* S&P 500 ends June lower, but positive for quarter
* Accenture and BlackBerry both slide after results
* Dow down 0.8 pct, S&P 500 off 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.04 pct
By Alison Griswold
NEW YORK, June 28 The S&P 500 ended Friday's
session with its strongest first half of any year since 1998
after reaching record highs in May on a rally underpinned by the
Federal Reserve's massive monetary stimulus.
While the S&P 500 closed down for the month of June on
concerns that the Fed might begin reducing its bond-buying
program, the benchmark index ended the second quarter with a
gain - marking its first positive second quarter in four years.
The Dow Jones industrial average and the Nasdaq also dipped in
June, but rose in the second quarter.
"I think the momentum that was established at the end of the
first quarter kind of gave us a phenomenal start," said Randy
Billhardt, head of capital markets at MLV & Co. in New York.
"The low interest-rate environment has really been the
foundation of the stock market performance for this second
The Dow and the S&P 500 fell in Friday's volatile session,
ending three straight days of gains. At the closing bell, the
Nasdaq had eked out a tiny gain. Stocks opened lower on weakness
in technology shares, then fluctuated between steep losses and
moderate gains for much of the day.
The losses were broad, with eight of the 10 S&P 500
industrial sectors declining. Only utilities and consumer
discretionary shares closed higher.
Despite Friday's ups and downs, analysts said volatility has
decreased as investors have come to terms with the fact that the
Federal Reserve's stimulus program will eventually end. The CBOE
Volatility Index, Wall Street's favorite barometer of
investor anxiety, fell nearly 11 percent in the past week. In
Friday's session alone, the VIX ended flat at 16.86.
Volatility surged last week after Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke suggested the central bank could slow its $85
billion a month in bond purchases before the end of the year if
the economy is strong enough.
After two Fed speakers seemed to back away on Thursday from
Bernanke's comments, Fed Governor Jeremy Stein and Richmond Fed
President Jeffrey Lacker sounded a more aggressive tone on
Friday on when the central bank's unprecedented policy
accommodation might be reduced.
"The mixed signals from both the economic data and the Fed's
direction have caused a lot of anxiety and some opportunistic
buying and selling, and it's just created a much less predictive
environment going forward," said Steven Baffico, chief executive
officer of Four Wood Capital Partners in New York.
Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq snapped a seven-month winning
streak, while the Dow broke a six-month surge. For the month,
the Dow fell 1.4 percent, the S&P 500 lost 1.5 percent and the
Nasdaq dropped 1.5 percent.
Volume was the second highest of the year as some 10 billion
shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. Trading surged toward
the close, with about half of the day's shares traded in the
last 30 minutes as investors anticipated a final update from
Russell Investments for the annual reconstitution of its
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 114.89 points
or 0.76 percent, to end at 14,909.60. The S&P 500 slipped
6.92 points or 0.43 percent, to finish at 1,606.28. The Nasdaq
Composite added 1.38 points or 0.04 percent, to close at
Before Friday, the three major U.S. stock indexes had
climbed for three straight days on diminished concern that the
Federal Reserve would bring an imminent end to its $85 billion a
month in bond purchases, known as quantitative easing.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.7 percent, the S&P 500 gained
0.9 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.4 percent.
For the second quarter, the Dow gained 2.3 percent, the S&P
500 advanced 2.4 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 4.2 percent.
In Friday's session, Accenture PLC dropped 10.3
percent to $71.96, making it the biggest drag on the S&P 500
after the company cut its full-year outlook. The results also
prompted investors to sell some shares of competitor
International Business Machines. IBM's stock fell 2.3
percent to $191.11. It was the biggest drag on the Dow.
U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion plunged
27.8 percent to $10.46 after the BlackBerry maker reported an
unexpected quarterly operating loss, a dearth of details on
sales of its make-or-break new line of devices and no return to
profit expected in the current quarter.
Arch Coal Inc rose 5 percent to $3.78 after the
company agreed to sell its Canyon Fuel subsidiary for $435
million in cash.