Wall Street ends worst first half in decades; WBA, STZ decline

By - Rupam Roy

US markets closed in the red on Thursday, June 30, finishing their worst first half in decades, besieged by a host of macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges.

The S&P 500 fell 0.88% to 3,785.38. The Dow Jones was down 0.82% to 30,775.43. The NASDAQ Composite lost 1.33% to 11,028.74, and the small-cap Russell 2000 was down 0.66% to 1,707.99.

Technology, consumer discretionary, and energy stocks fell on Thursday after the Commerce Department said that consumer spending in May grew at its slowest monthly pace this year. Consumer spending rose a paltry 0.2% in the month from 0.6% in April amid soaring inflation.

The personal consumption expenditures price index, a preferred gauge of the Federal Reserve for inflation, also rose at an annual rate of 6.3% in May, the same as the previous month.

On the labor market front, jobless claims decreased to 231,000 in the week ended June 25 from the previous week's revised figure of 233,000.

The central bank's relentless focus on economic growth and jobs to lessen the pandemic effect has unleashed an inflation bomb that is proving difficult to defuse. Consequently, inflation and a multitude of other negative factors led the indices to their second straight quarterly losses.

S&P 500 saw its worst first half of a year since 1970, while Nasdaq and Dow Jones also posted their worst first-half performance in decades.

On Thursday, the utilities and industrial sectors were the top performers on S&P 500. Seven of the 11 segments of the index stayed in the negative territory. Technology, consumer discretionary, and energy sectors were the bottom movers.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) fell 6.57% after its quarterly profits fell by 76% due to a sharp drop in US pharmacy sales.

Alcohol firm company Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ) stock plummeted 4.37% after its quarterly earnings topped Wall Street estimates.

Shares of home-furnishing company RH (RH) plummeted 10.41% after lowering its financial guidance for the fiscal year citing economic health and a slowdown in home sales.

In the utilities sector, NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE) increased by 1.92%, Duke Energy Corporation (CUK) rose 1.13%, and Dominion Energy, Inc. (D) soared by 1.00%. Exelon Corporation (EXC) and WEC Energy Group, Inc. (WEC) ticked up 2.21% and 1.34%, respectively.

In industrial stocks, Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX) gained 3.01%, Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) surged 2.64%, and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) added 3.63%. Waste Management, Inc. (WM) and Thomson Reuters Corporation (TRI) advanced 1.14% and 1.73%, respectively.

In the technology sector, Apple Inc. (AAPL) decreased by 1.80%, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) fell 1.32%, and NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) tumbled 2.46%. ASML Holding N.V. (ASML) and Salesforce, Inc. (CRM) plummeted 1.80% and 3.26%, respectively.

In consumer discretionary stocks, Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) declined 2.49%, Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) lost 1.76%, and Nike, Inc. (NKE) plunged 1.02%.

In the crypto space, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) slipped by 6.06% and 7.65%, respectively. The global crypto market cap tumbled 5.20% to US$857.76 billion at 4:37 pm ET on June 30.

Futures & Commodities

Gold futures were down 0.53% to US$1,807.90 per ounce. Silver decreased by 2.34% to US$20.253 per ounce, while copper fell 2.74% to US$3.6768.

Brent oil futures decreased by 2.88% to US$109.21 per barrel and WTI crude was down 3.50% to US$105.94.

Bond Market

The 30-year Treasury bond yields were down 0.91% to 3.183, while the 10-year bond yields fell 2.53% to 3.015.

US Dollar Futures Index decreased by 0.34% to US$104.493.

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