Wall Street advanced in heavy trading, with the S&P 500 and the Dow closing the book on their best June in generations. This came ahead of the much-anticipated trade talks between US President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit.

All three major US stock indexes gained ground at the close of the week, month, quarter and first half of the year, during which time the US stock market has had a remarkable run. The S&P 500 had its best June since 1955. The Dow posted its biggest June percentage gain since 1938, the waning days of the Great Depression.

From the start of 2019, after investors fled equities amid fears of a global economic slowdown, which sent stock markets tumbling in December, the benchmark S&P 500 jumped 17.3 per cent, its largest first-half increase since 1997. Trump expressed hopes that his meeting with Xi at the G20 summit will be productive, but said he had not made any promises about a reprieve from escalating tariffs.

Financial stocks led the gains in the S&P 500 and the Dow after the big US banks passed the Federal Reserve’s “stress test”, with the central bank giving the companies a clean bill of health. The S&P 500 Bank index gained 2.4 per cent. Trading volume spiked amid the annual restructuring of the Russell indexes, traditionally one of the largest trading days of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73.38 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 26,599.96, the S&P 500 gained 16.84 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 2941.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.49 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 8006.24.

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