Can Stocks Do As Well In Second Half 2019? Yes, If There's Less Drama

Investors had to be thrilled by the stock market’s performance in June. The ‘s gains were the best for the month since 1955. The ‘s monthly results were even better: up 7.2%, its best since 1938. As for the , it had its best June since 2000, up 6.9%.

SPX:Dow:NASDAQ 300 Minute Chart

Indeed, the equity market is up nicely for the year as well: the S&P 500 +17.4%, after a 3.8% second-quarter gain; the Dow was by 14.1% for the same period and the NASDAQ is higher by 20.66%. As well, futures trading suggests U.S. stocks will rally strongly on Monday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow possibly hitting new 52-week highs.

Additional Volatility, More Abrupt Moves

There’s lots for investors to love. Except the abrupt and often scary pullbacks that have erupted repeatedly over the last 18 months. These have resulted in declines of 20% or so in the fourth quarter of 2018 and roughly 7% just this past May.

Between the 2016 election and the end of 2017, the U.S. major indices saw just one down month. But, since January 2018, the S&P and NASDAQ have had six down months, the Dow, five.

As a result, the S&P 500’s year-to-date gain at the end of June was lower than where the benchmark stood at the end of April. It’s also possible there will be more ahead, though not on Monday.

Currently, financial markets are being ruled largely by forces that have fueled quick moves up or down, including:

Trade tensions between the United States and China. Uneasiness in the Middle East that nearly had the United States attacking Iranian military facilities. Worries about North Korea and its nuclear weapons capabilities. Computerized trading programs that make algorithmic buy-and-sell decisions.

July will begin with the

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