arconic Inc. (ARNC - Get Report) led gains in basic materials stocks in a recovery from a two-day selloff. Shares of the metals manufacturer have tumbled nearly 12% so far this week after being named as the producer of aluminum steel used in the Grenfell Tower. A fire at Glenfell Tower in the U.K. on June 14 killed at least 79 people. Arconic has since said it would cease sales of flammable cladding. The stock rose 6%.
Monsanto Co. (MON) was on the rise after topping quarterly estimates over its recent three-month period. The agricultural company earned an adjusted $1.93 a share in its fiscal third quarter, higher than estimates of $1.76. Revenue of $4.23 billion exceeded consensus of $4.18 billion.
Other basic materials stocks making gains included BHP Billiton PLC (BHP) , Rio Tinto (RIO) , Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) and Vale SA (VALE - Get Report) . The Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB - Get Report) increased 1%.
Wall Street digested another delay in the GOP's plans to overhaul the healthcare system, an industry that comprises one-sixth of the U.S. economy. 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 surprise development provoked a selloff in healthcare, pulling the Nasdaq further into the red.
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 side 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 tech sector was mostly higher on Wednesday. Major tech names have seen steep losses in recent weeks, including major industry names Facebook Inc. (FB - Get Report) , Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) , Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Get Report) , Netflix Inc. (NFLX - Get Report) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Get Report) , otherwise known as the FAANG stocks. The stocks comprising the acronym began to slide earlier in June in a pullback from lofty heights reached so far this year. FAANG stocks had contributed a large portion of the S&P 500's gains in the year to date.
Alex Frew McMillan believes he has identified the Japanese FANGs in his column on our premium site for investors, Real Money. Get his insights with a free trial subscription.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed by 1.8% to $65.9 billion in May, according to the Census Bureau. The trade deficit was expected to come in at $66 billion after reaching $67.6 billion in April.
The pending home sales index declined by 0.8% in May on a month-by-month as constrained supply continued to suppress activity. Sales in the U.S. have fallen 1.7% from the same month a year earlier. The index measures the number of sales in which a contract has been signed but a deal not yet closed.
Crude oil prices broke sharply higher even after a weekly rise in domestic stockpiles. The Energy Information Administration reported a 100,000-barrel build in crude oil inventories over the past week, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles fell. Data from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday, June 27, showed domestic stockpiles rise by 851,000 barrels in the past week, a surprise to analysts looking for a decline.
Crude has been under pressure lately on worries over global oversupply and stubbornly high production. Crude reached its lowest level in 10 months on Wednesday, June 21.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.2% to $44.77 a barrel on Wednesday.
It's the final week of the second quarter and benchmark indexes are expected to post solid gains. Strong fundamentals and a positive earnings season have given markets a boost over the past three months even as volatility held at multi-year lows.
The Dow is on track to end nearly 4% higher for the quarter, adding to the 4.5% growth seen in the first quarter. Likewise, the S&P 500 is on track to end with gains of roughly 3%, slowing from the 5.5% increase seen in the first three months of the year.
General Mills Inc. (GIS - Get Report) climbed more than 2% after it reported a better-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter. Adjusted earnings of 73 cents a share beat estimates of 71 cents, while sales of $3.8 billion exceeded consensus of $3.74 billion. CEO Jeff Harmening said the company was "moving with urgency in fiscal 2018 to meaningfully improve our net sales trends while keeping a sharp eye on our efficiency." The company anticipates organic sales to decline by 1% to 2% this fiscal year.
FedEx Corp. (FDX - Get Report) said that worldwide operations of its TNT Express subsidiary had been "significantly affected" by an information system virus. FedEx said operations and communications were impacted, though it had found no data breach. Shares rose 1.2%.
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